This little guy showed up on our porch today. (Click on the image to see it larger.) You can’t tell from how the snake is sort of coiled up in this picture, but he was about 18-22 inches long. The bright coloring on his stripes was unusual, leading a neighbor to speculate that he could be a venomous snake. I am no herpetologist, but I did know that his head wasn’t the right shape for that to be the case: venomous snakes tend to have a more pronouncedly triangular shape to their heads. Besides, there are only 3 kinds of venomous snakes in Ohio, and 2 of the 3 are rattlers. Clearly this little snake doesn’t have a rattle on the end of his tail, and I felt pretty sure he wasn’t a Copperhead. Nevertheless, we didn’t want to stress him out, so we gave him plenty of room.
My husband thought the snake was a garter snake and so did I. They are among the most common snakes in our area. (Although not that common—having one appear on our porch was a first!) This one had unusual coloring, but stripes usually mean garter.
He wasn’t bothering anything, so after admiring him for a bit and after a few quick snaps of the camera, we retreated to leave him to his business. (Or her, I certainly am in no position to know the gender of a snake!)