The snake baby I found in the bag of potting soil was not a venomous species. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.
According to Raymundo, our local reptile and amphibian expert, this was a young ribbon snake masquerading as a viper. He said that the shape of the eye indicates who is dangerous. A round pupil (as above) belongs to harmless types, while an eye with an elliptical pupil means trouble. Also, venomous snakes’ heads are distinctly triangular, with a narrow neck. Also, a snake with heat-sensing pits along its head is poisonous, if you want to get close enough to check.
So I guess it was a good thing that I set the little snake free by the stream. Maybe she’ll grow up to control the mice population that enjoy the warmth of our walls in the winter!