No, this is not some weird porno contest, I really want you to try to identify a couple little snakes I found in my garden. First an explanation. I have a couple of large four foot window boxes with everbearing strawberries in them that I leave on an elevated deck during the summer (no problem with bunnies until they learn how to fly). I don’t get a ton of berries but it’s nice to walk out and occasionally grab a few for breakfast. During the winter I bury these boxes up to their rim in my fenced in garden. They over-winter with no problem.
Today I went out to dig them up and when I pulled them out I was greeted by the sight of three small snakes that were underneath the boxes. Two of them were maybe six inches long if stretched and no larger around than a pencil. The odd part is that they had very distinctive pale salmon-corral colored bellies. I’ve never seen that before. All I ever see around my house are dull green or brown grass snakes, sometimes a foot long.
The third snake got my attention by its manner. At first I thought it was just a baby grass snake, maybe six to eight inches long. On closer inspection it had a definite pattern of light/dark brown along its back, and here’s the weird part, it sort of coiled back and opened its mouth (all white inside) as if to strike. It was like watching a Discovery Channel show on rattlesnakes or something. It didn’t strike and I couldn’t see little fangs or even little rattles, but I never saw a grass snake behave that way. And one other thing, it had a head somewhat larger than its body, sort of that lumpy, almost triangular shape of rattlers.
Now I’ve never come across a rattlesnake where I live or at any time while hiking the Adirondacks. I don’t know how small they start out and I suspect that this was not an Eastern rattlesnake, but like I said, it was an eye-opening performance. And what’s the deal with its colorful buddies? So, all you snake lovers out there, please give me a clue. This area in question is central NY (Utica). I live on top of a hill (about 1200 feet) surrounded by woods.