Basement Snake – candidate

A year or two ago, I encountered a candidate for the job of Basement Snake.

Candidate Basement Snake

Candidate Basement Snake

One of the really cool things I discovered about basement snakes is that they are kind of fractal. The scales literally scale with the snake. A small snake has little bitty eeny weeny teeny scales!!

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

The candidate snake was in the sink, (sink snake?) trying to figure things out. Its teeny little head probably couldn’t fit much thinking material, or something. I released it down in the basement and wished it good luck. It wasn’t in a condition to do much to a fly, let alone a mouse.

I know little about snakes, I am sure at least one of the Commentariat(tm) perhaps lorn can help us out: do snakes scale their eating habits as they grow? Did this fellow start with ants, work his way up to crickets, mice, and finally mailmen?


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    I know very little about American snakes*, but according to Wikipedia, the snake could be a (Northern) ring-necked snake, slightly venomous, but unlikely to bite humans. They eat smaller salamanders, earthworms, and slugs and grow to be 25–38 cm (10–15 in).
    * = There are only two species of snakes here in mainland Finland, the venomous common European adder/viper (Vipera berus) and the non-venomous European grass snake (Natrix natrix). The rest of the world seems to have much more diversity.

  2. lorn says

    Cute fella.

    Looks like a ring neck snake to me. Given the size he, or she, looks to be recently out of the egg.

    There are people who claim to raise ring neck snakes but a lot of others say that they are too sensitive to raise without a lot of them dying. I tried to keep a baby like yours for a few days to observe it but it simply refused to eat even though it had a variety of appropriately sized food items like tiny worms, termites, and baby crickets in what looked to me to be an ideal, but artificial, environment. The word I got from a herp friend was that they are very sensitive to the nuances of the environment and they stop feeding when stressed. After two days I let it go in the woods near where I caught it. They seem to like the moist leaf-duff in the southern woods. Lots of tiny meals down there.

    As I understand it, snakes grow their entire lives if they get enough food. They grow quite quickly when young and slow down as they age. That particular cutie will never get very big. A bit less than a foot long is as big as I’ve seen in person and most were about the size pictured.

    It is good that you’re not freaked out by snakes. There is a huge ‘see snake – kill snake’ culture down here and huge numbers of them get slaughtered out of irrational fear.

  3. jaxkayaker says

    I agree that it’s likely a ringneck snake. They typically are brightly colored on the underside of the tail, which is aposematic (warning) coloration.

    They may be venomous, but it’s unlikely to affect humans, even if they manage to envenomate you. That’s also unlikely, because they’re opisthoglyphous (fangs in rear of mouth).

  4. says

    Looks like a ring neck snake

    Why would they call it something like that, I wonder!?!?

    Out here in Pennsylvania, there is a lot of “SNAKE! KILL IT!” and I asked one of the neighbors (who was offering to kill a black rat snake I was trying to rescue, that was napping under the wheel of my truck) – he said it’s “good christians don’t like snakes.” I think I rolled my eyes so hard I almost did a backflip.

    I’m not particularly worried about snakes; the most dangerous thing out here are hunters – territorial, stupid, aggressive, and armed.

  5. kestrel says

    What a lovely snake! One of their charms is that the newly-hatched snakes don’t look different from the adult, just super tiny. And cute.

    Glad to hear of other people rescuing snakes. Many times I’ve alarmed people by catching snakes and moving them to a safe location, AWAY from the humans who are seeking to kill them for no reason at all. And if you say, “But I’m scared of snakes, that’s a reason!” all I can say is, if you are scared of snakes, STAY AWAY FROM THEM. I mean hey, I’m scared of racists, but I don’t go around killing them!

  6. says

    if you are scared of snakes, STAY AWAY FROM THEM.

    My usual response is “it’s much more scared of you.” Humans need to realize that most of the time an animal’s reaction/threat display is a signal “please leave me alone look how big an scary I can be… please please… leave me alone.”

    I loved its adorbs little weeny teeny scalie-wailies.

  7. lorn says

    First, I need an editor.
    Previous post error please sub (you’re) for (your). My english teacher is rolling in her grave. High marks for all those who spotted the error and declined to comment.

    “I think I rolled my eyes so hard I almost did a backflip.”
    A fine turn of phrase. Quite the mental picture. I shall compliment its coining by shamelessly plagiarizing it. Cheers.

    One of the reasons I ‘walk’ my snakes, go for miles long walks with snakes clearly slithering around my body, is to introduce people to the concept of snakes and people being able to coexist in a calm and creative manner. It also serves, given that I mildly encourage people to touch and hold the snakes if they are feeling adventurous, to socialize the snakes. All sides benefit. I do try to take the feeling of people with real fear of snakes into account by maintaining distance and, sometimes, blocking their line-of-sight. I don’t want to cause fear. A mild visual shock followed by an appreciation of snakes as generally safe and beautiful seems ideal. Just the sight of a person handling snakes in a calm and carefree manner seems to have a positive effect. I see a lot of adults in SUVs pointing out the snakes to their kids in the back seat. Lots of squeees of delight and smiles. Makes my day.

  8. says

    One of the reasons I ‘walk’ my snakes, go for miles long walks with snakes clearly slithering around my body, is to introduce people to the concept of snakes and people being able to coexist in a calm and creative manner.

    That’s pretty cool. I had a mental picture of someone walking around with a bunch of snakes on little leashes something something around their little hips or something. But they’d get tired and belly-wear and stuff. So basically you’re a sort of snake-bus and you give them a tour while they enjoy the breezes? I’d worry about a dog getting defensive on behalf of its person, or something. My dogs were good fellows but if something looked threatening to me, they suddenly became very dangerous looking indeed.

    It is satisfying to see someone overcome their fear of a critter and realize it’s beautiful. That was why I had router snake join my friend and myself for dinner that time. It didn’t bother router snake much, it just sat there and, uh. I have no idea, actually.