talavera bull
Country Life,  Gardening,  Nature,  Photography,  Sonoma County, California

Very Big Snake~Surprise!

courtyard tree roses
Courtyard Garden

I was out pruning roses and planting flowers in the empty pots when I noticed something moving up the wall in the opposite corner of the courtyard.

{in the above photo, she’s on the opposite rack in the corner at bottom left.}

I’m used to snakes surprising me but always keep an eye open for them.

They’re harmless and help keep the ridiculous rodent populations down but still, a gopher snake this big gives me pause! My husband almost ran into the house but he rather dislikes snakes.

He’s also dealt with
many more rattlers and they should make one run away!


snake climber
Yes, she’s climbing up the wall.

I couldn’t fit the whole snake into the photo because she’s about 54″ long! I wondered how long she could hang there, bouncing on the wall. The branch in front isn’t holding her up.

She held half her length upright!  I’ll admit it was a little freaky to see!

I am struck by the same oddness when seeing snakes climb trees. There’s something a little sinister about a five foot snake hanging off  a tree branch, hunting for birds’ nests.

snake friends
Resting Gopher Snake, Watching Me
snake on bakers rack
Now where’s she going!
snake descent
Hanging in mid-air…

 Below she and I are having a conversation as she makes her way slowly across the ground.
{Those are my shoes in the photo.}

I was hoping she’d crawl over them but she didn’t feel like posing!

snake passer by

Below is a photo from a couple of years ago of another gopher snake that I found outside on the cement patio. In this photo, she’s right in front of a 5′ door opening so you can get an idea of her length.

She’s a gorgeous big girl!

snake mama
5′ Gopher Snake
sophie beagle
Sophie Beagle

Sophie wasn’t so sure she liked that big snake but she kept a respectful distance and talked to her.

In other words, she whined and barked {incessantly}. She does that often unless she’s eating or chasing balls, Bella, sticks, birds, leaves, the wind ~

blue bird upside down

Is not life a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves? 

~Friedrich Nietzsche


  • Crowing Crone

    What a gorgeous snake! I think she was showing off for the camera a bit! Our world is surely full of amazing creatures. Thank you for sharing this one with us.

  • Gretchen Del Rio

    One big snake. I never knew that gopher snakes climbed. My boys always had animals in the house but I drew the line when it came to snakes. I knew that they would forget to shut the cage door and I would find it in some corner. I’m not fearful of snakes, but coming upon them when unsuspected could lead to a scream.

    • ĽAdelaide

      Ummm, I had heard they did but had never seen them putting on quite such a display as she was. We had them climb up to the blue bird boxes but never seen them do it.

      Never would I have allowed my sons to have them inside, nor tarantulas since spiders freak ME out. I really like snakes as long as they don’t surprise me. Of course, they always do. 🙂

      Haven’t screamed yet but I’ve a few years left in me yet!!

  • Mary

    Oh my, talk about a sick stomach – just looking at him. Then to see how he was silently slithering by your shoes, now you are a brave gal! He was a beauty ~ though Sophie has more appeal to me!

    • ĽAdelaide

      Mary, I should have put up a warning in the title. I’m sorry you don’t like her. I’m NOT brave at all but I do appreciate them. I’ve grown to be quite impressed by their versatility and they really are quite a large help in their natural habitat. Otherwise I’d have rats, something I simply abhor. UGH!

      OK, agreed on the Sophie being the best! We adore that little one. ♥

  • violetski

    Ah, I really afraid snakes! But your photo if her are so beautiful! ❤️
    And more beautiful is Sophie ‘s cute eyes!😃❤️
    What a beautiful garden you have dear Linda❤️ I wish I could sit there and sketch whole day( but no snake please!!!!😁)

    • ĽAdelaide

      Oh no, you too… I should have warned everyone in the title–‘watch out for snake coming’ 🙂

      But Sophie is quite the charmer, isn’t she? We love her. I plan to paint her and am trying to sketch her but had to resort to a photo since she’s always moving!! I wish you could sit and sketch here too. That would be a lot of fun if you’re ever in the SF Bay area! Feel most welcome! xox ♥

    • ĽAdelaide

      Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I’m glad you liked the photos. Not everyone likes snakes but I thought she was gorgeous as long as I knew where she was lurking. 🙂

  • doronart

    I rolled down quick to check the last photo to see you were OK… and slowly realised you are playing taking photos of the new gorgeous model.. good on you woman! I had few interesting meeting with snakes, I learnt we had different opinions.. Stay safe 🙂 xXx

    • ĽAdelaide

      Ah Doron, I’m a plucky little lady. No snake scares me unless they rattle that tail and I HEAR those rattles! 🙂

      I think she’d make a lovely model for a painting! Ok, we all know I’m a little bit crazy…….. xxx

      • doronart

        Hey Linda brave and not crazy at all in my book let me know when the model is ready I’ll pop over to paint. like the determination of this little lady but also don’t like the sound of those rattles… stay safe and keep smiling <3 xxx

        • ĽAdelaide

          Hi doron, you are so kind to leave me so many little comments. i haven’t been around my fave blogs lately, too busy getting ready for family. you do not like snakes, i gather. 🙂 being a country girl, you get used to them after 40 years i guess. i’ve always been fascinated with them. i DETEST spiders tho. even a photo of one! goofy!!

          the rattles are a warning sound and helpful if they’re in the grass. just nature’s way of protecting them and us from each other. other snakes will wag their tails too but only the rattlesnakes tail will actually rattle enough to hear it at a little distance. xox❤❤❤

          • doronart

            You are welcome, I saw you enjoying a great time with the family that is super.
            I like snakes but from a distance.. had few encounters around home when I was young as i love the fields and country side.. Learn to respect them in their environment their own world. never managed to learn their lingo though… must take some extra lessons although they are amazingly beautiful interesting creatures… xxx <3

  • janellmithani

    Great pictures and wonderful story. Snakes seem to get lots of reactions, especially when they surprise us. Sophie is just adorable, I am sure she had lots to say to Ms. Snake.

    • ĽAdelaide

      Oh my, Janell, you should hear Sophie carry on! She’s finding her voice, I think! As for snakes, I like them BIG because they’re not such a surprise. I saw a black & white king snake recently that was gorgeous! They EAT rattlers too so a real bonus having him around tho he’s a tad scary in the shadows…..SURPRISE!


  • Mel

    Ohhh…..what a pretty snake! And what awesome gymnastics she was doing just for you. Wow is she talented! And long……LOL Oh, but no threat to your safety. Kinda like the bull snakes around here that can grow to great lengths. I don’t mind them, or garter snakes or grass snakes…but timber rattlers–I mind! Seems to be a good year for them, too. The boogers. Not so much around town, but they’re called timber rattles by right. And I don’t get to crawl around in the cliffs by the rivers much, lately.

    I’m impressed at her colour–I always thought they were more of a dull brown, but this ones got some tawney bits that make her just beautiful.

    Kinda like the noisy pup–beautiful! Wow has she grown. Still with the killer eyes though.

    • ĽAdelaide

      i think there’s a link between our rattlers and those, they ring a bell as does the bull snake-maybe they’re in CA. or maybe the bull is called a gopher snake here in CA. western rattlers are quite timid and will run if they can, not bite. i’d be wary of them regardless – the venom is fast-acting and i’ve a ways to go to a hospital and would likely get very ill… hoping i wouldn’t die but some have. depends if it’s a little guy or a mature snake. babies haven’t learned to hold back yet and so really can kill you quickly, strangely enough. i’m a snake lover like you but they do kind of freak me if i step on one or they surprise me. i’ve learned almost unconsciously to be watching. mainly because of the rattlers tho you hear them first.

      i think she’s freshly shed her skin as she’s a beauty, not flaky or dried. The lizards are disgusting right now…ugh.

      aren’t her eyes the sweetest? actually she’s the sweetest little dog i’ve had in a long time. very very different from bella in temperament. i adore them both. but having a beagle for the very first time is lots of fun. lots of smiles every day. 🙂

      gkids are arriving in about a week and sophie will have met her match! and we can lay back and rest a little, at least i can dream we will. oy, i think i am not ever going to be really ready! but looking forward to everyone under one roof for once in a blue moon, including my eldest who has been in asia more than anywhere this year. CA taxes keep him scarce til they move back to the states but they just bought a little fixer in Florida!!! Florida?? I HATE it in florida…. kids…. :/

      gotta love ’em. 😀


  • camilla wells paynter

    Fan-freakin’-tas-tic!! We haven’t got a snake that large up here. A beauty, made more intriguing by the setting of your lovely courtyard! Perhaps she was interested in your cement birds? (I just now “evicted” a sizable spider, by the way ;-))

    • ĽAdelaide

      eek, i detest spiders…. camilla, it”s so nice to ‘see’ you again. i understand turning off comments as well. they take a lot of time and seem necessary as well. i’m not one to do them as they come in anymore, as evidenced by my just getting back here for yours. 😉 blogging is something i do occasionally now as being online in general i’m finding more invasive and distracting from life, my art, my well-being. the relationships that i’ve formed here i feel blessed to have but otherwise i think that what we share is being corrupted both by wp, in it’s reader and by those who want to steal our work. sigh…. i’m thrilled you liked ms. snake. yesterday i found a tiny baby one. it’s been a good year for snakes and NOT spiders!!! yay for that. 😀

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