Farm Life: Snake in the Grass

IMG_3039Snakes are part of nature that many people bristle at.  They prefer to not know that snakes are about, or how they are useful in the garden.  The question is what type of snake do you want to have sunning itself between the rows of vegetables.  The simple answer is snakes that are not poisonous.

IMG_3035In our region of the Appalachian, only two types of snakes are poisonous: timber rattle snakes and copperheads.  We have only see the former around our cabin, though we have talked with people down the valleys who report seeing the copperheads.  Furthermore, the timber rattle snakes nest on the top of the mountain where there are lots of rocks for dens.  We see them only in dry summers, when they come down looking for water.

IMG_3033Of course, snakes are also looking for food, which brings them to our garden.  Vegetables, soft soil and rock walls make for happy rodents.  Rodents make for happy snakes.  Fortunately, happy snakes usually have full abdomens, and therefore are less inclines to bite us when we cross paths.  We are happy when the mice, voles, and chipmunks (sorry, they are just cute mice) are not nibbling on our tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash.  Thus, we accept the black snakes, rat snakes, and garter snakes around our garden, but have negotiated a truce with the rattle snakes, “I’ll leave you alone, if you’ll leave us alone”.

I came across this rat snake which was lounging in the road earlier this summer.  It did not want to leave its sunny slumber.  After taking some photos (with a telephoto lens), I drove around it.



About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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9 Responses to Farm Life: Snake in the Grass

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Excellent post and great shots!

  2. Barneysday says:

    We have lots of Diamond Back rattlesnakes here, though I’ve been lucky enough to never cross paths with one. I’m told they are quite a bit more aggressive than their cousins on the east coast, but I’m not one to check that out for accuracy.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I’ve been told that when walking in the woods, wear a hat. If you hear a rattle snake, its warning, toss the hat at the sound & the snake will go after the hat. The two times that I spotted rattlesnake by their sound, I thought they were cicadas, until I saw them. I was able to back away slowly.

  3. Aren’t you brave – great photos! While I wouldn’t wish harm on them I’d rather not come across poisonous snakes – neat advise about rattlers if you hear one! While hiking hiking the Bruce Trail we’ve been keeping an eye out for Massasauga rattlesnakes but thank goodness have only come across their harmless garter snake cousins.

  4. Mother Suzanna says:

    I’ve encountered numerous rattlesnakes in my fly fishing in the Sierras. Makes me glad I have on my sturdy waders. But I back away, “just in case”! Then there was the time I was fishing a small stream on the East slope of the Sierras and it seemed every big rock in my area had a sunning rattler on it! I got out of there fast! At your cabin, the only snake I saw was when I slide open the sliding door down stairs and started to step out! You’ve never seem me close a door so fast! Then there was the day you phoned from grammar school and said could I come pick you up… and your new snake! But that’s another story.

  5. Sheryl says:

    When I was a child I once was walking in my bare feet and accidentally stepped on a snake. I assume it was a garter snake–but none the less, it scared me half to death.

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