In early November, I came across an interesting inhabitant of our backyard. It was a Sharp-tailed Snake. We see them every once in a while, usually in summer. This was a small one, lying still under some leaf debris because of the cold weather I suspect. At first I thought it was dead but it had burrowed under the surface by the time I came back in a few minutes.
These small, secretive snakes are seldom seen by most people. I had never seen one until we moved to this house on the outskirts of town in the Tri-Valley area of the East Bay. They are nocturnal and tend to burrow under things – leaf litter, logs, rocks. Their favorite food is slugs. They are reddish in color above and have a striking black-and-white pattern below. The tail ends in a sharp spike which gives them their name.
They are gentle and harmless and should be left alone.
More information can be found at sfbaywildlife.info.