Everymorning I load up the bird feeder with assorted seeds for our feathered friends that share our backyard.Walking down the narrow path with the bird feeder and Daisy I spotted what looked like a four foot long snake.I’d like to claim I was calm, cool, and collected but you’d see right through that lie.I screamed SNAKE, dropped the bird feeder, grabbedDaisyand ran for the house. I’m a firm believer an angry snake will chase you just for the sport.
I hollered for Monty and as he rounded the corner of the patio he did his usual snake thing, yelling ‘Holy Shit’.Since the snake was in exactly the same position closer inspection revealed it wasn’t the whole snake only his shed skin.That was a relief but the next thought is always where’s the snake?
My second thought is wow, cool, let’s take a closer look at it.Snake skins are fascinating once you determine the snake isn’t actually in the skin or waiting close by. This skin was perfect, all in one long piece, and we could even see where his eyes were.We were anxious to see the tail section, this one came to a perfect point, so we have a gopher snake and not a dreaded rattlesnake.
Nothing worse than a rattlesnake in the enclosed yard.I like to think we are safe within the patio wall but I know better, snakes climb trees and walls and look for ways under the gate.We have a lot of lantana and salvia plants and they make a perfect hiding places for our slithering friends.
Shortly after we moved in to this house we discovered a very large gopher snake sharing our yard. Monty decided if we gave him a name he wouldn’t be quite so scary. Clyde was a heart stopping five feet long and if you ran across himunexpectantly he was a heart attack in the making.Clyde kept the pack rat population down and we grew fond of him, we just tried to stay out of his way.
One day Clyde decided on a ‘walk about’ maybe we should call it a ‘glide about’ and left the back yard and headed for the front of the house.Out of curiosity, we followed along to see what he was up to.He slithered right down in apack rat nest under a prickly pear cactus.As we stood there watching, a pack rat sprung up out of the hole like a jack in the box and started running toward us.He stopped and jumped about two feet in the air when he saw us and turned around heading back toward the nest, he thought better of it and turned around and ran toward us again.I guess we were the lesser of two evils.We gave up waiting for Clyde, let’s face it we really didn’t want to see him catch a pack rat, we liked the idea of him keeping the pack rat population down but we didn’t want be a witness to it.Pack rats are kind of cute, if they weren’t so darn destructive.
One of my most memorable snake encounters happened after we had been away on a spring trip.When we returned home the yard was full of mesquite beans.I was raking under the hedge pulling out the beans when the rake felt kind of heavy, I tugged bit harder and pulleda coiled rattlesnake up right to my feet. The snake must have beenchilly or in a deep snooze because he never rattled or even raised his head.He looked like a large cow pie. I almost had a heart attack.
The last rattlesnake encounterwas this spring, out in the front of the house by the driveway.I saw him on my way to get the mail but he was heading up the hill away from the house so I waved good-bye and figured it was settled.The next day at lunch we were sitting by the window and low and behold here comes that damn snake cruising across the grass, he moved right in under the salvia bush and curled up. If he hadn’t decided to take a stroll across the yard during the lunch hour, we’d never known he was there.
We do rock, paper, scissors to see who has to watch the snake and who gets to call Rural Metro.
Then there is the tale of Zoe and the Serpent. We are not fond of rattlesnakes in the yard.That was a terrible experience for all three of us.