Friday, May 7, 2010

Pardon the Gore

But we had our first snake event at the lake today. Don was busy working on putting in some wiring for a light pole in front of our house; he left the electrical junction box for a bit, to assemble the light, and while he was gone I wandered by. There, curled up and around and all over the electrical box, was a S.N.A.K.E.

In retrospect, now that our hearts aren't beating quite so fast, we are sad to think that this was probably a harmless rat snake of some sort. I, being the thorough type, have a book called very appropriately, "Texas Snakes". But when the snake is curled around the electrical box you don't run in the house and get the book. You grab the camera and take a step or 10 back, while you watch your husband whack it with a shovel.

So - we ordered a poster of poisonous snakes that we'll put up somewhere in the garage for future reference. While I don't really want to adopt any snake for a pet, we also don't want to kill a harmless snake. Instead, brave Don will lift him with the pitchfork and carry him across the yard, setting him loose in the vacant lot next door. Even knowing he might well come back for another visit. In the meantime, is anyone out there up on their snakes? Anyone who doesn't have a queasy stomach?

I know it's not the same snake that showed up in our daughter, Sarah's barn yesterday. Hers definitely looks different. This one was two to three feet long, sort of skinny, tried to get away and only tried to strike when it was clear it was in danger.

My guesses are: Great Plains rat snake, Texas rat snake or Prairie King snake. Can anyone tell me definitely?


Renna said...

I think it does look like a Texas Rat snake. I've heard they can be aggressive, though their bite won't really hurt you.

I know it's wrong to feel this way, but to me, the only good snake is a DEAD snake. Like you, I'm not taking time to run for a book, or to google, before finding someone to swing a shovel and kill it. My daughter adores snakes, and has had pet ones since she moved out of the house 5 years ago (I wouldn't let her have them at home). The very idea of holding a snake, ANY snake, makes my skin crawl.

Speaking of which, my husband found a dead one in our yard yesterday. You can tell I'm out of the blogging habit, as I didn't even think about grabbing the camera. For that matter, I didn't even go look at it. We're not sure what killed it, as our old cat's probably not spry enough these days to do it.

Kelly said...

Have mercy! I had no idea Texas was so "snaky"! Another perk of Don's retirement is that now will be home to handle all snake removals:-)

Bev said...

Oh Kelly, we're learning fun jingles like 'red touch yellow, kill a fella, red touch black, venom lack" (coral snake - very poisonous!) and 'heads up = heads up!'. I told Don, yesterday, after he killed the snake, "I'm not bored yet." It's truly never a dull moment around here. A couple of nights ago we sat on the porch and listened to coyotes howling like crazy! I AM thankful my husband is home to be the shovel carrier; Sarah's snakes seem to show up when Pace is away.

Becky said...

Ummmm ... no. In fact, I am standing 6 feet away from my laptop right now so I don't get too close. I hate snakes, although I have been known to run into them often in FL.

When our kids were young they had to learn that little ditty "red to black, friend of Jack; red to yella, kill a fella" because we had coral snakes and these that only look like coral snakes.

And once, my young son came home with snake fangs that he had pulled out of a dead rattle snake in the middle of the road ("great honey, let's put those in a jar and wash your hands").

And once, when I was a teenager, I stepped on a snake while barefoot. It was just a garden snake but really ... it creeped me out for months.

So the only good snake is a dead snake to me. Ugh.

Oh, I just read that same comment from Renna ... HI Renna! You are my sister in crime.

leslie said...

Hmmm....yeah. No snakes in our yard here in PA. Glad Dad was there to help!

Sarah said...

Mom, it's definitely not poisonous (round eyes), and I'm still pretty sure it's a rat snake--this variety: though.

Rat snakes evidently come in different patterns--who knew!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Rat snake? Rattlesnake? All snakes are creepy to me. Blech.

I laughed when I saw your first picture because I read about Sarah's snake the other day. Were you wearing a skirt, Barb?

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I SO didn't mean to call you BARB, Bev. Sorry.

Judith said...

Hi Bev,

Hope every now and then you'll put the mama deer and her little one back on, so I can enjoy them again.
I so respect that determined look on her face, and would love sitting real still with you, while listening to the animals' night sounds.

Now about that snake situation. My information is from American
Red Cross participant's manual.
Page 169 and 170 has lots of information about snakes and poisoning. It says of the four poisonous kinds found in USA, Rattlesnake, Copperhead, Cottonmouth, and Coral snake, of those four, the one in your picture looks more like the Copperhead, than the other three do. I am wondering if the one in the manual is an adult snake, and the one that fell in love with with your electrical box might be a younger one, this season. I was surprised that the Cottonmouth snake is so dark, it's almost black. I don't remember seeing that kind when I was growing up.

I can just imagine how you felt when your snake wrapped itself around the electrical box. Do you think it was enamoured with all those electric wires?

Will scoot over to the library in the morning,and see if they have more information about snakes.

This Red Cross manual has lots of life saving information, and other stuff about things like West Nile Virus, insects, spiders, ticks, even poisonous plants.

You probably remember some of the things we battled while you were growing up, especially mosquitoes, but Don may start wondering if he's moved to a jungle. Might be a good idea to not run around barefooted outside.

MissBrightside said...

I saw three snakes on my running path within about 20 mins this morning....this is a bad omen!