…is a Northern Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi).

DeKaySnake1.jpg

When I was a kid this was called the Dekay’s Snake. Now it’s usually called the Brown Snake, and sometimes “Dekay’s Brown Snake.” Believe it or not, this tiny thing is full-grown at 13 inches.
The poor snake was in the middle of a well-traveled road looking very dead, as it wasn’t moving at all. I thought it had already been run over, but when I looked closely I couldn’t see any damage other than an old injury to the tail. I picked it up and it was very cold and made no attempt to get away, but I could tell it was alive. I didn’t want to leave it there or in that condition, so I removed one of my socks, put the snake inside, knotted the upper end of my sock, and put it in my pocket. After an hour or so inside, I removed the snake and it was quite lively, even putting on a show for the camera by puffing itself up and appearing ready to strike. That’s consistent with the description of the (completely harmless) snake’s behavior:

…when these snakes do feel threatened they will flatten their bodies out to appear larger and place their bodies in an aggressive posture, and they will even release a musky smelling fluid from the cloaca (Harding 1997).

No musk, nor did it attempt to bite. (I guess the snake wasn’t feeling sufficiently threatened by the gigantic savior who’d stuffed it in a sock.)
Another nearby Brown Snake had been squashed flat by a car, and what I think happened is that wherever they were hibernating was flooded in the recent rains and the snakes went out on the road to warm up, in a state of soaked half hibernation.
I saved its life for now; I’ll see whether I can get it to eat some earthworms.