Texas rat snakeThe Texas Rat Snake, the largest snake in Harris County, is common in our neighborhood, but it is rare to see one in the middle of the day. Rat snakes aren’t poisonous, but they’re not cowards like our gentle hognose snakes.

One time when I was a kid, playing kick the can with the neighbor kids, a hognose accidentally wandered into our midst. Delighted, we teased it (gently!) until it spread its hood for us. This made us even more gleeful, so we continued to pester it until it rolled over and displayed its tummy. Of course, we all wanted to keep it as a pet. Finally, a parent came out and made us play in a yard across the street so the poor snake could recover and escape.

Had we done that with a Texas Rat Snake, we’d have all ended up at the emergency clinic.

This beauty was on its way up one of our palm trees, most likely in search of a nest to rob. It wasn’t happy about me taking its picture, so it slithered far more quickly than it probably intended.

Being so close to the bayou, we get lots of snakes in our yard: copperheads, garter snakes, cottonmouths and grass snakes. Fortunately, we’ve never had one swimming in our pool, but many of our neighbors have.

Click here to read more about the Texas Rat Snake.