Sunday, May 21, 2006

In the yard

"There are snakes all over the place," Annie said, sitting on the lower deck against a post. There are two black ones right below the deck.

And she was right.

There are some weather and seasonal conditions that make certain animals get out where we can see them. It may have something to do with a combination of daylight, barometric pressure, temperature, or changes in all of the above, but researchers all know that sometimes they're just "out!"

Normally I'm the one who sees all the wildlife but Annie was sitting against a post when she noticed a snake down between the rocks just next to her hip. She had noticed thre others basking in the walkways below the deck but since that was not unusual she hadn't said anything. When she realized that this one could be a copperhead and had an "It could have bitten me on the ass!" moment, she decide I needed to be called in.

I grabbed the camera. Most of the snakes were still basking in the, um, well there wasn't any, so they were just basking, I guess.

bigger A black racer

Garter snake

biggerThe copperhead turned out to be a corn snake still in it's winter skin. You can see the rust looking spots on its belly scales if you look. This is from a fungus that grows on the part of their skin that is in contact with the ground. They usually shed it off in the first shed of the year. They can be absolutely stunning after a fresh shed, having all the colors of indian corn on their sides.

bigger There are other things that are "out" today. After two years of mocking my gardening efforts, the Clematis has decided to bloom.

I walked back up to the lower deck and looked back down. Maggie the cat had followed me on the garden trail until she came face to face with the garter snake. Their saliva has been documented in rare cases in causing an envenomated reaction in sensitive individuals but they have no fangs and are considered harmless. Maggie probably doesn't know this. She was in predator mode with her head about six inches from the snake, one paw raised. I watched for a couple of seconds and looked around. I picked up a tree twig about a foot long and no bigger around than my little finger. I tossed it underhanded at Maggie's backside.

Maggie was totally tensed and I had no idea whether she was going to swat at the snake or not but when the stick hit her in the back she leaped straight up about five feet off the ground twirling over and over flailing at what she must have been sure was a snake sinking its fangs into her butt. Hitting the ground she leaped again into the air landing several feet away and then bolting for safety.

I am a bad person and feel absolutely terrible for scaring Maggie so badly...Ok...Laughed my ass off, I did.

Sorry, Maggie.



This is the Maggie eye view of the viscious beast.


1 comment:

  1. I love that. I admit I love to scare the cat now and then. That unbelievable straight-as-a-shot upward leap is so rewarding! Only thing better lately, was throwing a tennis ball for the corgi. The ball landed in a stiff clump of Muehly grass, about 30" tall. Duffy ran to get ball, tripped, landed on his nose (I'm not kidding), straight up, was sustained there for several milliseconds by the Muehly, standing on his nose, not moving, until he tipped over to the ground.

    Back a ways, maybe couple of years ago, a hummingbird landed right next to me on an big oakleaf, suddenly noticed my presence, was startled, fell backward and landed upside down for a second on a leaf below, struggled, righted himself, and then flew off.

    I make an ass of myself at least once daily. I'm glad animals around me do it at least once a year.