The year after we finished our tool shed/guest house, we discovered a new occupant living under the concrete ramp leading up to the door. We called her Gertrude.
Gertrude would greet us almost every morning. When she felt the vibrations of someone walking up the ramp, she would stick her head out as if to say “who goes there?”. Previous to Gertrude’s residence, we had a lot of blue-bellied lizards hanging around the tool shed. They would laze on the concrete porch in the morning because it was still radiating heat from the day before. The lizards would also make their home under the door or up under the first row of siding, where there were little cracks large enough to squeeze into. Then came Gertrude. We haven’t seen a lizard there since!
Not that we mind.
If you will recall, because of all the slash piles left on our property when it was logged many years ago, we have an abundance of wood rats and deer mice. When we did a little research to find out what kind of snake Gertrude was, we found that she is a Mountain Gartersnake or Thamnophis elegans elegans (the name fit her well as we thought she was very elegant) and these gartersnakes are fond of mice and completely harmless to humans. We welcomed Gertrude to her new home.
The next spring Gertrude was nowhere to be found. We waited for her to pop up from her den, but she didn’t. We were sad in a weird sort of way. After all, we enjoyed showing our pet snake Gertrude to family and friends who came up to visit.
Then, one day we found a baby Mountain Gartersnake on the front porch of the tool shed. Gertrude was a momma!
But, unfortunately, before we could name the new baby, she got tangled in the door of our shed and was mortally wounded. 🙁 That was last spring and we hadn’t seen any of these Mountain Gartersnakes since – until this past weekend!
I am proud to say we have a new baby Mountain Gartersnake who has taken up residence under the wooden stairs leading up to our trailer door! This baby snake let me get so close to take these pictures, I could swear she was posing! Perhaps she knew I didn’t mean any harm. Or perhaps she was so blinded by the flash she couldn’t see to move! 🙂 I would assume that she is Gertrude’s grandbaby, but perhaps we have more garter snakes around than we realize. Now we need to think up a name for the new snake. I was actually thinking of calling her Mabel or Beulah, but I’m open to suggestions.
The warm-hearted fuzzies we felt with Gurtrude and her snakelets isn’t at all like the feeling I had last year when I almost stepped on a rattlesnake! We live in an area where we will encounter a rattler once in a while. It’s just something that comes with the territory. Normally we wouldn’t bother with a rattlesnake and just let them be (they eat rats and mice), but this one was too close to our trailer and shed area, and we had grandchildren coming up the next day. Since it was a pretty good sized one and we are not at all trained in catch and release of venomous snakes, we decided it was best to “take care” of the situation.
Hopefully we will have many more of the Mountain Gartersnake visits and no more rattlesnakes, but only time will tell. If anyone knows a way of getting rid of rattlesnakes in a humane and safe way, I would certainly be glad to know how. But I must tell you that even seeing the rattlesnake dead gave me the heebie-jeebies!