Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Watch Your Step

My friend Linda suggested I be more discriminating when I put out the welcome mat.  I'm thinking of pulling it in completely.  Blithely walking out the door to change the sprinkler in the herb garden in the late afternoon, I nearly stepped on this visitor's tail.  I hadn't heard him/her knock, so was unaware I had company.  Fortunately, Bessie Anne had opted to stay in the house so I didn't have to worry about her inquisitive nose.
Markings don't mean a thing, especially when surprised as I was.  As if turned to stone, I didn't move while I assessed the situation.  No rattles on the tail:  check.  No diamond-shaped head:  check.  Breathe a sigh of relief:  check.  This gopher snake (I looked it up) was one of the good guys.  Not counting the S-curves on this dude/dudette, I measured the length at just over five feet.  Snake was as still as I while I took photos, then slipped off the porch and was immediately camouflaged in the dry leaves.

The only rattlesnake I've ever seen here was almost in the same place, right in the corner of the porch.  Steve, our then-dog Dogie, and I were coming home, Dogie and I in the lead.  I'd never heard a rattlesnake playing the maracas before, but that sound was unmistakeable.  Snake was coiled in the corner and giving fair warning.  I got the dog in the house, yelled a warning to Steve, and went in to get a gun.  Steve had other ideas.  He grabbed a rake, pinned Snake down and told me to take the hoe and chop off Snake's head.  I would rather have dispatched Snake from a distance, but followed orders.  Eeeuw.  That snake was less than two feet long in reality, but seemed a lot bigger at the time.

I had to take the trash down to the big road this morning.  Common sense told me that no self-respecting snake would be on that cold cement at dawn, but I definitely looked before taking that first step out the door.  And I'll be doing that for some time.


Emmy Abrahams said...

He may be a friend, but still beware..all snakes can bite

Some poisonous and some friendly.

Kathryn said...

Oh yikes - I would NOT like surprise company like that. He must have heard about your reputation for being the local hospitable and friendly B & B for traveling animals.