How many people would consider finding a snake in their house a sign of good luck? Surprisingly, that’s just how I’m feeling right now after finding a beautiful green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) curled up in a corner of my grandparent’s old house that I’m renovating. I used to see these lovely creatures all the time when I was growing up, but it has been many years since I’ve come across one, and to find it in Grandma’s old house was a treat since I remember how much she loved her yard and the creatures that lived there.
I readily admit, though, that I was a bit of a wimp when it came to capturing and removing it. I know they are harmless, but I still didn’t want to reach down and grab it. Its slender tail looks much like the green anole lizard’s and I had this vision of the snake breaking off its tail to escape, which is creepy but highly unlikely. To avoid touching it, I used a plastic cup to trap it, slid an old cd underneath and scooped it up that way. Before I released it outside, I took it over to show Aunt Peggy. Since she takes after Grandma so much, I knew she would love seeing it, too.
I was curious to find out if green snakes are on the endangered species list, and discovered through online research that they are not threatened. However, several reliable sources have mentioned that their numbers are declining due to loss of habitat. They are also heavily collected for sale in the exotic pet trade which makes me sad. These slender gems of nature prefer to live in trees and capture small insects and even small frogs for food. They are very active during the day and dance and sway in the limbs mimicking the movement of the twigs and leaves they call home. To think of them confined to a small habitat in someone’s home just doesn’t feel right to me. Besides, the female snakes often gather together and lay their eggs in a communal nest which would be a difficult feat if the poor thing is trapped in a vivarium.
I’m feeling very blessed to have met this little sweetie, but I truly hope I don’t find any more snakes in the old house because the chances are the next one would not be as charming.