He’s back


My wife identified the snake as a Brown Water snake, and who am I to argue? As far as I’m concerned, any local snakes besides black snakes. copperheads, and rattlesnakes are garter snakes, but she insists otherwise. While this snake is native to habitats a bit south of here, what do I know?

Until late summer last year this snake resided in the koi pond where there are a sufficient number of crevices between boulders to provide cover. The snake started small when first noticed, but, as creatures do, it grew until it was of adequate size to cause a bit of a scare when accidentally encountered. On occasion, in past years when I floated around the pond on an inflatable lounger on warm summer afternoons, the snake would swim past, making a wide turn to avoid me. It was never much of a bother until last year when my wife took notice and began to harass it.

The Brown Water snake in the koi pond a year ago.
The Brown Water snake in the koi pond a year ago.

Just as with everything else in her life, my wife is persistent. Maybe obsessive is a better description, and the snake experienced this first hand as she threw rocks and sticks and anything she could get a hold of at the poor creature. Of course, she never hit her target, but what creature can stand that harassment for long? In the summer while I was traveling she had no one better to harass, so the snake became to subject of her ire. By September, the snake packed its bags and headed for safer ground.

This spring, the yellowflag and Japanese irises planted in the shallows of the koi pond were cut back just prior to new growth beginning. At the time I had no hesitation kneeling on boulders and reaching to the water’s edge to snip old foliage. I was comfortable that the snake would not be lurking to take offense at my trespassing. Until.

Yellow flag iris and cattails in April. This area and the boulders surrounding the pond are excellent cover for the neighborhood snakes.
Yellow flag iris and cattails in April. This area and the boulders surrounding the pond are excellent cover for the neighborhood snakes.

A few days ago I came home from work and saw my wife prowling the back garden. This often means trouble as she spies for stray branches to prune (mutilate), but this afternoon she was up to nothing in particular except enjoying the afternoon sun and feeding the koi. I joined her, and as I stepped over boulders at the pond’s edge, I saw it. Our snake was back, and he seemed every bit as agitated as the last time I saw him.

After swimming along the water’s edge searching for a crevice to slither into, and poking his head out a few times to snarl at my wife and I, the snake finally found the hiding hole where I’ve most often seen him. He disappeared, and I haven’t seen him for the past several days. But, I know he’s there.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jean says:

    Glad your “Nessie” is back in action, whether a brown water snake or a garter snake. Here in seven Corners they are rare indeed, though we had a box turtle on LongBranch creek once. The kids were feeding it French fries! I told them to go find some worms…

    1. Dave says:

      I have mixed feeling about our snake, and of course this is not the only one. My wife discovered a baby in a boot left in the garage a week ago, so it’s likely there are other babies and a mom nearby. While this was upsetting to her, a garden that is created to be friendly to wildlife cannot choose which creatures to invite and ones that are unwelcome.

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