Thursday, June 21, 2012


We recently had an unwanted guest, here at Patchwork Garden.

I went out one morning, to get the newspaper, from the driveway.
The Big Dogs, from next door, were looking at something on the other side of the drive.

I went over to investigate....and this was the guy I saw.

Yes...that is a Coral Snake.

'Red on yellow, kill a fellow'

Well...even a poisonous snake might have been OK, if he hadn't headed for the Fenced Yard.

Miss Maggie was watching every move, through the front gate.
I knew, if he made it to that yard, she' my mother would've said...
'be on him, like a duck on a junebug'.

That would NOT be a good thing.

So, I hurried into the garage and grabbed the above mentioned mother's old hoe.
It's a great hoe, by the way.
And, I chopped him in two.

Then, I went inside and had Mr P come out and check it out.
The snake was still moving it's, again with the hoe, he chopped the head off.

Then, the ants took over.  A few hours later, this is what was left.

Here's what I found from researching it.

These snakes' venom is neurotoxic.  That means it attacks the nervous system.

The good news is, their head and fangs are pretty small.  They have to 'chew' in order to inject the venom.  
Can't picture many people letting that happen.  
Most bites to gardeners are while weeding, etc.  
Wearing shoes and gloves is the best defense....also, being aware of what's around.
They eat lizards and other small snakes.  
So, places that attract those, are places theses Coral Snakes would hang out.

Although the bite may not be very painful, it is an emergency.  
Get medical help.

I don't know why he was in our driveway, or if he'd been there before.  
I'm just glad he didn't come in contact with Maggie.  
That could have been deadly.


Happy Gardening...
Be Careful...


  1. Oh my, that's an unwanted visitor for sure.

    I have never seen one but since you aren't that far away I'll be sure to keep a lookout. There have been several sightings reported around the Hill Country this year.

  2. Wow, so you have those there...I had heard. Probably the best way to handle one, without being a trained reptile expert / handler...

  3. Impressive - not so much the coral snake, but the ants! In just a few hours! I'd be scared to take a nap in your yard (didn't realize army ants could be found here in Austin).

  4. Wow. That is a big coral snake. I've seen one, but much smaller than that guy. I'm glad he didn't get to Maggie. I read just a few days ago on another blog that a dog had been bitten by a rattle snake. In just moments, he was in big trouble. A quick trip to the vet saved him, but he was lucky that the owners were home when it happened. Maggie, too.

    I've seen fire ants clean a small dead animal before. They are focused, fast and efficient.

  5. I know Bob at Draco Gardens used to catch these guys all the time as a kid (he sold them to a professor at UT for research on their venom until the professor found out he caught them bare-handed and refused to purchase any more). He still has no problem picking them up...of course, he also has no problem relocating

  6. Pretty but scary! We have seen some in our 'hood, but not on our property yet. You were brave with your hoe!

  7. I think someone should mention that there is a perfectly harmless snake that looks just like the coral snake except that the red and yellow bands are not touching. It is a clever deception of nature, but it gets a lot of these poor good garden snakes killed by people who don't know the difference. So, remember, "RED AND YELLOW KILL A FELLOW. RED AND BLACK, A FRIEND OF JACK."

    So, I guess I turned out to be the someone who mentioned it.

  8. Oh that is scary! Glad everyone is OK. We use to have these on our property a long time ago. I haven't seen one in a while, thank goodness!

  9. The snake was pretty, as far as snakes go. It is amazing how quickly the ants cleaned off the bones. I have heard that it would be hard for a coral snake to bite a human unless they got them somewhere like the skin between your thumb and first finger.

  10. I don't know if I was scared, as much as excited to find a poisonous snake crawling across the driveway. I don't mean 'Yay...a poisonous snake. But, finding it interesting.
    I'm just glad he didn't meet up with Miss Maggie, the Garden Helper. She's brought us some little garter snakes, but nothing that would do her in. Hope it stays that way.

    It has made me be a little more cautious, while weeding, etc. We also look up, when out in the yard. We've seen several snakes in the trees...raiding nests, we think. I think they're rat snakes, but very scary if they fell off onto you.

  11. That was exciting.
    Living in mid-Indiana, we have very few poisonous snakes.
    Although apparently they are moving northward because of the last couple of milder winters :(

  12. Oh look at you! You must feel proud to have killed a snake that wouldn't have harmed you if you would've just left it alone!
    You must feel like such a badass.

    All you needed to do was either call animal control, get your dog inside for a while, or use the shovel to scoop the snake up and take it out of your yard. Coral snakes aren't that big, and an average shovel is 4+ feet long, you would've been perfectly safe moving it with the shovel.
    No need to brutally kill a creature that keeps pests under control and out of your home.
    The reason it was in your driveway was because it was probably warm from the sun and it was looking for a place to heat itself up.


I love your comments. Thanks for dropping by.

This is a word verification free blog. It seems to be working out, so far.