A Not Insignificant Serpent

Wandering the garden this afternoon, I surprised this beautiful and LARGE California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae), the first snake of any kind I’ve seen this season.

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The beast quickly retreated to the safety of a hollow space under a nearby planter, and then cautiously reemerged over the next 30 minutes or so and continued on its way.  Based on the relationship between its body length and the greenhouse in the upper left hand corner of the photo below, I estimate the snake’s body length to be 4 feet, which makes for a not insignificant serpent.  It’s about as big as they get, from what I’ve read.

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I’ve grown to like snakes since truly fearing them as a child. Snakes of various kinds, including California Kingsnakes such as today’s visitor, California Mountain Kingsnakes (which have red bands in addition to the brown and cream bands of the Cal King), gopher snakes and even the occasional rattlesnake, make themselves known the garden and surrounding woods each year.  They presumably keep the vole and ground squirrel populations in check, and kingsnakes include rattlesnakes in their diet, which presumably keeps the rattlesnake populations in check, for which I am grateful.

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5 Responses to A Not Insignificant Serpent

    • zack says:

      I confess I probably made that sound (silently) when I happened upon the snake. I like them, but I don’t love them.

  1. Kate says:

    Zack,
    Your snake is magnificent. I’ve been wishing for one like him in my garden for years. Last one I saw I was 8 years old. He and I were friends. The dear creature let me pick him up and bring him home a couple of times a year. In those days I caught horny toads every time I ventured out into the fields behind our house. I hope you come to love him in time.

    • zack says:

      I used to fear snakes, and then shared a room with one in college, and so lost my fear. I can’t say that I love them, but I do appreciate their perfection and majesty!

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