Late Friday morning, Olivia, our youngest granddaughter, 3½, excitedly ran into the house, yelling "GG , come look! There's a snake on the deck!" GG (short for Grandma Greenberg) immediately texted me a photo. It was a bull snake, a bit over 5 feet long, not uncommon in our neck of the woods. The girls were fascinated, and not too scared, but lost track of it within a couple of minutes.
Bull snakes are generally ill-tempered and can be a bit aggressive if they feel threatened. And they will mimic rattlesnakes, with whom they share a superficial resemblance, coiling defensively and beating their tail against the ground to mimic the sound of a rattle. But they're not poisonous.
GG, feeling a bit threatened on behalf of the granddaughters, made periodic sweeps around the yard during the day, but the only thing she found was a 4 foot garter snake, a much more common sight around the yard, and he quickly disappeared too. We figured the bull snake, which can travel up to 2 miles a day, had left for more peaceful surroundings.
But yesterday morning, I found him sunning himself on our walkway, and captured him with a snake stick I keep just for situations like this. A quick stuffing into a pillowcase, a brief ride in the car up the road to a secluded field, and he was on his way again. The frogs, field mice, birds and baby bunnies are safe again. And the girls have a great story for show & tell.