Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spoke to soon.....

Well, it looks like I may have spoken just a bit to soon about being thankful for a snake-free weekend. I stepped out onto the porch this evening for a smoke, and to clean up the toys in the front yard, when what do I espy stretched out on the front porch, about fifteen feet to my left. Ayep, you guessed it, young snake looking to relax at my house. Freak out....ON!!!

Of course, I'm not wearing my snake boots, or my pistol, or heck, much of anything. I've been working in the yard today, so after my shower, I've got on a t-shirt, a pair of comfortable shorts, and flip-flops. Also, of course, the Wife is just a few feet away inside the house, so even though I know that she knows, that poisonous snakes give me the willies, I still can't cut loose with a good freak-out yell or anything, one of those image things I guess. SO I step back into the house, swearing under my breath and getting my revolver out.

I step back out onto the porch, and there he is, plain as day, about fourteen or fifteen inches long, mottled in color. It's dark outside, and the porch lights aren't hitting him well, so I can't tell what color he is, just that he's two-toned, with darker splotches along his back. He's young enough, and thin enough, that I'm pretty sure he was a juvenile version of whatever his species is.

That's a problem for me. You see, Juvenile snake species, often don't have the same coloration, or even the same patterns as the adults of the species. Being as how I'm not a herpetologist, I'm not that familiar with what juvenile snakes look like compared to their grown up selves. I look for black snake, king snake, garter snake, copperhead, etc.. If I can't immediately identify what family the snake belongs to, then I'm sorry, I just have to assume the worst. With two little ones that play in that yard, I can't afford to be wrong about a venomous snake. So I hunkered down about four feet from him, thumbed the hammer back, drew a bead on him, and let fly with my rat shot. He's dead, and tossed into the woods, and will probably make a meal for some other critter I'd rather not know about.

I swear, I don't know if it's the rain or what, but I'm suddenly killing way more snakes than I've ever seen in this area. I mean, usually, I don't even see snakes around the house. I used to see the skin of a humongous rat snake that lived out back years ago, but I think I only ever actually saw it once. Now in the last year and a half, I've killed five snakes, all of them poisonous. It's weird. Anyway I can blame this on something or someone, and get relief from the current administration???



Anonymous said...

Alright, a spot of biology for you...

What do poisonous snakes eat? Small rodents, for the most part.

How do you get rid of poisonous snakes?

Get rid of their food source. Spray off the nastier areas of undergrowth with straight glyphosate and mow the rest down to short grass using a mower with a roller and no suspension (to a rodent underground, this sounds like the end of the world is nigh).

Once you've done that, bait the periphery of the area with anticoagulant rat and mouse bait to cull the rodent population. As long as something's taking the bait, keep right on putting more out there. Substitute anticoagulant for the cellulose-based toxin if you're windy about poisoning pets, though, but be advised you'll need much, much more of this to do the job.

Once you cull the rodents out, the snake will stop hanging around because they'll not be able to smell rodents in the area and won't reckon it is such a great hunting area.

Casey said...

I appreciate the advice Dr. Dan, but I just don't think it will work in my particular situation. I live on the side of a mountain, with my house in about 3 acres of woods and wilderness. Rodents and small critters are pretty much a fact of life in the woods. Heck my two dogs even scrounged up a groundhog last week, which is a first.

I just wish there were some way to keep them out of the small front yard, however, it's bordered on both sides by forest. Anything I might put out to keep them out of the yard itself, would likely be gone with the first rain or two. I've been trying different things, like cedar shavings and what not in the mulch. However, usually, snake contact is so infrequent that I don't know if it makes a difference or not. I've just been having a run of snake encounters recently.

Thanks again,