Sunday, April 15, 2012

snake charming

Today I planned to do, and did, some work out in the yard, the grooming stuff like cutting off the water sprouts on the crepe myrtles, digging up pecan tree sprouts, pruning off the spent rose branches and in general tidying up around the yard. The place I started at is a small bed by the driveway that has a rose bush, an althea, a ginkgo tree, and a lantana. I had tossed some larkspur seeds in there last fall too.

I had pruned back the althea some on the other side and I noticed some grass had made it's way in under the low branches and the lantana and the leaf mold and I started to reach in and...stopped.

Hmmmm. Maybe I'll poke around in the there with the long handled nippers first.

So I poked around in there three, four, five times and a big snake head popped up and started moving towards the rose bush. I could tell right away it was a big rat snake which are harmless unless you happen to be a small rodent, which I'm not, and I jumped up and ran in to get my camera. By the time I got back it had made it's way up into the rose bush and was on the trunk of the tree. And then I took pictures as it climbed the tree.

This is my third encounter with a snake this spring, well, in the last month. Tomorrow it will be 4 weeks since my snake bite. (And, in case you are wondering, it is still slightly swollen and is still a little discolored.)

The first, of course, was my copperhead bite. The second was about a week ago. Next to the outside wall of the garage, we have small stacks of bricks and other such stuff. It's also where the outside faucet is so we are in and around there all the time. I leaned over and picked up the watering can and a snake moved off. It looked just like the copperhead that bit me, same coloring, same size. I couldn't ever see it's pupil well enough to see if it was slitted or not (had no trouble with that with the big rat snake).

So did I leave it alone after it moved to perceived safety between some bricks? What do you think? I went and got the shovel and then proceeded to probe at it to get it out in the open where I could decide if it was a copperhead or a small rat snake. Did I have on shoes? What do you think? Anyway, the only shoe I can get on my bit foot is an old stretched out birkenstock, not much protection there.

It never did strike at the shovel but it's pattern looked right and it had a very definite triangular shaped head and the way it curled up in that S pattern was so familiar. So I chopped it's head off and apologized to it all the way back to the 13 Acre Field where I tossed it.


  1. yikes! that was a big old rat snake! pretty, though!

    i killed a copperhead last week in the barn - thought of you as i did it, too!

  2. I'm glad I have moved out of copperhead country; I'm pleased to not be able to share a recent copperhead anecdote!

    But what a spectacular rat snake. We do have them here, and they can get quite large. I haven't seen one go up a tree like that, lucky you.

  3. Those are fabulous pictures - I was composing Garden of Eden poems in my head while looking at them.

    I'm pretty sure that I would just freak the hell out if I saw a snake in our yard. Shoot - I jumped back when I saw a RABBIT. Of course it had just startled me :)

  4. ellen . . . your little piece of the world is so alive . . . steven

  5. Good for you, we don't want anymore coppperhead bites. They seem to be more touchy this year. A friend raked one out on her foot and spent five days in the hospital. The snake was hung and injected all his venom.

    This snake in the tree is a beautiful snake. I don't think we have those...incredible the beauty we can see in something That is supposed to be so scary.

  6. Thank God you killed it. I was beginning to fear for you getting bitten again. And that Rat Snake or whatever the heck it is, looks like it could hurt humans to me. Maybe it's because it was so warm this winter, they're planning to take over Texas.

  7. What magnificent photos of the rat snake. I haven't seen a snake in a couple of years - the last one was a coral snake, and that got my attention. One of the first bits of lore I was taught when I moved to Texas was "Red and yellow, kill a fellow". Girl, too, of course.

    Hadn't heard about your bite. Condolences - that's no fun.

  8. I don't think I have ever seen a pictorial of a snake climbing a tree. I have seen them do it real life, but to have a record of it is nice. He is very pretty and you're right, BIG.

    Is there anything I can send you to keep you from attracting copperheads? I will happily take of a collection to purchase something that will keep you safe from the critters. Forever. heehee

    Anxious to see everything in bloom. I like the way your garden grows naturally with a "bit" of assistance from you.

  9. That is a big, freaking snake.
    You should have no shame about killing the other one. No shame.

  10. I don't think I could live with all those snakes in my yard. I have lots of what are called, garden snakes, at our beach place.

    Here in the woods, I've only seen two snakes and they went away before I could get the shovel.

    I believe that they have the whole yard and if I see them, well, their mistake.

  11. i walked upone this snake's twin, this weekend while going to check on our flower bed. "The Boss" wanted me to chop its head off with the hoe, but I refused. Maybe it went to the barn and caught a rat..:)

  12. Never a dull moment here, that's for sure!

  13. Ohh my God! I have only seen snakes that big in zoos and I hope never to see one that big again even in those place or your pictures! would there inhabit the woods where I live? Good God, now I am afraid to go outside. I am terrified of them things.

  14. I have a real hard time just looking at snakes.. even if I know they're harmless. Your encounters would send me running for a new place to live.


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