Guess what I saw yesterday while I was out caching?? One of THESE. Big one, too.
I was walking along a grassy path and it was lying coiled up to one side of the path, presumably minding its own business. I thought it was a bit of hose or pipe at first since it wasn't moving, only realizing my error when one foot was about six inches from it.
As you might imagine, I hightailed myself right out of there, and then stopped to text a friend whose daughter (whom I allow to babysit my children anyway) keeps half a dozen pet snakes in her basement. As far as I'm concerned all snakes are to be avoided no matter what kind they are, but I figured it would be nice to have this one identified for future reference. And yes, my friend is a brave--some might say foolhardy--soul, but as she's pointed out to me before, she was raised in the Queens, NY of the 1970s and chased muggers for sport...she ain't afraid of no stinkin' snakes.
After giving me grief over the fact that I didn't stop to take a picture for easier identification (I refuse to dignify that one with a comment) she asked a few questions about its appearance and determined that what I saw was a Northern water snake, a blessedly nonpoisonous critter. Whew.
This, my friends, is why I refuse to cache in the woods alone. My less-than-spectacular sense of direction notwithstanding (I have two GPS-enabled devices on me at all times plus spare batteries for this reason), there has to be somebody with me who is capable of remaining calm in the presence of serpents!