This Salal plant (just past the Lady Fern) sits next to our front path. Today my wife noticed something sitting in it (those are her legs!).
A snake! Most likely a Northwestern Garter Snake. Garter snake colors are extremely variable and this one looked beautiful to me.
These snakes like to eat slugs and worms which are plentiful in my yard. I prefer to design shelter for predators than to spread poison to control the slugs- you can see that a lot of the Salal leaves have holes in them, so I need some help.
As I got closer with my camera the snake stuck its tongue out!
At first I thought it was trying to threaten me. But after taking a peek in Passionate Slugs & Hollywood Frogs by Patricia K. Lichen I learned that the snake is actually just gathering information about me! Its tongue traps chemicals in the air and it then sticks the tongue back in its mouth and into a sensory organ that helps it understand what it is smelling and tasting.
I dared to get a bit closer but it quickly disappeared into the brush- hopefully finding some more slugs to eat.