This morning, around 4:00, G'nort started barking in the living room (where he sleeps), which caused Stormy and Karma (the artist formerly known as Visitor Girl) to rush in and start barking too. By the time we got in there, they had surrounded a Sonoran whipsnake that had somehow managed to wriggle in through the front door. The door is wood, and swells and shrinks depending on the humidity this time of year, so presumably it has shrunk just enough to make room for this small snake. It was probably 18-20" long.
We got the dogs herded into the bedroom and shut them in. Then I put on my thick leather fireplace gloves, with which I've picked up burning logs and live mice, and opened the door behind the snake, figuring it would take advantage of the opportunity to leave. Instead, it saw the opening door as a threat and tried to escape it, heading deeper into the house. With a gloved hand, I swept it outside, where it took off quickly. If it has any memory capability at all, it won't be coming back inside this house. It really didn't like the dogs.
We're all about the circle of life here at the Flying M. We love the leopard frog who lives in our pond, and the Sonoran desert toads who hang around the house, because they eat insects, of which we have more than enough. But it's probable that the whipsnake was drawn to the house because of all the toads. Then we'd have to get a mongoose to eat the snake, and I think that's a step too far. So we're hoping the snake has moved on to more welcoming pastures.
The above links are to the website of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is truly one of the greatest things southern Arizona.