Snake It Off

Since my close encounter with a cottonmouth snake (below) I’ve been hyper aware of anything serpent related.

News stories about invasive snake species in south Florida interest me:

https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/environment/2019/04/13/florida-invasive-animal-species-wrecking-native-ecosystems-non-native/3456294002/

And I look for opportunities to learn more about snakes just in case there’s a next time.

This past weekend the Tallahassee Museum held an informative session for folks like me. Well, mainly for folks 12 and younger, but I didn’t let that stop me.

I listened earnestly and watched carefully. The most important thing I learned was to let snakes be. Leave them alone. Give them space. Don’t crowd them. If it’s a snake like my cottonmouth (aka water moccasin), don’t get between it and a body of water. Even if you’re positive the snake isn’t venomous, don’t pick it up. Non-venomous snakes can have nasty bites that might takes months to heal.

If you’re bitten by a snake, stay calm. Try to snap a photo of it for identification purposes and then get to an emergency room. Don’t apply a tourniquet! That just exacerbates the injury.

Most of this wasn’t new information to me, but it never hurts to have a reminder. And, oh, the snakes were cool.

Look at these Banded Water Snakes

Note that the one on the right is digesting a big meal.

That’s an Eastern Indigo Snake above. These guys are endangered and non-venomous. I’m fairly certain that this is the type of snake we have living in our front garden area. Sure glad I saved him from the guys repairing our driveway!

Watch this guy, an Eastern Diamondback, who seemed as interested in us as we were in him.

This pretty guy below is a Gray Rat Snake. These are non-venomous and fairly common. They blend in perfectly with the bark of oak trees, so there’s no telling how many I pass right by every day.

So, I’m still no snake expert, but I did know the answer to one of the instructor’s questions when none of the other kids, I mean, participants did. She said that some snakes move in a concertina style and asked if anyone knew what a concertina was.

I played it cool,

But soon it was obvious no one else knew the answer, so it fell to me.

I didn’t get a gold star or anything, but that’s okay. Just knowing I was right was reward enough.

Peace, people!

Now This Storm

All the night things were fooled by the glowering skies. In the hushed anticipation,

Frogs began their nightly chorus as crickets laid down a steady beat, echoing into

this false dusk, punctuated suddenly by stabs of frantic lightning, bombarded by the

rolling of a timpani, mallets on skin, presaging the arrival of a downpour, the

outpouring, the deluge. We hunker down, my cats and I, after a sharp crackle and

concussive reverberation. Too close for comfort. The lake creatures have gone mute,

given up on their futile choruses, now that the storm has come.

We had a lightning strike a couple of minutes ago that might have topped anything I’ve ever experienced. It was close, the thunder immediate, and my heart is racing. Wish I’d still had the camera going, but the audio would have needed censoring.

See that bare spot on my lawn? That’s still fallout from last year’s Hurricane Michael. And we’ve got a potential hurricane heading this way as I write this. I’m not ready for another storm season.

Peace, people.

Snapshot #245

I’m calling this one, Fox, no Henhouse.

This little lady padded across my backyard yesterday morning. I tried to get a better shot, but this is it folks. My cats weren’t impressed, but they did watch her closely to make sure she didn’t try to steal anything belonging to them. I do love living in a forest.

Peace, people!

Storm Approaches; Storm Recedes, and a Turtle Trudges On

The leading edge would

Have us jumping at each flash

Of tensile lightning

Flinching at thunder

Cowering ‘neath the covers

Yearning for a pause

Rumbles grow distant

Downpour tapers to sprinkles

This storm fades away

(Found all the photos on Pinterest)

I’m always fascinated by the flow and rhythm of a storm–The light and sound parade that precedes the rainfall, the tapering off of rain followed by an encore of the opening chorus. I get chills when I get to be a witness to the greatest concert on earth.

During an intermission of the storm I’m watching a small turtle make its way across my yard.

Looks like he/she has an appointment.

Peace, people

Lessons Learned from a Snake

I do not hate snakes. That being said, I’d just as soon not encounter a venomous one in close proximity to my home, as I did one day last week.

The night following the encounter that cottonmouth occupied my dreams every time I closed my eyes to sleep. In my waking hours I mentally retraced the steps I took prior to noticing his presence next to the garage and realized I’d likely come within inches of stepping on him. It was a sobering thought.

I’ve changed some of my habits after my snake experience, and I thought the lessons learned might be worth sharing. If nothing else, they’ll help me solidify what I gained from the experience.

  1. Don’t walk and read simultaneously. The mail can wait to be sorted once you’re in the house. What a sad tale it might’ve been if I’d stepped on a viper while perusing a Talbots mailer.
  2. Not all bad guys give a warning. If my snake friend had been a rattlesnake, chances are I’d have been warned off from the start. This guy lay silently, coiled and waiting for some clueless broad walking and reading a Talbots catalog to blunder into its sharp fangs.
  3. Scan your surroundings. There’s a mnemonic acronym motorcyclists use to help avoid accidents–SIPDE. That stands for Scan (keep your eyes moving), Identify (note possible hazards), Predict (make an educated guess as to what the hazard might do), Decide (plan a course of action), and Execute (make it happen).
  4. Please note that we Executed the snake. That’ll teach him.
  5. Don’t trust your eyes, but scan anyway. He was camouflaged fairly well in his driveway matching color coordinated way. Look twice, then look again.
  6. Always carry a bazooka. (Note to self: buy a bazooka.)
  7. Don’t assume a snake is asleep just because it doesn’t respond to outside stimuli. It’s probably playing possum in hopes that you’ll be lulled into complacency. Or that you’re admiring a skirt in a fashion catalog.

I’m sure there are other lessons to be gained from my interaction with the snake, but thinking about it too much gives me the heebie jeebies.

Peace, people.

(I found the photo directly above on twitter in order to show off the cottonmouth’s cotton mouth.)

Snapshot #241

For some reason today’s post magically disappeared from my WordPress site. Thank goodness two of my blogging friends had already liked it, so I could copy from my notifications.

Be sure to click on the link for the story–I kind of had nightmares last night.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/06/14/snapshot-241/

Snapshot #241

This guy was poised next to my side of the garage when I came home to Doright Manor from having lunch with a friend on Thursday.

I’d walked past him probably four or five times as I carried groceries into the house. As I hefted the last of the groceries, a 30 lb. container of cat litter, out of the trunk I happened to see him, after which I dropped the litter on my foot while screaming something unintelligible and most likely profane.

I think we’ll call this one, “Holy Effing Sh*t! It’s a Water Moccasin!”

Studly Doright came home and took care of the problem. I could have, but why take the chance of wounding his ego? Right? 😳😳😳

Tragedy in the Forest

Our elder cat, Scout, and I were lounging on the back porch yesterday afternoon having a heart to heart talk about the birds and the bees. Scout has been spayed, so it wasn’t THAT kind of talk. Instead, we were captivated by the appearance of what I believe to be a barred owl that makes a showing at Doright Manor every evening around 5 p.m.

It looks a great deal like the owl found on the Audubon Society’s page:

I told Scout that she wasn’t to try to make friends with the owl, as such an attempt wouldn’t end well for her. She assured me that she wouldn’t leave the safety of our screened-in porch, but she hesitated to vouch for her younger “sister,” Patches, saying something along the lines of, “The idiot will most likely be shoved, I mean, might accidentally run right out the door and into the grasping claws of that owl.”

There’s no love lost between my felines.

Within seconds of our conversation we heard a ruckus coming from the lake.

To me it sounded as if a predator had absconded with one of the offspring of our pair of nesting egrets. Ours aren’t as large as those pictured below, and would make a tasty snack for an alligator or even a turtle, but from the sound of the commotion something swooped down from the sky and alarmed our great egrets.

Scout turned to me and in all seriousness said, “Gee, I hope that was, I mean, wasn’t Patches.”

Such concern.

Peace, people!