this is why i love where we live! you may think i am being sarcastic, but i promise you i am not!! meg and i each found one of these in the backyard yesterday!
the one meg found, the smaller of the two, was still pliable and tacky, as though the snake had just wrigglged out of it! they are really quite remarkable - intact from the tip of the tail to the rim of the mouth...how is that even possible? every scale accounted for, even the eyes are a glossy sheath of skin. wow.
i sent pictures to Vincent - my naturalist brother - and found out:
"They're both from the same species of snake -- the black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta), a subspecies of the common rat snake . It's a male and a female. The female is the longer, larger one, and her man is the shorter one. These two are making sure that there are no mice in your house. They are incredibly efficient hunters. And from the looks of things, they're probably both full grown... probably 5 or 6 years old. They're called black rat snakes, but they're rarely black -- they're usually a grey/yellow mottled colour. The reason that they live at your house is because:
You have bird feeders... birds are messy eaters... birds fling seed all over the place... mice come at night because there is free food (bird seed) laying all over the ground... the snakes follow the mice that follow the bird seed... and therefore you have snakes!
Rat snakes belong to the family Colubridae which are a family of snakes that kill their prey by constriction and crushing their prey. If you were a vole, you and your family should be terrified. As it stands, black rat snakes are totally harmless, totally neat-o, and they're diurnal (awake during the day), so you should be able to see them out and about on warm days. They're generally docile and probably won't bite if handled, and if they do bite, they have no venom. "
he is a handy brother to have around!