Tuesday, June 23, 2015


A surprise visitor on my compost pile - 2004

There are few things that really put a fright into me. 

Actually, there are MANY things that put a fright into me (come to think of it).  But most things I can anticipate and avoid.

However, there is one notable exception that on occasion I have not been able to avoid.  And that exception as you may have guessed is a snake.

Now I'm not one of those people who as soon as they see a snake will get out some blunt instrument and kill it.  That is not me.  In fact I hate to kill any living creature or insect.  Some notable exceptions are flies, mosquitoes and Japanese beetles.  Most other insects I cup up and put outside but I digress. Back to our subject of SNAKES.

See that photo of that "sweetheart" at the top of this blog.  Yep, I took that photo in the spring of 2004 at our former residence in Pennsylvania. 

One fine spring day in 2004 I approached my grass compost pile and lo and behold, there on the top of the pile reposed a snake, sunning itself.  Oh yes, a SNAKE.

Now I don't know what kind of snake it was.  I'm sure somebody reading this blog will tell me, but I suspect it was a harmless king snake.  Harmless to me anyway because they are not poisonous. But hey, they can still bit though can't they?  And that is one thing I have never experienced, nor do I want to experience, is a snake bite.  I can just imagine a snake with its fangs embedded in my arm and me, long body dangling from my outstretched arm as I run, screaming like a little girl for help.  

This was the third time I encountered one of our slithering friends by chance.

The first time was back in 1976 when Bill and I first bought out wooded acreage in Pennsylvania where we built our future house.  Bill pulled up his car in an open field area of our 6.875 acres.  As I lifted my leg to step out of the car, and as my right foot was descending earthbound, I saw a snake just like the one pictured in this blog.  As gravity was irrevocably pulling my doomed foot to the ground ON TOP OF THAT SNAKE, I let out a scream you wouldn't believe.  Hey, I didn't even know I COULD scream.  But scream I did.

Well, I must have scared the daylights out of that snake because it took off like a bat out of hell scared assed snake in the grass and my foot landed safely, snake bit free on the ground.  My heart was racing like Republican politician at a Hillary Clinton fund raiser. I think that snake was more afraid of me than I was of it.

The second time I had a scary encounter with a legless lizard was when I was on a volunteer roadside litter pickup crew.  There I was on that chilly spring morning, picking up trash at the Coatesville interchange when I pick up a hubcap and what did I spy right beneath the hubcap?

Black snake
Oh yes I did.  He (or she) looked at me and I looked back.  Then, very slowly I replaced the hubcap on top of him (or her), just the way I found it.  Thank goodness I didn't scream like a little girl this time.  But my heart was racing like a (well, let's see) former House Speaker Dennis Hastert at a Gay Pride Day March. 

These days few things surprise me.  But I venture to say I probably have a few more surprise encounters with a snake.  Just last week, while I was out in the back yard meandering about, a big black snake slithered down the cement steps to our basement.  This time I wasn't frightened at all.  In fact, I was glad this big black snake was hanging around our house.  I did notice that this past year I didn't have a problem with field mice trying to get into the house.

Snakes are our friends.  I just don't want to step on one.


Bob said...

Carlos just might disagree with the snakes are our friends line. We had one on the front porch about a month ago and it took me an hour to get Carlos off the ceiling.

Jon said...

I've had more encounters with human snakes than reptile ones. There were lots of rattlesnakes in Texas - especially when I lived in San Angelo. Once, in the middle of the night, I discovered a snake in my kitchen (in TX). I eventually managed to get him (her?) outside. It wasn't an aggressive snake. I doubt if it was poisonous.

Snakes don't scare me very much. What REALLY terrifies me are spiders and scorpions.
And, of course, Hillary Clinton.
(I ruined your day with that one, didn't I?) ......*smile*........

nitewrit said...


Looks like it might be a Garter Snake. I ran into a snake just this past week on my walk. Like most snakes it scudded away pretty quick from my path. I run into them off and on. Leave them along and they'll leave you alone. I was bit by a snake once. Wasn't all that bad. Got my hand. I was rescuing it from my basement back in malvern and it coiled around and nipped me. It just didn't understand I was helping it, but no big deal. I set him loose in the woods and put some disinfectant on my wound and that was it.


Ron said...

Funny! A lot of people are really freaked out my snakes. I think what really scared me what that that snake I encountered could move a lost faster than me if it decided to take a bite out of me. However, the one I found under the hubcap I think was warming up so it couldn't move much at all and the other snakes were more afraid of me than I of them. Still, I'm very careful around snakes. Especially the human ones (smile).

Ron said...

One time I woke up in my bed after a particularly late night at the bar. Next to me in my bed was one of those human snakes. I got rid of him quick and made a vow to myself never to get too needy (or drunk) at Last Call again. And oh, I put the "Hillary" note in special for you Jon. You just KNOW she's going to be elected. (smile).

Ron said...

You're right Larry, it is a garter snake. To me, when I see a snake with that kind of intricate design on its body I think it has to be a Serious Snake. I'm glad you're not one of those people who kill snakes whenever you encounter one. I don't either. In fact I feel sad whenever I see a snake roadkill. But then I feel sad whenever I see any kind of roadkill.

Unknown said...

Yes. Snakes are our friends. I should blog about my snake encounters. I asked for black snakes to be brought into my office to get rid of the f!cking mice.

Peace <3

Ron said...

Last year we had a few mice trying to get into our house through the garage. I had to put the mouse trap out which I hate. This year I didn't have to do it. Now I know why after seeing that big black snake slither down the outside cellar stairs. Thank you black snake!

pat888 said...

Ron - the only positive experiential association I have with the notion of snakes is Snakes and Ladders. I once held a little garter snake while helping at my uncle and aunts farm. They are a positive piece of nature - but somehow we seem to find it hard to find them endearing. Glad they do what they do as you say. But I don't mind if we never cross each others' paths. Boy - that was something of Larry trying to free his basement snake. And Jay - you'll never get that recommendation passed.


Ron said...

One thing I vividly remember from my youth was my parents' warning us (me and my brothers) about water moccasin snakes when we took a hot summertime day dip at the local water hole. I remember that the procedure that was to be followed if you were bit was a knife cut crossways and someone to suck the blood out of where snakebite on your body. The thought of that possibility has never left me from the fear of getting a snake bite.

Ur-spo said...

I am not fearful of snakes but the ones around my place rattle and indeed make me jump out of my shoes.