When we got home from the grocery, I headed back out the door and walked to the mailbox at the road. I took the sidewalk beside the garage on my way out and came back the same way ... mere minutes later.
There, lying in the sun, extended full-length was a Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta). Too bad I wasn't being video recorded. That graceful jump would have been memorable.
Doesn't look like much? Well, when he extended himself against the front wall of the garage I was able to measure the spot (well after he was gone) and it was just shy of FIVE FEET.
I went back in the house, told Mom she had to come outside and have a look at something. She was freaked out!
He's certainly a convoluted thing. Very long, very black.
Here's a close-up of his head. The white underbody and pattern makes me think this is a Black Rat Snake and not a Black Racer. As far as snakes go, he was quite handsome. His black tongue tasted the air constantly.
Here's another wider view with a better look at the pattern on his body.
From the east side of the garage, he began working his way around to the south. Mom yelled for me to put the garage door down so he couldn't get in. "I'll never get in the car again if he's in the garage," she said.
Where did he go? Into the garage.
He found a small opening where the rubber rain seal for the garage door meets the concrete flood. I ran around to the walk-in door and saw him curled up on the floor.
So how to get him out of the garage (without hurting him), making sure he doesn't go back inside a wall and make it his permanent home?
I grabbed a garden hoe-like device (but with three tines) and used it as a scoop, lifting him off the floor, bent in half and dangling comically from the end of the tool. He fell off a few times but I finally managed a balanced load and ran with him for the corn field behind our property. I unloaded him there and he slithered off at an impressive speed (which would make me think he was a Black Racer). Mom said she would love to have a video of me running across the back yard with the snake on the end of a stick. Thankfully there is none.
I went back a short while later and there was no trace of him.
I will remember him for some time. I suspect he will remember me, too.
Update: I went out to have a walk at 4 pm and the snake is BACK! As in on our porch! The field where I carried it is at least 150' from the house. I went out and walked anyway. Later Mom watched the snake crawl across the porch and round the garage, just like the one earlier. Surely it was the same snake? Or was it the other's mate?