Walking back from the ocean the other day, I nearly did something that would have caused me to break out in tears of anguish... I almost stepped on this gorgeous fellow:
photo copyright 2009, The Smoking Gnu
Yep. That's a King Snake. A four-foot beauty too! Just sitting there on the boardwalk sunning himself when I came along and nearly walked right into him. These snakes are worth their weight in gold to a farm boy like me. Why? Easy... these buggers are so tough, they will kill a Copperhead! King snakes are great mousers too, better than any damn cat.
For a non-venomous snake, they are very excitable and aggressive in defending themselves. Then again, I did almost step on him, so I'm sure he was a bit upset at my clumsiness. I managed to catch him and after a bit of handling, I tamed him so me and the Skating Gnu could spend the afternoon playing with him while Mrs. Gnu cowered inside. She still doesn't quite understand my affection for these creatures, but bless her heart she puts up with it in her own way.
We keep finding ways of meeting up with all sorts of interesting fauna out here on the island. Two years ago, we ran into a Cottonmouth, this year a King snake - definitely an improvement!
After playing with him for a bit, we turned him loose on the dunes next to the ocean so he could continue doing his part in keeping the Town of Duck mouse-free.
Hopefully Copperhead-free too...