Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Snake in the Grass

Rattlesnakes call this place home.  The warning for all people who move to this area is to never put your hands in places where something might be hiding.  I remember and heed this warning most of the time -- but after many months of seeing no snakes I lapse into complacency.  Until, that is, I'm tearing up thick mats of daffodil stalks in the front garden and can't be bothered to think of anything except that the sun is warm and it's wonderful to be outside.  And then I pull up a mass of dead growth and underneath is coiled an exquisite Celtic brooch of a baby rattler.  It looked up at me, utterly silent, while I stared down at it thinking how close I'd been to grabbing it in my hand.  Then I hollered, "Snake! Snake!" until Bruce came out.  The day was cool enough that the snake was torpid, so gently grasping him with the snake tongs and depositing him in a lard bucket was quick work.

It was such a small snake.  Very quiet and docile, hoping to be left alone.  Sweet though it was, such a venomous creature could not live its small life in my garden.  It was moving day.

We placed a pot on top of the bucket in case the snake decided to go places and then put the whole thing in the back of the car.

Murphy wanted to come along for the ride.  Once he was sitting in the back seat, though, I think he had second thoughts.  I think that he could smell our little reptile friend behind him.

Is this not the face of a worried dog?  He was resolute, though, and never flinched from guarding us from the menace in the back of the car.

We drove the quarter of a mile to the end of our road and stopped at the rock wall there.  The gate is the entrance to a cattle ranch -- no houses or people.  A perfect place for a young snake to start a new life.

 Bruce tipped the bucket...

...and the snake stretched out motionlessly on the lichen covered rock.  The three of us watched each other for a few minutes (Murphy made himself scarce).

I'll say it again -- such a pretty little snake.  He never moved and seemed perfectly content to stretch his small self along the rock.  He blended in beautifully.

So we left him to begin his new life as a rock wall snake.

I do love a happy ending.


  1. My happy ending would have been to release the snake, too, but not 1/4 mile away - more like 10 miles! Sure do hope the rest of his siblings headed out a different direction from their birthplace. And that "he" is not a she. We have rattlers here but have not found one on our acreage though several neighbors have.

    What a wonderfully well mannered passenger your dear Murphy is! Sweetest face ever!!

  2. A fourth of a mile seemed far enough away, although I suppose that a determined snake could find it's way "home" in short order. It did occur to me after finding our hatchling that he or she probably has a number of brothers and sisters. I'm going to be very careful where I stick my hands for awhile (until I forget)...

    Yup, yeller dawgs are pretty awesome (somehow, I know you'll agree). :)