This is a popular spot for snakes. Numerous cracks in the rock and holes made by tree roots provide great overnight sleeping areas. I’ve seen a dozen (garter snakes and water snakes) in the area in just 30 minutes of quiet sitting as they head towards their various overnight sleeping spots. I’ve seen four crawl into the same hole, and there are probably some snakes in the hole already.
Video at bottom of story
This is my fourth year visiting the snakes. It is a meditative experience. I sit or lie down on the ground and just wait quietly. I often get there just as they start moving towards their burrows in the evening, and sometimes return in the morning to see them emerge. I don’t startle them; I don’t grab them; I just watch them.
Some of the regular snakes are used to me. Last week I accidentally startled one when I lay on the ground (didn’t see it till it started moving). It crawled away from me before lifting and turning its head and flicking its tongue at me. It then turned its body back towards me, flicked its tongue a few more times and then reversed course and moved back towards where it had been resting before I’d accidentally disturbed it. It was as if it recognized me and knew I wasn’t a threat. I could have stroked it with my finger as it went by.
In the video there are three garter snakes. I was thrilled to have one crawl upon my foot. Two more garter snakes are out of camera range, one sunning itself on a rock in the late evening sun, and the other already in a hole with only its tail showing. A water snake was also in the area, but had disappeared into the rocks before I started filming.
There are at least five regular water snakes at this spot (two large adults, and three smaller juveniles). Water snakes and garter snakes all use the same burrows and I’ve seen two water snakes intertwined with a garter snake inside a rock fissure; in one hole I often see three tails from two different species poking out the entrance.
For me, interacting with wildlife in this way is one of the better ways to end a hectic day.