Snakes in the Garden
Black-necked Garter SnakeAll Photos are © 2008 birds-n-garden
(Formerly Texas Bird Watcher)
There is nothing quite like coming nose to nose with a snake under the flowers you are grooming. In the spring of 2000, we discovered several beautiful young garter snakes. They were black-necked garter snakes found in Austin, Texas. We found them on waterlily pads in the pond, under flower containers and under the shrubs in the yard.
In the spring of 2001 we found very large adults.
These photos do not demonstrate well the bright orange line down the top of the back of this snake. The lines along the sides are yellow. The young ones have a pattern on the side which makes them look different but the bright orange stripe is immediately visible.
The biggest snake, which was 33" in length, showed itself several times and usually disappear into the rock wall surrounding our pond or under the deck. I was surprised that it ventured onto the wooden deck too which seemed very exposed for a cautious snake. We found a trail under the flowers that showed the snake's path from the rock wall into a sunny location in the middle of the flowerbed.
Although these snakes make pets, we learned that they do bite and can give off a musky odor when disturbed. While not considered venomous, their bite can swell and cause redness and irritation to some people. Our snakes were very uncomfortable when we were outside with them. They often pulled themselves in as if to prepare to defend themselves but when they realized that we were not interested in them, they quickly left the area.
I am rather anxious to see if they produce young later in the season.
The snake seen cascading down our rock wall was 33" in length. It was the biggest one we spotted. The day we took this picture, there was another snake close by but it quickly disappeared.
Why the blue eyes?
The snake is getting ready to shed its skin. Later on this same day we found the discarded skin. It was over 30 inches long.
June 2001 - Sad news! Found a dead adult near the deck. Raccoon? 'Possum? Dogs? Great Blue Heron from our pond? Many predators around!
(Our original domain name was texasbirdwatcher.com)
We can only assume that this full-sized garter snake has just eaten something like a frog or toad. I don't know what else would have been the appropriate size.
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This Brown Snake was found under some leaves near our driveway. He was surprisingly aggressive. According to the information I found about Brown Snakes, that aggression was unusual.
2004. Check out this incredible (nearly 5') BLACK RAT SNAKE - Click for photo
which surprised me in the garden. It comes back through periodically and the blue jays create quite a riot mobbing it. I always know when to get outside to take a look because of the blue jays. Rat snakes climb trees so keep that information in mind when walking around the garden.
ATTENTION VISITORS SEEKING SNAKE IDENTIFICATION HELP
Whatever you do, please be careful around unfamiliar snakes! They could be escaped exotic snakes from another part of the world. Many of these snakes are highly venomous! Please use caution and gently indoctrinate this caution into children.
I WOULD NEVER DISCOURAGE "ADVENTURING" AROUND THE GARDEN
BUT A FEW SMART RULES OF CAUTION COULD HELP AVOID A TRAGEDY
I can't help you but you might like to visitSnakes of North America
if you are
trying to identify a mystery snake.
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