Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Snake in the Garden

Okay, I can handle the bobcats. Even the occasional mountain lion that comes down from the hills. The hawks, being one of my spirit guides, definitely don’t bother me. Even the field mice don’t bother me; they’re rather cute, actually. Most bugs don’t bother me, except for spiders, and I leave them alone unless they’re in the house.
But snakes? Snakes definitely bother me. I do NOT like snakes. In two years, I have never, ever, had a snake in my garden or yard. Until this morning. The alarm went off at six, as usual. I stumbled out of bed and into clothes and took the dogs out. It was next to the corn bed, lying on the ground near a hole in a tree root, half in and half out of said root.
I didn’t see it at first. I was looking in the corn bed, counting the sprouts, when my dog jumped over the fence and approached it, sniffing curiously as she always does. I looked over to see what she was so interested in. Somehow it pierced my sleep fogged brain that this shouldn’t be there and wait a minute –SNAKE! I yelled “Princess –NO!” At the top of my lungs. Maybe it was the tone of my voice, or some instinct, but she stopped with her nose just a few inches from the snake. The snake didn’t move. It lay perfectly still in the warm rays of the just risen sun. Princess backed up and skirted it with a wary eye. (Who knew that dog could be wary?)
By this time I was seriously freaking out. I herded both dogs into the house then went back out. The snake was in the same position. I took a tennis ball and bounced it off the ground beside the snake. It didn’t move. I took a (very) long stick and poked it near its tail end. No movement. Was it dead? I didn’t want to take the chance.
Then I heard a car pulling up outside. My brother, coming home from the night shift at the factory. In steel-toed boots. Who didn’t mind snakes. I went out and grabbed him. When I told him what was wrong, he looked at me like, are you crazy? Chop the head off and be done with it. But he came out back. He saw the snake and whistled. This thing is at least 4 feet long, and all of it wasn’t out of the hole. Solid black. Black snakes are almost always poisonous. He grabbed the rake and tried to lift the snake with it. It moved. Hissed. Bit the rake handle. I screeched like a little girl and jumped behind him. Robbie said I could either kill it or let it finish sunning, and then it would go away. But he was going to bed. And he did.
There might be more coming out of the woods with this drought.
Now I need to decide what to do with my unwelcome visitor….

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Nada said...

We had a similar problem when it very dry/drought conditions....snakes looking for water. Some were dealt with by local wildlife. A kookaburra swooping down to catch a snake is an extraordinary site.

For the others that got entangled in some of the bird netting on the fruit trees, we called a local wildlife rescue service(run by volunteers)to come and collect it and take it into the wild. There may be a similar organisation where you are.

I don't mind snakes ..mice - well that's another story.

6/06/2007 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Nada said...

sight...as opposed to site!Spelling apologies.

6/06/2007 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd guess it was a (non-poisonous) black rat snake, common in Alabama. They can be aggressive if provoked, but please let them live. They're keeping down your local rodent population and have no real interest in people.

Judith

6/07/2007 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please leave the snake be. He's eating all sorts of stuff that you don't like -- he won't hurt you. Just don't poke him.

6/08/2007 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Deb G said...

I really dislike snakes too...but have to agree, they are good for the garden. I just leave them and go away until they leave....

6/09/2007 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in a swamp in Southeast Virginia so we have canebrake rattlers, moccasins, and copperheads to contend with. There is a site online that give the snakes for your area, pictures, habits, markings etc.

Most that I see in the gardens are non-poisonous Carolina Red Bellys that eat frogs. Occasionally we have King Snakes that eat poisonous snakes.

They are scary I know, but you really should have a shotgun handy because the poisonous ones, while usually not around the "civilized" area of our property, do appear and then you do have to consider killing it, or having it return to the same spot around your house and garden again. I can't risk the injury to my kids or animals. A bite from one of the major poisonous snakes is bad, especially if you are any distance from medical help like I am.

8/13/2007 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw, you can tell a poisonous snake pretty much by the skin. It is rough, not smooth and the snake is very muscular, markedly patterned, unless it is a moccasin.
The heads are big, triangular, and the eyes are pitted. Best you learn to recognize the good from the bad quickly.

8/13/2007 5:26 PM  

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