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 was – was 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 were hoping someone
would 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 in an effort to try to find the snake, she said.
Almost two weeks after the sighting, White said the snake had not been found. Cougar hors d’oeuvres? A new home?
“Who knows where it is? I’m constantly on the look-out for it,” she said.