This weekend, I let my dogs out and saw something very odd. A snake was frozen trying to pretend to be a stick so we would not see it. The dogs moved on, but I sat on the porch and watched. The snake was a black snake and was laying with it’s head about six inches off the ground. After things got still, this snake started looking around a bit, as if hunting. Finally, after five or ten minutes, it lowered itself and slid to the ground and leisurely moved over to a pile of landscape timbers. Using its’ nose, the snake moved some debris and slid under the timbers.
I could not get to my camera, so do not have a picture of the snake. However, it turns out to be a Southern Black Racer. This snake was engaging in a behavior called “basking”, much like someone laying out in the sun. Good to know I had not imagined this!
Southern Black Racers (Coluber constrictor priapus) is non-venomous, although if you attack, it will bite. So will most animals, for that matter. These snakes are beneficial. They eat what they can catch — mice, frogs, lizards, other snakes, bird eggs. I was excited about getting to watch it for a while. I guess the snake decided I was harmless.
Although many people dislike snakes, they are an important part of the ecosystem. While I will kill a poisonous snake up at the house, for the most part, I regard snakes as cheap pest control. Where do you stand on the snake question, and why?