Surprise in the Potting Soil

This morning, I was cleaning up around our storage shed.  There was an open bag of potting soil that had been sitting around, adding to the mess.  I picked it up and dumped it out by the azalea in front of the deck.

Whoops!  Something fell out along with the soil, and writhed in the dirt.  At first I thought it was a big earthworm.  A closer look revealed a small snake.  Figuring it was a garter snake, I picked it up.

Yikes!  This was no garter snake.  The baby serpent hissed at me with a wide pink mouth.   Copperhead?  Rattler? (no rattle) but definitely a venomous snake with its triangular head.  If you can identify this baby, please drop me a line!

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After showing it to the workers at the house next door, I took the snake to a warm rock by the stream at the bottom of our property, and let it go.

The big questions: Where is the mama?  Where is the nest?  Are there more surprise snakes lurking nearby?

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