The Natural Zoo – Part III

NOTE: if you don’t like snakes, you probably don’t want to read to the end of this post!

Blue-tailed lizard

Blue-tailed skink

June 19 – The other day when I was zooming along the pasture paths on the riding mower, a bunny leaped from the tall grass just in front of me, shot across the path, and on into the woods. Must have been scared, really scared, judging by the way he hardly took time to touch the path on the way past. That same day, as I was mowing another section of the trail, I was trimming around an ancient pear tree when out popped a little deer mouse from the big hole in the trunk, jumping down to the ground and disappearing in the clover and Queen Anne’s lace. Back by the barn that same day, I spied a beautiful blue tailed skink. Talk about Royal Blue!

Deer mice in the bird house

Deer mice in the bird house

As I was finishing the mowing near the blackberry patch, I saw just ahead of me a big black snake, slithering towards the garden gate. Fortunately, I could see Dale just past the gate working with the tiller. Knowing how much he enjoys encounters with those snakes, I jumped off the mower and yelled, “Hurry! Snake! Come on!” Unfortunately, he didn’t hear me, but when he looked up from the machine, I motioned for him to come. Waving my arms, and then pointing to the area where the snake had stopped for a bit, I finally got him to move! Racing around to the other gate, he soon saw the big black snake and quickly picked it up. Quite a pretty snake, actually, with some reddish color on its sides.

Dale and the snake

Dale and the snake

Up to the house for the camera. As usual, the snake wound itself around Dale’s arm, while he held it behind its head. Same thing when Dale took a picture of me holding that reptile. Taking it from my hands, he sat down on the steps and told me to get ready to take the pic. “OK, I’m ready,” I announced. As I focused, I almost dropped my camera! Dale was not holding the snake; instead he was grasping it with his teeth, right in the middle. with the head and tail hanging down on either side of his mouth! “Yuck! What in the world! What are you doing?” I shouted. Dale shrugged his shoulders and motioned for me to take another photo! When the photo shoot was over, he nonchalantly said, “OK, I’m going to take it back to the barn now, so it can take care of the mice.”

I still have a hard time explaining that story! I am not afraid of snakes, I don’t mind holding them, but I plan to use my hands to do that, not my teeth! As you already know, Dale is not afraid of snakes, not one bit, but rather enjoys them. How well I remember when he and our son David took a trip out west a number of years ago. Along the way they found a rattlesnake. After Dale pinned its head down with a stick, he held it down with his hands, while David cut off the rattles with a knife. Such a nice keepsake to remind them of their trip together! – CHRIS

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