Photo: A female Texas Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri) on a cold early March day in South Texas.
This afternoon our three dogs (German Shepherds Oso and Maya and rescue mutt Sunshine), Susie and I took a hike through our south pasture. This afternoon wasn’t a typical early March day. It was blustery and overcast and the temperature hovered around 50°F (~10°C).
The hike wasn’t for pleasure. We were checking the fence line with our southern neighbor for broken barbed wire strands. The fence was old, having been built in the 1960s, and Hurricane Harvey hadn’t been nice to it. Our three miniature donkeys (Ma Ferguson, Frieda, and Sonia Sotomayor) had taken to visiting our neighbor’s pasture through one break. We’d left the break open, awaiting the donkeys return home on a day I had time to fix the break. They returned home this morning demanding a ration of oats. Having planned an afternoon off, I reluctantly gathered up gloves, fence pliers, and wire to close the gap in the fence. Susie and the dogs accompanied me. After closing that break, we walked the almost half mile of fence line to insure there were no other gaps.
As we checked the fence, the dogs diligently hunted cottontails and wood rats, searching each clump of grass and shrub. They had no luck. As the hike neared its end and we approached the house, the dogs all three gathered around something in the deep grass. Their cautious postures told me, “snake,” but it seemed much too cold for that. As it turned out, it was a snake. Specifically, a mature female Texas Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri). See my blogs https://goliadfarms.com/roof-snake/ and https://goliadfarms.com/baby-texas-rat-snake/ for more information about this species. This species is the most common snake on the farm, but it’s not our only snake by a long shot. For a taste of our farm’s snake diversity, see my blogs:
I rescued the snake before the dogs could injure it. She was surprisingly active considering the cool temperature. I held her while Susie took photos and then released her into to clump of huisache (Acacia farnesiana) where the dogs couldn’t easily reach her.
There is not a month of the year that we haven’t encountered snakes on the farm.
Enjoy nature while there still is some…