Tuesday, August 21, 2012

California King Snake: Friends on the Farm

When we moved here in February, we began meeting locals who offered several warnings. For the most part, these were scary reminders about the plagues of rattle snakes, mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes who lived here long before we did.

"They come out in DROVES!"
"They get in the HOUSE!"
"The snakes CHASE you!"

Thankfully, people tend to exaggerate.

Sure, we do have these creatures around us. We hear the coyotes partying every night. But I've spent a lifetime camping this county and have seldom seen any of them. Why expect anything different now? And why did I allow these people to scare me?

In the spring, we did spot some snakes: a baby gopher snake which had JUST done its job on a gopher nest; a large gopher snake that hung out near the horsey area; and a VERY large gopher snake that wandered from the house to the well house.

In June, I spotted two California King Snakes including this one which arrived at our back door.
The girls would love to catch the snakes and play with them, but I pointed out that these types of snakes are our friends. They don't like to be caught and played with, and I hope if we leave them unmolested, they'll hang out and help make our place a safer, cleaner place to live. (Gopher snakes do, indeed, eat gophers and other rodents. California King Snakes can and will eat rattle snakes in addition to rodents and anything else it can constrict.)

We've seen evidence of two bobcats: a young one hit and dead on the road about 1/2 mile from the house; a young one long-dead near the neighbor's pond. We know the mountain lions are here, and Mr. B spotted on crossing the road about 7 miles away late one night the first week we were here. While they're magnificent creatures, but for the safety of my family, I hope never to lay eyes on one (and I'll pretend they aren't watching us).

1 comment:

  1. The California King snake is Beautiful. Just remember if at any time you get close enough to see their eyes, if they are a cloudy hazy stage they are ready to shed their skin and can not see well and will strike a anything that gets close. As with any snake. we learned this when we had them as pets. Just ask our duaghter, she learned that is not the time you want to be messing around with them, and she had a nice crowd of friends to witness her being bitten. it was not poisonous ! just freaked her out a bit.


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