A Black Racer has been hanging around the property this week so I thought it was a good time to dust off and republish one of the lost articles on these sleek beauties.
Dateline: February 2014*
Living in a rural location, I have an outside well pump and tank with a water conditioning system added.
This week as I walked passed, something swooshed and I spotted a Southern Black Racer snake (Coluber constrictor priapus) slithering through the hole in the platform that holds up the tank section. I guess this is a perfect place for protection from the elements, but with opportunities for a free meal.
You see, recently we had a brief freeze, so I had to bundle up the well to prevent freezing pipes. I use two moving blankets and a sheet along with some clothespins and a bungie cord to keep everything snugged up. Two days later when we returned to record 85F temperatures, I undressed the pump and found that a Green Anole had taken up residence in the sheet…great protection from the freeze, I suppose. And I guess the snake followed the Anole to the “Well Pump Inn”.
There is the time I found a jumping spider nesting in the protective cover for the conditioner timer. And another when I spotted a jumping spider dining on an invasive treefrog that would have clogged up the gears, had he not taken care of the problem.
Unfortunately, the invasive frogs still manage to clog up the gears and the result is a broken timer so that I now have to go out and manually set it to backwash the unit. This is the second time they did it in…another $167.00 dollars down the drain…so to speak 😉 A new unit is on the list to be ordered. Thankfully I can install it myself.
I’ve had ants short out the electrical box in their quest to find a home and somehow a lizard got through the conditioner tube and screwed up the float that regulates the water…he didn’t make it on his adventure. I’ve had friends who had lizards’ short out the electric box…unfortunately, they called a plumber before they talked to me. I could have saved them some money by teaching them to clean out the contacts that cause the short.
I’m happy that I am handy enough to have been able to fix many of the problems on my own…amazing the empowerment of a Phillips Head screwdriver. 😀
So, the well continues to provide interesting habitat. I suppose that I could enclose it, but likely, that would not eliminate the use as a fun, warm habitat. This past week with the return of high temperatures, I saw through the shed window a swarm of ladybugs…another habitat for our friendly fauna.
Critters will get in to small places, so it’s just a matter of routinely monitoring them to ensure they don’t cause a problem. In the meantime, I will stop by the “snake den” to see what his plans are for the day. Racers are egg layers as opposed to giving live birth, so it won’t be a maternity ward.
Do you have unusual places around your home that provide habitat?
*This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters in February 2014 at the defunct national blog beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com.