Pueblan milk snake jolts Tofino neighbourhood

 

With its resemblance to the venomous coral snake, the Pueblan milk snake that ended up in a Tofino front yard was a shock to residents Deddeda and Sean White.

“It was on the neighbour’s front lawn, laying in the grass – my husband thought it was a toy snake and put our 11-month-old daughter on the grass by it,” said Deddeda White.

“Then it slithered away – it was very shocking,” she said.

The Whites travel internationally for their careers in photography and film-making, so they had seen coral snakes in other environments, and only after snapping a quick picture of the creature could they be sure it had the stripes in the right places.

“Red touches yellow, kill a fellow – red touches black, friend to Jack” is a variation of the identification rhyme.

About 18 inches long and about an inch thick through the middle, the Pueblan milk snake – assuming that’s what it is – is far from its natural  Mexican habitat.

“We’ve seen wolves and bears and raccoons (in the yard), but never a snake like this,” said Deddeda.

Before the snake was identified as a harmless variety, responses on social media ranged from “kill it with a machete” to “let it go,” she said.

A family interested in adopting the creature came out to look for it, but the nocturnally-oriented creature is proving shy in daytime after a morning warm-up.

The Whites would like someone to claim what has apparently been a pet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island with cooler fall temperatures around the corner.

“Hopefully we can find a good home for it, otherwise it will die of cold,” she said.

Tofino’s by-law department came by Wednesday and again Thursday to try to find the snake, she said.