This handsome fellow is the Ringneck Snake. Kevin tripped over one in the middle of the backyard, where it was hanging out, la la la, just bein’ a snake, nothin’ to see here… (This is actually rather unusual–they’re mostly nocturnal and rather shy.) It was eight or ten inches long, very thin, like a small shiny shoelace. He herded it–for a value of “herded” that mostly involved it slithering between his boots–into a brushy area less likely to be troubled by beagles and it vanished into the leaf litter.
They’re not big snakes–this one was probably an adult, or close to it–and in my yard, he’s probably feeding primarily on insects, earthworms and cricket frogs. I am delighted that he finds enough prey here to sustain him, even as I hope that his diet is heavier on the earthworms and the insects than the cricket frogs. (I am a vertebrate chauvinist, I admit, and very fond of the little cricket frogs.) However, he is also eating leopard slugs and garden centipedes, which means that he can help himself to the occasional frog as far as I’m concerned. (Hell, if he eats THOSE, he can come inside and raid the liquor cabinet and I won’t begrudge him…) They kill their prey through constriction and envenomation, but have a very hard time breaking the skin on humans, so even if you happen to put your hand down on one, it’s unlikely to be anything but startling.
He’s a great little guy to have in the garden, and I hope he finds love with some other lovely little black shoelace and they have a zillion babies.