Nothing like coming home and having the driveway blocked by a lovely snake. Before you go “ewwww” or mentally scream in terror, or wonder why I didn’t just run it over, it’s important to note that snakes here, even the rattle snakes, are our friends.
That’s because they eat rodents. Rodents are not our friends. Rodents are a very annoying and destructive problem: specifically pocket gophers, ground squirrels and rats. (The handful of tree squirrels here are totally exempt from being considered annoying, as they don’t try to come into our house or damage structures. Plus they’re rather polite and often adorable.)
All of this is not to say we’re super happy to see rattle snakes and I have in fact had a few run-ins with the belligerent bastards, but our policy here is to do our best not to kill things that actually help us by killing and eating of the things we do not want. As we do not use poisons other than a bit of insecticide around the house to combat the worst of the millipedes and earwigs and some herbicides to kill off thistles, our main pest eliminators are the snakes, hawks, owls and feral cats (which we TNR and if they have kittens we get them to a shelter so they can be socialized and adopted out of the feral system.)
So continuing the story of when I came to the gate that day last spring and saw this gorgeous gopher snake, I got out of the truck, pulled a long umbrella out from the back seat area, and gently prodded he/she/it awake. While the snake wasn’t incredibly thrilled at being asked to move, it did so and I was able to roll in without worrying about crushing it.