An unexpected guest

There are a few pieces of railroad tie, rocks, a straw bale, and a couple other random odds and ends out in the chicken run, and sometimes when I go out there I roll one over. The chickens are immediately alert, waiting, their eyes on me. If I call “Kip kip keee-ipp!” they come running, because they know I’ve uncovered a juicy hoard of bugs.

This evening I rolled over a rock and, sure enough, bugs. So while they were pecking and scratching there, I rolled over a piece of railroad tie and –Β YIKES!! – I found this!

Gopher snake
Gopher snake

I dropped a small pebble on him to see if he would rattle, but he didn’t, so I just enjoyed him for a bit before the chickens came to see what I’d found. (Yeah, I like snakes – I told you that before!) While I was chasing them off, he disappeared under the straw bale. I don’t think we have gophers in the chicken run, but we definitely have mice. I’m hoping he’s willing to be flexible!

Hey, Steph – isn’t he cool?!?

Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

27 thoughts on “An unexpected guest”

  1. Well holy yuck! Cool picture though, I think he’s giving you an evil smile there, eh? It’s funny I just wrote a post on being scared of different animals and here you are all being brave with your barnyard snake!

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    1. It did startle me to roll back the wood and see him. He’s about 2 feet long! But I like snakes, as long as they aren’t venomous – and the only dangerous snakes in this area are rattlesnakes. So once I’d established that he didn’t have rattles, I was happy to have him… πŸ™‚ (Not happy enough to pick him up, mind you – but still, pleased.)

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      1. It may only be 2 feet long but the angle of that picture makes it look more like 10. If I were those chickens, I’d fly the coop.

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  2. Yikes indeed. When I was in school we lived on the grounds of the old agricultural school which was basically a farm. At least once a year we were paid a visit by a rinkhals or any of a variety of vipers. They’d just invite themselves in and hide behind a corner to hiss at you behind your back after you’d passed within striking distance. Ah, happy days…

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    1. Rinkhals are NOT lekker. Did you read my post about the time I had one in a suitcase? Link is in this post. It was pretty funny – and if you know the Jo’burg Snake Park (whatever it’s called now) you’ll have a good visual image of the whole situation.

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      1. What my dearest wife does NOT relate is how, a few years back, she was in our barn and encountered another snake partially hidden amidst a coil of rope. She brought it to my attention and then, blithely, proceeded to get it out of the rope. I kept telling her to ‘Slow Down!’… it looked like a rattlesnake. Finally, I had to physically intercede to keep her away from it. As it turned out, it was, in fact, a Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus Viridis). http://www.snaketype.com/western_diamondback_rattlesnake_coiled_to_strike/ I separated its it head from the body with a nearby spade, and then suffered her wifely wrath for hurting the poor-wee-thing.

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        1. The wifely wrath had nothing to do with hurting the poor wee thing, and everything to do with wasting an excellent natural rodent repellant! Plus let’s not forget the time you lopped the head off a gorgeous and completely inoffensive bull snake. Talk about wifely wrath – I have seldom been so mad at you!

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      1. Well, as long as you’re only getting the non-poisonous snakes and not rattlers. I guess they’re useful too for tackling vermin and such. It’s a bit like having a very, very, very long cat. πŸ™‚

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