Snakes Alive!

19 Apr

We got into a discussion over on Arlo and Janis about snakes, of all things.  This is one form of wildlife that has never particularly bothered me.  They’ll startle me, if I come across one unexpectedly, but so will a Great Blue or a fox.   I can tell “safe” snakes from “dangerous” ones, and behave accordingly.

When I was a child we lived in housing which had been put up after WWII in an area which was farm land only shortly before. From time to time, Mum would find a garter snake in the flower bed, and let it curl around her hand and wrist. If I promised to be very gentle and not squeeze, she’d let me hold the little critter. She also pointed out how the head just blended into the body, and that meant it wouldn’t hurt me. “If you see a snake with an arrowhead, that’s dangerous, and you mustn’t try to touch it.”  Many times I’ve walked up when a bunch of men are fluttering around a snake, grabbed the poor thing, and walked off with it.

When I was married to my first husband, we lived in a very old house, which had a stone cellar. We also had at the time a passel of cats, a rabbit, a Collie dog, and a bantam hen named Loretta, all of whom would settle in a row on an old daybed on the back porch. One of our cats was wildly in love with Loretta, and would lay on his back, patting her under the chin. Loretta would gather up her skirts, look at Joe over her glasses, and scoot down a couple of inches. Joe would roll over closer to her, and try again. There were other shenanigans going on between the dog and the rabbit, and the rabbit and the cats, but I’ll leave that for you to imagine.

So – to get to the point here, one August morning the Gas Man came to read the meter, and I opened the basement door for him. A few moments later he came upstairs, leaned against the door, and took a deep breath. He glanced out onto the porch and watched Joe and Loretta in their ill-starred romance, and all of the other craziness, and then glared at me. “Ma’am, did you know there was a snake in your washing machine?” Apparently, the poor soul thought I had put it there! It was hot as blazes outside and the basement was cool, so the snake had come in to be more comfortable, fallen into the washer and couldn’t get out. I asked the man to help me, and he practically fell over trying to get back up the steps. “Oh, for Pete’s sake, hold the window open, and I’ll put him out.”

“Y-y-yes, ma’am.” And so we did.

Both in that house and this one we get snakes in the attic from time to time, trying to get warm in the late fall, and we can hear them rustling around. In the spring, the attic gets darned hot, and we hear them looking for the exit. It sounds as if somebody is dragging a body across the floor, which is pretty much what’s going on.

We have a stream beside the house and a large pond in the front, and frankly I’d deal with snakes than snapping turtles. Snakes don’t attack you!

To be continued:

2 Responses to “Snakes Alive!”

  1. tiggerlyss April 19, 2020 at 11:28 pm #

    My children’s best nature education came from your house.

    • thisendoftheswamp April 19, 2020 at 11:39 pm #

      Including a short course on “How to Outwit a Racoon”?

      You can’t.

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