I was cleaning out the barn last Friday in anticipation of my shearer, Stephen Franco, coming to shear my goats. I swept out the barn aisle so the newly sheared fleeces wouldn't be contaminated with old hay and dead bugs. I also swept off the cement apron at the back of the barn under the roof overhang. I put out a bale of hay for the newly sheared goats to munch on since I knew they would be staying in the barn for at least a few days.
What should I sweep out from around a roll of fence wire but a coral snake. Well, shit. This was a little guy about a foot long and very skinny. Coral snakes do not have the wide triangular shaped head like the pit vipers do. The coral snake has a delicate head, so delicate, in fact that sometimes it's hard to tell the head from the tail. I checked the order of the colors - "Red and yellow, kill a fellow. Red and black, a friend of Jack."
OK. This was a coral snake and not any of the similarly banded look-a-likes. The red and yellow stripes were next to each other. Not a shovel nosed snake. This is a coral snake.
Peggy's friend, Clint Pustejovsky, would probably suggest that I step aside and let this little guy go on his way. Clint is a snake expert that Peggy went to high school with. Clint is a firm believer in letting snakes, even the poisonous varieties, live. He suggests moving them out of your way and letting them go on with their lives. I have learned alot from Clint's expertise and in general I do what he suggests. When we come across a copperhead on the property I encourage it to stay off the path I'll be walking and go on it's way.
In this case, that was not going to work. This snake was bound and determined to get back to the barn which I have newly declared as a "Coral Snake-free Zone." I did everything I could think of to get him to move along. I did not try to capture the snake. I probably should have. I could have dumped him someplace away from my animals. Unfortunately, I didn't think that through until after I had killed him.