I did a little more research on garter snakes today. Apparently, the checkered garter snake is native to the southwest and isn’t near the eastern United States. That first picture I listed in yesterday’s post is likely a checkered garter snake, though, because it directly matches other photos online and I’m wondering if it was someone’s pet or progeny of a pet, as they are supposedly very easy to domesticate even if caught in the wild.

Another photo of the checkered garter snake from ten years ago.
Another one.

The other photos and the one I fought yesterday morning are likely the eastern garter snake, as the photos match other photos online and variants of the eastern garter snake are often checkered. The wikipedia pages for garter snakes have some interesting information:

  • They will release a foul-smelling liquid from their butt on to their attackers.  This is something that I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post – I could tell it was in a very aggravated mood early on because it released some stench when I first tried to grab it.
  • They are mildly venomous. This is contrary to what I said in my previous post.
  • They will strike and bite if provoked and have two large teeth towards the back of their mouth.

So I guess my point of this post is this:  In the epic Battle for the Beaven House the morning of July 11, 2017 as I was crouching down repeatedly trying to get the active and aggressive snake while in my underwear, two mildly venomous snakes could easily have touched tips with painful results for me, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

I did not see the snake last night or this morning.

And it was a snake. And I was afraid it was going to bite me.

As I plodded up my dark basement steps after getting up at 5:20am from my deep slumber, a large, shadowy snake-like figure next to my feet suddenly slithered up the steps. It scared me half to death and I quickly realized it was indeed a decent sized snake. It then moved behind a storage box and junk behind the box at the top of my steps.

The next ten minutes saw an epic battle between the snake and I as I tried to round it up to get it out of the house. I ran to get a flashlight, a recycling bin, and a paper towel to grab it with. The dark snake was much more active than the usual snakes around my house and it routinely squared up against me, the flashlight, or the paper towel as I was trying to get it. I was eventually able to grab it somewhere near its head with the paper towel and get it into the recycling bin to take it outside.

A pretty accurate artist’s recreation of the epic Battle for the Beaven House.

I left it in the recycling bin and woke up my wife and daughter to see it if they wanted to see it. I didn’t take any pictures of it because I didn’t want to stay outside looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man wearing only boxer briefs. After my shower, I went to check on the snake and to let it go if it was still in the bin and I discovered that I had inadvertently left the front door open as I went to take a shower still only half-awake. The storm door was closed, but there’s a piece of weather stripping that is missing at its bottom. The snake was gone from the bin, so the snake and I may be battling again tonight if it decided to come back in the house.

It turned out to be a checkered garter snake, which are fairly common in my neighborhood. Below are three pics I’ve taken over the years. Lacking venom, they’re harmless and I don’t even know if they have any teeth to sink into people if they wanted to. But damn, it was active and aggressive.

This smaller one was climbing on my lawnmower ten years ago. It was lighter in color than ones in recent years.
This mummified garter was another one in my basement found a few years ago in a pest control box by pest control.
This one was in my shed a few years ago and seems to be about the size of the one I fought this morning.