Awwww. Isn't he cute?
In case you ever find yourself in this situation, remember: there's a simply way to tell the harmless king snake from the deadly American cousin of the cobras, kraits and taipans, the coral snake. Look at the bands.
If red and black touch, don't worry. But if red and yellow touch, you're in trouble.
Well, not necessarily. Despite being the most poisonous snake in North America, the coral snake is shy, reclusive and tends not to be very aggressive. It would probably hide in the darkest part of the car it could find. Its reaction of choice when confronted by a threat is- believe it or not- to coil with its head buried, point its tail at you- and fart. It makes a popping noise, and apparently is intimidating to some predators.
This rule only works from the northern part of Mexico on up, btw; coral snakes in Central and South America show both patterns. But at least in the States, remember this couplet in order to instantly distinguish the king snake from the coral snake:
Red and yellow, kill a fellow;
Red and black, venom lack.
Have a good time the next time you find yourself driving with a snake in your lap. And don't forget to check the order of the bands at the first red light!