I've put this side of the house off each day because it is the sunniest side and therefore terribly hot in the afternoon. Since I have cleared away every other side of the house, sun or not, it was time to clean this side. With my rake in hand, I began to pull away the tall grass from the cement walls and on the second stroke, a red streak flashed in the grass below me. As I bent down to take a closer look I noticed it was a little snake but he slithered away so quickly I had little time to catch him.
Again I put my rake to the grass, a little more gently this time, and again another red streak flipped up. This time I pounced and was able to catch the little critter. I held him carefully in one gloved hand and grabbed the camera with my other. I managed to take some pictures but I can tell you it wasn't easy with one hand. I must apologize for the poor photos.
This is a little, Northern Red Bellied Snake, no bigger than a pencil. They are very docile, sweet snakes. (If a snake can be considered sweet this would be the one). They are completely harmless, only preying on slugs, worms and snails. Their red bellies and neck collars make this snake lovely to look at and very distinguishable.
After I set him free, I found several more snakes, including a large Garter snake that made his way into the bulkhead and down the stairs into the cellar. Now I know that the mere mention of a snake in the house would make most folks run for the hills, but I figure that since I am not yet living in the house, the snake would be a great way to keep bugs and mice at bay. In fact, while doing all the renovations so far, we have not come across any signs of vermin in the house. That means that these snakes are already doing a great job.
I looked up the meaning of snakes and discovered that in Greco-Roman mythology they are symbolic of health and healing. It has to do with their ability to renew themselves by shedding.
Snakes are also symbolic of progress. The ancients observed that snakes never move backwards.
I have decided to take this as a good omen. This house is offering me the health and healing I need in my life and the chance to move forward to gain more happiness and fulfillment. Isn't that what we all want?
This is a shed skin I found just outside the bulkhead.
Just a note: As of yet, there is no record of poisonous snakes living in Maine (or termites either for that matter)