When I came back from getting the paper this morning there was a young rat snake all coiled up on the doorstep. We looked at each other for a while and he didn't seem terribly inclined to move, so I gave him a gentle nudge with the paper as a hint, and instead of slithering away he snapped at me (fine--I'm that way myself in the morning).
So we both stood and regarded each other for a while, and then he decided that the little crack between the bottom of the door and the sill would be a dandy place to retire to while he considered the situation. This meant that I would either squish him with the weather stripping if I opened the door, or else he would have an opportunity for a free home tour inside, neither of which seemed especially desirable.
Since I didn't have anything available to me except the paper, the hose, and the outside broom (which would have been like using a bulldozer to roll an egg down the road), I opted for aiming the hose into the crack a ways behind him, on the theory that even snakes that swim don't like being under water very much. Eventually he took the hint and oozed away.
What's the best way to handle this kind of situation? Of course I could have picked him up before he went into the crack, but I had a feeling he wouldn't have liked that any better. I don't mind snakes at all, but I'm never sure what is going to be the least stressful to them when they just can't stay right where they happen to be at the moment.