Posts tagged snakes

She Sliters Away

It had been a fine summer for Sylvia. No floods, plenty of insects, the birth of a new group of live young. But now, it was time for Sylvia to find a place to spend the cold, Appalachian winter.

She slithered quietly through an overgrown garden, eating a few snacks on the way. Her tongue waved as she became aware of the scent of water and rotting wood. Perfect! A fallen maple presented itself not far from a tiny mountain stream.

Sylvia continued on up the low hill from the garden and explored the space underneath the log. It had fallen several years before and had created small spaces in the damp soil which she could work on in order to make her winter home.

She took one last breath of cooling fall air before she began carving her winter home in what appeared to have been home to a worm at one time. Gently, she curled up inside the hole, her fertilized eggs ready to grow inside her as she settled down for a long winter’s nap.

Sylvia had seen other snakes like her-garter snakes with a print of different colors of brown and she knew she was both beautiful and harmless. Smart human neighbors left her alone to eat the insects that consumed their gardens or simply admired her grace, perhaps hoping to see one of her babies as it slithered away from her as it hatched, alive and ready into a new world.

Her life had not always been easy. Once, a human ran over her mother with a lawnmower and a human mom who happened to study amphibians happened upon her. Her mother had died, but the kind lady saved two babies who were only slightly injured and let them go in he garden when they had healed in about a week. Thus, she and her brother had survived.

Sylvia often spent warm spring mornings in the lady’s garden and the lady would come by and speak to her, never touching her, only whispering greetings. How Sylvia wished that she could say, “Thank you.”, but, alas, it was no to be.

One day next summer, Sylvia would find a quiet place and give birth to her young. She would not give them any maternal care, only wish them a good life and watch them crawl away. Such is the life of a garter snake. The lady who saved her would always remember her, always hope she saw Sylvia in her garden. Their lives were separate, but forever bound.

Hopefully, one day, the lady’s children would tell stories about the baby snakes and teach others to appreciate them and share their yards and woodlands with them. Such is the way with nature. We share the same world, but in separate realities. I wish you well, Sylvia, and hope I see you or your young next year!


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Another Snake tale (tail?)


After my adventure with a Copperhead a few weeks ago, this entry is rather benign, but nevertheless, noteworthy. Last night as my husband got the lawnmower out of the garage, he begins shouting, “Come here! Hurry!” Having gone through as many tragedies and accidents as I have, my alarm goes off needlessly.  “Is he hurt? Whats the emergency?”

I shout that I am coming, (as fast as a woman who doesn’t feel well and has a fake hip-joint can) to find that a tiny Ribbon Snake” had crawled out from under the mower. It was about the size of a 4″ long piece of yarn, black with a yellow band on its neck. I appreciate it when he shares creatures he sees with me, because I love to study nature and it is not a hobby of his.

Trying to pick up the tiny, yet quick, creature up from the concrete was a problem, but I managed to get it to crawl up on my hand and into a plastic container. I showed the snake to several grandkids and neighbors, but after looking up the care and feeding of Ribbon Snakes,  I decided I did not want to be  a “snake mom”. Of course, I  already knew it would be best if I let the snake go.

After the snake spent a peaceful night on the enclosed porch, I left it there while taking  my son to the bus stop. Feeling confident that my guest would stay in the container until I got home, I visited my oldest son, whose house is by the bus, stop before returning home. While I was gone, my little guest had found its’ way out of the milk carton. It now lives on my enclosed porch; not a good thing because there is no water and its food of choice, earthworms, do not live there.

This is not the first time I have had a little snake as a guest on my porch after it decided the container was a bit restrictive. Unfortunately, I If I can’t find it, chances are it won’t survive. This is the story of my nature adventures, I suppose. Nothing ever turns out like I expect it to. Hopefully, my little snake will come out or be found and I can let it go, as I intended to do before it got impatient! Updates will follow.

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