Last night, I found this small Western Longnose Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) slithering down my hallway.
I don't know how this snake got into the house, but I suspect that it may have been hiding in a newspaper. I haven't read the newspaper for several days, and they have been piled on the table, most still in their plastic rain bags. The newspaper is delivered before dawn, and it is possible that this small, nocturnal snake may have crawled in soon after and remained hidden inside the folded newspaper all day, only to slither out after dark.
After I saw the snake, I quickly put the dogs outside and grabbed a dustpan and kitchen trash can to capture the snake. When I got back to the hallway, the snake was gone! I was horrified, and even though this snake is completely harmless, I still didn't want it lurking around inside the house. Luckily, I later spied it crawling around behind a dresser. I waited quietly nearby until it crawled out into the open. I then scooped it up with the dustpan and dropped it into the trash can.
After I took some photographs, I put the snake back outside where it belongs and hopefully will stay! Western Longnose Snakes are small, non-venomous, mild-mannered snakes with a variety of attractive colorations, but they have caused me trouble before.
Years ago, Wimpy, my black cat, accidentally got out of the house. Outdoor cats are at great risk from coyotes in my neighborhood, so Wimpy was not allowed out. After I had finally captured Wimpy outside, I carried him up to the front door. As I reached the door, I looked down and saw a little Western Longnose Snake coiled up on the front doormat. Wimpy, pathologically afraid of snakes, saw it too and began hysterically struggling and scratching me. I accidentally dropped the hysterical Wimpy and he unfortunately landed right on top of the snake. Wild-eyed with terror, Wimpy promptly turned around and climbed me like a tree to get away from the snake. With the terrified Wimpy still firmly attached to me, I frantically ran around to the back door and was only able to detach him once we were safely inside the house. I still have faint scars today from that cat and Western Longnose Snake encounter.