After a long, hot and humid summer in the south, cooler weather makes me think about doing some yard work. On a cool but damp and cloudy day I decided to make plans to trim back some limbs on a lopsided tree that annoyed me all summer.
I was walking around it trying to decide where the best places to prune would be when I something caught my eye – at first I thought it was a vine then I realized it was a SNAKE. We were, literally, nose to nose. His head was maybe six inches from my nose. I will say at this point I probably set a new record for a backwards broad jump if there is any such thing.
To be fair, he was not a venomous snake – I’m pretty sure he was a young chicken snake, maybe two feet long. I watched him for a time and saw he was still as a statue. He wasn’t even sticking his tongue out as most snakes do to smell. I guess the chilly weather had made him sluggish. So what to do, what to do. I didn’t want to harm him, but he needed to leave. Thing is, he didn’t seem to want to leave as two hours later he was still there in the same position.
I thought to myself that maybe he was dead. I didn’t think so because I clearly saw his beady little eye close up but maybe….. I took a stick and poked at him. Nothing. I poked at him again and he lowered himself a little, as you see in his photo. I shook the tree limb. He just hung there. I whacked the limb with a stick. Finally he stuck his tongue out, I suppose he wanted so smell what was messing with him. Another hour goes by. Not only did he not leave, he wrapped himself on his limb and got all nice and comfy.
Another hour goes by and he’s still there. My son suggested I just grab him behind the head and put him somewhere safe. Um, no? I didn’t want that thing to wrap around my arm like he was wrapped around the limb he was on. I asked why he didn’t do it – he didn’t want the snake to pee on him – apparently snake pee really stinks. Then he made me feel bad by pointing out he was probably really cold and might die overnight.
Okay, it was time for that snake to move on. I took a stick and tried to pull him off the limb. He hung himself down again and pulled his head back as though he was going to strike. Time for a longer stick. I poked and prodded, but was careful not to hurt him. He was NOT a happy snake. Finally he fell to the ground. That should have been the end of it, he should have slithered on off but noooooo, that would have been too simple.
I tried to encourage him to slither away by shoving him with my stick. I only succeeded in making him angry. He coiled himself around my stick. I tried to shake him off – that didn’t work, he coiled tighter and hung on for dear life. At least he was out of the tree.
I decided the best course was to evict him from my yard. I cautiously walked across the road with Mr. Snake wrapped on my stick with his head hanging down giving me what I am sure was an evil stare. I planned to shake him off into a nice setting of leaves and brush. Apparently he didn’t like that idea – I couldn’t shake him loose from the stick. I finally just laid the stick down with him still coiled around it. I watched for a bit – five minutes later he was still hanging on to that stick. At least he’s out of my yard and hopefully doesn’t come back.
My tree limbs still aren’t pruned – just in case he had friends with him