Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Snake in the Grass, er, Leaves

Last Wednesday, during dinner, Miikka could be heard barking in the garden. There is nothing unusual about that, but I noticed that the tone of the bark had changed, less "This is my yard, here I am," to "Timmy fell down a well," so I went to investigate.  He'd found a turtle or tortoise a few days earlier, and I didn't want him to harass another one. This time, however, it was not a turtle. It was a snake. A snake eating its own dinner.

Yup, that's a snake, not a turtle.
I wasn't sure what species it was, except that I knew it wasn't a copperhead (yes, we have those here. Yes, I have seen one, but not in our yard.) Even if it wasn't venomous, I still didn't want Miikka to bother the snake, so he had to come inside (after I took a few pictures).

When I came back to look at the snake after our dinner was finished, he/she too had finished dinner. I was amazed at the tiny head, and the fact that it had managed to get the entire bird into its seemingly small mouth. Just goes to show what an unhingable jaw can do for you, I guess.

The bird is just a small lump in its midsection now.
 After another look at it, I was able to use the Internet to identify it as a speckled kingsnake - not venomous, and not particularly fierce. In fact, they are really good snakes to have around, because they eat other, more dangerous, snakes, as well as rodents. The speckles were bright and shiny, and for a snake, it was quite pretty. That said, I don't really want a snake to take up permanent residence in my back yard, since it would likely drive Miikka nuts. Luckily, by the time we returned from our evening walk, the snake had moved on to find somewhere more comfortable to digest. It is welcome to visit from time to time, as long as it has somewhere else to sleep.

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