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.
â€œIt was on the neighbourâ€™s front lawn, laying in the grass â€“ my husband thought it was a toy snake and put our 11-month-old daughter on the grass by it,â€ said Deddeda White.
â€œThen it slithered away â€“ it was very shocking,â€ 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.
â€œRed touches yellow, kill a fellow â€“ red touches black, friend to Jackâ€ is a variation of the identification rhyme.
About 18 inches long and about an inch thick through the middle, the Pueblan milk snake â€“ assuming thatâ€™s what it is â€“ is far from its natural Mexican habitat.
â€œWeâ€™ve seen wolves and bears and raccoons (in the yard), but never a snake like this,â€ said Deddeda.
Before the snake was identified as a harmless variety, responses on social media ranged from â€œkill it with a macheteâ€ to â€œlet it go,â€ 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.
â€œHopefully we can find a good home for it, otherwise it will die of cold,â€ she said.
Tofinoâ€™s by-law department came by Wednesday and again Thursday to try to find the snake, she said.