snake in a pool

Black racer

You’re looking at a black racer that survived a trip through my backyard pool water re-circulation plumbing.

This adventure with the snake started one morning with my two youngest kittens. They like to go out and just walk around the enclosed pool, looking outside at the lizards, birds, and squirrels. But that particular morning a young black snake, a good twelve inches long, decided to slither under the screen door between outside and the pool deck, and look around.

That turned out to be a mistake for the snake. The little kittens chased the snake into the pool, which wasn’t a problem for the snake, as it can handle swimming. The problem is that the surface filter/return had not had its basket properly seated. I didn’t know this at the time, and didn’t discover it until I’d chased the kittens back into the house and closed the door into the house, when I went back and saw the snake wasn’t swimming in the pool any longer. I knew that the snake had probably been caught in the trap, so when I lifted the lid, I was shocked to see that the basket wasn’t properly seated, and that the snake was probably in the plumbing, somewhere.

Sure enough after about ten minutes I found it in the second trap in front of the pump. I couldn’t move fast enough to shut down the pump, take the top off the filter trap, and dump the now lifeless body of the snake into the gray planter above. I put the trap back together and then turned the power back on the pump. As I stood there I looked at the snake, then reached in to roll it over from its back to its stomach. The snake shocked me again when it rolled back around onto its back. I stayed next to it for the next fifteen minutes, watching it slowly begin to move. At the point I took the photo above, it was moving about normally and eyeing me as a potential adversary. One reason I took the photo was to convince my wife it was indeed a black racer.

I rescued the snake and made sure it was OK because I don’t like killing anything. The snakes were here a lot longer than we were, before the builders of my house came in and cleared the land to build this home (we are the first and only owners, having moved in in 1985). I don’t let my cats roam free in the yard, and certainly not through the neighborhood. I have a lot of birds come in due to carefully placed feeders, and we’re trying to build up a butterfly garden as well. The part of the back yard not taken up by the world’s smallest swimming pool is taken up by edge-to-edge gardening. We can also count nearly 30 trees growing on our property in an attempt to provide a green space and canopy for the plants and creatures underneath.

I have since seen the snake in the yard, or I should say I’ve seen it’s tail sliding into the bushes as it gets away from me. I’m sure there are at least two others. They eat small field mice, of which I see very few around the property thankfully. I believe in the sanctity of life, even if it’s something like a snake.