22 minutes ago
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I know you've got to be getting sick of snake stories, and honestly, I do blog about other things, but it seems to be snake season here at casa_de_Casey.
This evening, it's about 2200 hours, and I step outside for a smoke. After events of the last couple of weeks, I don't step outside without turning on the porch light. So I flip on the light, step outside, and guess what I see? Go ahead....take a wild guess. Yep....another frikkin snake!! Of course, this one is no foot-long juvenile, this sucker is easily four and a half feet long, half on the patio, half off, and kind of laying around a flower pot. Fortunately, copperheads don't generally grow to that size, and we don't have that any poisonous snakes that grow to that size in our area...generally speaking. Now I have seen Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes, much longer than that down at my grandfather's place in the piedmont area of the state, and I have seen Cottonmouth Water Moccasins that size, though much thicker bodied, down in the wetlands along the coast. However, up in our neck of the woods, we're pretty much limited to Copperheads, Timber Rattlesnakes, and Pygmy Rattlesnakes. I don't know that I've ever seen a Pygmy Rattler, though I have seen Timber Rattlers on the rare occasion. In any event, none of them grow much over about two to two and a half feet long.
So, seeing a four and a half foot long snake, while causing an instant pucker, accompanied by major adrenaline rush, doesn't cause quite the freak-out that a smaller snake might. So I take another look at this sucker, to get an idea of more than just the length, and it appears to be a common Black Rat Snake. Non-poisonous, and generally beneficial, eating critters that I don't really care for anyway. Of course, beneficial or not, I don't want him(or her) on my patio when I'm trying to have a smoke. Freak-out reasons aside, we have big Boston Ferns hanging out on the porch, one of which is withering and dying, because a pair of Carolina Wrens has made a nest of it, which currently has at least four little hatchlings in it, and Blackie, is hanging out right underneath them.
Which makes me wonder, do snakes have some sort of sixth sense that they can just know when baby birds are getting close to trying to learn how to fly, and hang out looking for the ones that don't get it on the first try?
Anyway, I step over towards the back end of this critter, and give it a little nudge. Thinking of course, that it will meander on its way, and leave me porch. Once again, No Joy. That sucker coiled up on itself quicker than you can say "YYYaaaiiieeeee!!!!" with about 10 inches or so of it's front end, lifted up and across the coils, in a quite aggressive "I'm going to bite you now" pose.
Even though I'm fairly sure that this is a benign snake, I have to admit, my pucker factor went up a notch or three at that. So I start looking for something to nudge it along with, other than my hand. Since I'm in the front yard, what's handiest, is my daughter's toys. Specifically the bright red, three foot long, plastic rake that goes in the sandbox.
So here I am, poking at the four and a half foot long snake, with a three foot long plastic rake belonging to my two year old, on my front porch at ten o'clock at night, when I hear my Wife's voice behind me....
"You're really afraid of snakes!"
"I'm not afraid of them, I just don't care for them...especially on my porch at night."
"You're afraid of them!" (gleeful snicker)
"Is that a spider behind you?"
"EEK!" (disappears inside)
I finish up, by manfully shooing the snake off of my porch and finish my smoke...all the times keeping my eyes peeled for more snakes, and only high stepping once, when something brushed against the back of my ankle.
Signing off for now, apparently from snake Shangi-La....