Monday, April 29, 2013

Snake Days of Spring

The P90s had dinner with some friends on Saturday. And while, playing in the backyard, the kids came across this little guy (or girl) hanging out in the basement window well. Apparently, they were looking for frogs/toads and found this garter snake instead. S/he's the fattest garter snake I have ever seen. Wondering if maybe that explains the absence of the toads...

Either way, it seems that my four year-old daughter and I were the only people present who like snakes. So I slowly removed him from the window well and we spent a few minutes just observing him/her. My daughter asked if she could touch/hold him, and I explained that it's generally not a good idea to handle wild snakes. We then let him go in the nearby woods.

Why is it not a good idea to handle wild snakes? Sure, the only venomous snake we're likely to find in HoCo is the copperhead. But that ignores the possibility of an idiot/crazy neighbor who might own non-native snakes and let them go (see South Florida) on purpose or accident.

But even the non-venomous snakes can bite. When I was a kid, I briefly had a pet garter snake (feel free to question the judgement of my parents). His name was squeaky and we fed him night crawlers. As a six year-old, it was really cool to A. have a pet snake, and B. watch him eat worms.

Over the weeks, I came to the realization that he was my best friend and that I should pet him. So one Saturday morning, I reached into the cage, and proceeded to pick him up. At this point, he decided to bite onto my arm and not let go. Doing the only logical thing in a situation like this, I raised my arm, and swung the snake over my head until he let go. Squeaky flew across the room and landed in the corner. My older brother then levitated onto the couch and began to scream like a small child. And since my father was terrified of snakes, my mother was left to put on her yellow dish-washing gloves and go about finding squeaky and returning him to his cage.

Needless to say, we soon returned Squeaky to his rightful place in the wild. And I got a hamster named Squeaky 2, who I'm pretty sure bit me on more than one occasion. But that's a story for another day.

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