Jasmine is the first dog I've had since I was a kid, but it didn't take long to learn that there is a definite difference in her barks. When I first heard her yesterday I thought, "meter reader at the gate". But no, it was more like a "you're new to me but I know you really don't belong here" kind of bark. And not in a cow sort of way.
So I grabbed the camera on the way out.
I saw this guy coiled up on the shop porch and striking at Jasmine, who was acting as if she didn't have the good sense to realize that a snakebite to the nose was really going to hurt.
After I tied her up, the snake relaxed a little, but he still kept a wary eye on me (and vice versa). I think that he's a gray rat snake, Pantherophis obsoleta spiloides. (The old name, Elaphe obsoleta spiloides, was apparently updated just a few years ago. It is more difficult than I would have imagined to ID snakes via the internet, so please correct me if I'm wrong about this.)
At the time I thought he must have just had a meal of several mice, but after examining more of the pictures I'm thinking it may just be his bunched up muscles that give that effect.
I tried to snap a shot when he was scoping me out with his tongue, but none of them turned out too well, and after a while he quit doing it.
His scales were fascinating - here you can see the orange skin underneath them.
I tried to prod him into leaving, but by that time he'd become too relaxed and didn't want to leave. So I picked him up on a long long stick to transport him to the bramble where the rats hang out. He was pretty heavy. About 6 feet long I think. There were a few attempts to wriggle off the stick, but he seemed fairly happy to slither off into the brush once I got him there.