There are three main reasons to always wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes while working around farm animals.
1. Shoes protect your feet from accidents (from dropped or forgotten items, nails sticking out, hay poking at you, etc.).
2. Shoes protect your feet from being stepped on by animals who don't notice or care that your feet are underneath them.
2. Shoes protect your feet from animals taking offense or being frightened.
... Hopefully I'll remember to never gather eggs while wearing sandals again...
I spotted the snake scoping out the eggs, and ran inside for the iPad to share my joy with everyone. When I got back outside, the snake had retreated so that I could only see the tail. Being a smart (ha!) person, I didn't bother changing shoes before opening up the coop to get my picture. Thankfully, I knew it wasn't poisonous already before pulling up the coop floor. Given the white under her chin and the lack of any patterning for her size, this is a northern black racer. For what it's worth, there are no solid-colored poisonous snakes in Virginia.