New Garden Denizens

By April 26, 2011 Animals, Insects 8 Comments

Who's a handsome boy, then?

So I was bending over to pull some miner’s lettuce that had come up in the raspberry bed, and saw a strip of mulch that was brighter and more regular than I was used to, whereupon several neurons fired and I took a step back and told Kevin to put the beagle inside Right Now, as it was this very handsome fellow you see above—Agkistrodon contortrix, the copperhead.

Given the choice of having any poisonous snake in the yard, it would absolutely be the copperhead, a mild-mannered retiring snake who would very much prefer to issue warning bites or venomless “dry bites”  when stepped on or pestered than anything else. My biggest fear was that the beagle would harass the snake into biting, and I suppose it’s possible I’ll step on one someday, but I’m honestly more worried about accidentally putting my hand on an assassin bug. Kevin’s kids don’t go outside unless the indoors is actively on fire, so that’s not an issue either.

This is the first time I’ve seen one in the yard (and if the black snake catches sight of him, it’ll be the last time) so I don’t know if he’s just passing through, or far more likely, has been living here for years and I just happened to catch sight of him today and won’t see him again for another couple of years.

I realize that my attitude may strike some as ridiculously casual, but Dad A) kept snakes when I was a kid and B) lived in one of the most rattlesnake-heavy areas in North America, with the end result that I spent a fair amount of my childhood living in the vicinity of snakes and have no particular fear of them. Trying to kill snakes is generally how people get bit, the snake has probably been there all along and we’ve never come into contact, ergo if I leave the snake alone, odds are very good that everything will just keep on keepin’ on.

Besides, look at that face!

I'm too sexy for my scales...

(Photo taken with a very long zoom lens.)

The other newcomer in the garden is rather less exciting, but still nice to have in a hey-the-system-works! kind of fashion—Acilius mediatus, a predacious diving beetle, has found my pond! Its offpsring are called “water tigers” and eat insect larvae, and hopefully will keep the future mosquitoes under control.

So that was exciting!


  • Gotta love the working system! Beautiful shots of the snake. I can’t say that I miss having to watch out for those, since moving to Oregon, but they really are beautiful.

  • Mud says:

    Very exciting! It’s a beautiful snake and having built in mosquito control is a great plus too!

  • Suzanne Hillman says:

    Oooh, such a pretty snake! *envy*

  • Jill says:

    Mild-mannered? What sort of blissed out snakes do you have down there? The copperheads I know will chase your ass down if you look at them wrong …

  • UrsulaV says:

    I think we may have a colloquial difference, Jill–in my neck of the woods, copperheads are small non-aquatic snakes that freeze when threatened, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that what you’re calling a copperhead, I’d call a cottonmouth or water moccasin, the big water snake with the reputation for being mean.

    I think the name gets used interchangeably in some areas, which leads to some confusion, and gives the poor copperhead an entirely undeserved reputation!

  • stone says:

    It’s nice to read from someone with a decent perspective on God’s critters…
    I used to have a garden full of rattlesnakes… I would see the same ones over and over… they would crawl out of my way when I came their way pushing a wheelbarrow load of compost…
    Very nice pictures of your snake… I saw a big beautiful king snake last week, but it didn’t let me get any pictures…

  • phoenixineohp says:

    Lovely! I wish more people had your attitude towards venomous snakes. Far too many people just reach for their shovel (or gun) when it’s really just happy hanging out and minding it’s own business.

  • Kathline Odo says:

    Just a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding design and style. “Treat the other man’s faith gently it is all he has to believe with.” by Athenus.