Snakes Around the House

I enjoy working on the house and property in mid summer, when the weather is warm and friendly. And, I’m not alone in my fondness for warm weather. Seventeen species of snakes are endemic to New York State. At least three of them – all nonpoisonous and harmless – live around the house (stone foundation; compost pile; deep, leafy mulch; loose stone walls, etc.). July is their month to see and be seen!

I’m tripping over garter snakes, and every so often get a glimpse of the beautiful, but secretive, milk snake.

They’re in the lawn…


The firewood pile…


The blueberry patch…


And, just this morning, inside the cellar ….. at eye level!


This milk snake, a young adult about two feet long, was investigating a shelf in the stone foundation of the cellar where sawdust had accumulated during the installation of a furnace vent. Rodents are a dietary staple, so I’m hoping it eats well (and stays in the stone foundation)!


“The Essence of Wildlife Photography” by Mike Biggs, IN “Whitetail Rites of Autumn” by Charles Alsheimer:

“Wildlife photography consists of a series of repeated attempts by a crazed individual to obtain impossible photos of unpredictable subjects performing unlikely behaviors under outrageous circumstances.”

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

15 thoughts on “Snakes Around the House

  1. Our little garter snakes are sort of cute—.As for the milk snake, I, too, hope it stays in the cellar or better yet, finds its way to wood pile..

  2. Beautiful! I love snakes. I have that photo close up with the tongue out I bought from you front and center on my desk!

    • Thanks Lisa. Glad you’re speaking out for snakes – they need all the help they can get! That photo on your desk just my be my all-time favorite snake picture. 🙂

      • I am not a lover of snakes but tolerate them. Are Milksnakes and Spotted Ader the same snake. I had a bad experience with an Ader and it was coiled and bit me and I had a bad reaction from the bite. I was told by the doctor that some people are sensitive to their bite and that they could have an aggressive tendency.

  3. I’m still working at overcoming my reaction when seeing the slither motion. I’ve managed to modify it a bit, but it still startles me. A diet of rodents is a good thing… though I suspect we might have some rattlesnakes in our neighborhood now. They’ve been known to be in other places I’ve lived, but I’ve never had a close encounter. I’d just as soon keep it that way! 😉

    • I understand. I have a healthy respect for them and draw a line in the sand with respect to location. I stepped on a mature timber rattlesnake in June while fishing. I had thick hip boots on and the snake was sluggish due to a chill in the air, but it took me a long while to calm down and I still think about it when I’m startled by one of the little garter snakes.

  4. These are wonderful pictures of snakes! I think they get a bad press because people do not take the trouble to find out that most snakes actually do us all a huge favour.

    • Thanks Anne. And I agree. I also suspect we’re hard-wired to fear snakes? All of my dogs have been afraid of snakes, even shed skins, and they never had a bad experience with one.

  5. Ah yes, and I do like snakes. I used to catch garter snakes in my youth. My visiting Grandma was dismayed to find it had escaped its aquarium and was in the basement by the laundry. I did follow a diamondback down the road in Florida one time to get its picture. Glad that he wasn’t annoyed by me.

  6. Fantastic… but spooky too! We don’t get a lot of snakes in Devon, unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose).
    I do, however, keep my own crested geckos. I have a soft spot in my heart for lizards! But there’s something creepy about the legless kind…

    • Thanks for the nice comment and thoughts! I like lizards – more so than snakes – but have never seen one in this region. My childhood home was 400 miles SW of here, on the northern edge of the range of fence lizards. They’re pretty cool creatures and I have fond memories of discovering them on rock outcrops with a warm, southern exposure.

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