As I walked from the break room back to my office one day last week, I noticed a fellow traveler in the otherwise-deserted hallway. There, hugging the angle between floor and wall, was a 9-inch yellow-bellied racer sporting a dapper black and tan suit.
The arrival of an uninvited visitor with no shoulders might have provoked shrieks and mayhem in another office. However, this is the Conservation Department, so instead he got a tour of the facility with introductions to staff, including Herpetologist Jeff Briggler. Jeff photographed the little guy before releasing him near more appropriate winter digs.
Which I assume is what brought the hatchling snake into our office in the first place. With the arrival of cooler weather, snakes statewide are looking for places to hole up for the winter. As outdoor temperatures dipped into the 40s at night, our earth-contact office space probably felt like a cozy, dry cave just right for a long winter’s nap. It might have been, too, if he had discovered a dark cranny before I discovered him.
If you find a harmless snake checking out your digs for a winter retreat, don’t freak out. Just show him the door, or if you are comfortable handling snakes, release it near a rock pile or similar habitat. The snake will repay the favor by consuming rodents that also might find your home or office a nice place to spend the winter!