Snakes Alive – In H-Town!


Nope! I’m determined to bring those stats up with one more post for 2012. And I will – by talking about snakes.

Grass snake eggs
Grass snake eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take that WordPress statisticians!

This past summer I was replanting a garden under the old, wax-leaf Ligustrum growing at the curve of our front porch when I first saw the grass snake. It was exciting. I haven’t seen one of these dark bronze-colored grass snakes in years. I suppose living twenty-five miles west, in Sugar Land, next to the creek with all the large or dangerous snakes there just wasn’t much room for these lowly grass snakes native to the Houston area.

As a child I lived in South Houston. It’s a small town just west of Pasadena, TX. We lived on Avenue B. My younger brothers and I spent a lot of time outside. We were always digging. We dug up lead bullets that were white with age – probably from the days of the battle of San Jacinto which wasn’t far from our house as a crow flies, we dug up oyster shells, old rusty knitting needles, pieces of pottery. We had a regular archeological dig going and didn’t know it. I think I spent my childhood mud-encrusted. My brother Jon and I would haul crawdads by the bucketful from the ditch. Used a string and piece of raw bacon to lure them from their holes. Some call them crayfish, crawfish, or mud-bugs. People eat them. We tried to explain that to my mother. She would not touch them.

Spec’s deli has a nice macaroni, cheese and crawfish dish available that is yummy.

In the process of digging and other mud adventures we caught plenty of green anoles (the Texas chameleon lizard) and grass snakes. The dark copper or bronze colored grass snake has a beautiful face, much like you might imagine would be the face of a snake in a children’s book – big round eyes and a bit of a smile. They don’t get any bigger than twelve inches long and not any bigger around than a pencil, head to tail. They never bite. Never. I would say that is almost true of a Texas rat snake but almost is not never. The rat snake tries to avoid contact but will strike out of desperation to get away. Even the green anole lizard bites. They have bony ridges on their jaws that feel like tiny teeth. I don’t like getting bit. The bronze grass snake does not bite. I have never seen pictures of this snake in any encyclopedia, or snake book. The snake has no markings at all, is dark bronze to light copper and has a buff colored belly. Because I can’t find it on the internet, I don’t know its official name – hence bronze grass snake. If anyone has any other ideas please advise.

As close as we are to the big buildings of downtown Houston, I’m sorry to say the air pollution is awful. The small things are usually the first to go with pollution as bad as it is. Our porches are dusty, and can’t be kept clean, because the dust is smog that has stuck. So that is one reason I was so pleased to see the grass snake.

And then the next day I saw the grass snake again. And the next. It lived under the Ligustrum. I reached down and picked it up. Of course it tried to get away but the way to catch a snake is to remain calm and catch it. I showed the snake to my daughter. She wasn’t that impressed but had never seen one before. I didn’t show it to my husband. He hates snakes. Living out by the creek for six years made his dislike of snakes worse. He didn’t need to know there was a snake – no matter how tiny and harmless – living in the front yard.

I let the snake go under its Ligustrum. I never saw it again. It probably lives next door by now. The neighbors don’t care to be picking up snakes.

3 thoughts on “Snakes Alive – In H-Town!”

  1. I live in Humble. Just last week I saw a bronze snake. It is beautiful and the first one I have ever seen. I too lived in So. Houston on Gilpin St.

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