Usually they glide off, back to the compost heap, or under the goat shed or into the woods but this one hung around long enough for me to run back to the house and get my camera.
I think I've photographed this snake before. I also think he's (or she's) been around for a while, lives in the big compost heap near the greenhouse and knows our voices.
This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me so excited about living here in France with all this land around us and the freedom to spend all the time I want taking photographs of a snake.
I feel that each day is full of adventure and that we're surrounded by friends.
Here are some photographs of the snakes I've seen here when I've had my camera handy.
A 1.6 metre Green and Yellow grass snake – or Western whip snake - Couleuvre verte et Jaune (Coluber viridiflavus) in the hay - this one gave me a bit of a shock when I walked into the goat shed!
Smaller snake of the same variety in the compost heap
Large thick-skinned grass snake pecked by our hens, which "played dead" until I took it away from them, then it moved fast out of harm's way.
Couleuvre or Grass snake - completely harmless and rather lovely once you get over the initial (and completely natural) jitters of seeing a snake. To see this snake larger and get a good look at it's round pupils, click on the photo then click on the magnifying glass above the photo in Flickr.
We regularly see the chickens attacking snakes, the smaller ones are killed quickly with a peck to the head and the larger ones are pecked to death by a gang of chickens. This little grass snake didn't make it. I've seen our chickens killing vipers and yet none of the chickens has ever been harmed.
Chick with young snake which it killed itself. Later the snake was pulled apart and eaten by a group of about 15 chickens.
For more information on snakes in France, this Planete Passion site is excellent.