Snakes have been getting a bad rap, bad press, for many thousands of years. But mostly they are very useful creatures and I like them.
This species, known as Gopher Snake or sometimes Bull Snake, is not uncommon in my area, as rodents are all too plentiful. I am always happy to see one and if I see one basking in the middle of a road, I stop and herd it off to safety in the vegetation. It grieves me to find a dead one that has been run over, as I did a few weeks ago..
There is a truely beautiful Gopher Snake who I see from time to time around my house or sometimes inside the back porch or kitchen. I think he dens under the house. Undoubtedly he reduces the number of rats and mice that invade the house, and for those services I am grateful. But I cherish him for his beauty even more than for his services. I think of him as "my House-Snake"
"My House-Snake" was injured a while back, a periferal injury from a rodent trap, and until yesterday I didn't know for sure that he had survived. So I was delighted to see him in my kitchen yesterday morning, in an area where mice sometimes lurk.
I think of this snake as "my House-snake" but to be honnest I don't really know that the snake I see near the house from time to time is always the same individual, nor that "he" is really a male. (One does tend to think of snakes as male by default ; no need to discuss why.)
The line "a narrow fellow in the grass" is the opening line of verse by Emily Dickenson about snakes. I get the impression that the Belle of Amhurst was appreciative of the beauty of snakes but was also a bit afraid of them.

A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

(tribute to my house-snake)

by Pam Green , © 2013


A narrow Fellow in the grass
Is Cause ffor Celebration.
A dead One on the road , alas,
No funeral or cremation.

The One who dens beneath my House,
Is honored Guest and Servant,
Great Hunter, scourge of Rat and Mouse,
The gorgeous sapient Serpent.

my house snake curled  around the porch railing




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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 8/25/2013 revised 8/25/2013
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