|All bright and shiny after shedding its skin.|
I did not see her/him at first when I went out to dump food scraps in the compost heap, but found its still-damp, just-shed skin nearby in the garden. In the twilight and against the freshly lain wood mulch, the skin looked like a narrow strip of tissue paper. I looked closer and picked it up, finding it still damp. I carried the skin with me to the compost heap and found this snake upon my return.
|Snake in a bucket. An old friend use to use the term "baby snakes!" as an|
exclamation instead of more standard phrases, such as "holy cow!"
When you live surrounded by woods growing from a rocky hillside, you learn to anticipate the presence of the venomous copperheads and timber rattlesnakes. Any snake with these type of beautiful markings is suspect until further inspection verifies that it is not either one of those. If one shows up, it is not necessary to kill it, but you can sweep it into a bucket, put a lid on it and transport the snake to a safer (for both of us) location.
However, it quickly was clear that we were not dealing with a venemous snake. Both copperheads and rattlesnakes have much heavier bodies and wide heads. Baby copperheads have green tail ends and baby rattlesnakes have a button on the end of the tail, the seed of the signature rattle.
|"Eyelashes" are the old skin beginning to peel back.|
This is the time of year when rat snakes hatch. It also is the time of year when copperhead babies are born (they give birth to live young). So caution is in order. However, I will continue to be the barefoot gardener.