I can’t believe I’ve let this blog go for so long since posting. Things have been hectic. I just could not stay away from the BBQ biz so John G’s BBQ Reloaded is up and running here in Green Cove. That just about ran me to death. More on that later. Many thanks to Mr & Mrs Crow, the owners of the Green Cove store, RV park and motel for providing me a nice place to set up shop. Anyway….
Today I found a couple of new pets that I thought I’d post about. I found them under the Coke machine at the Green Cove store. Coitus interruptus, as it were!
Yep, a couple of good sized water snakes engaging in one of the few things that snakes live for – breeding.
Here’s #1, the male. I caught him in the middle of this afternoon. Frisky fellow he was. He expressed his displeasure at being interrupted by flinging very aromatic snake poo everywhere including on my shoes.
As soon as I snapped this photo I removed my hand and allowed him to take up his new station and Wood Pile Sentry #2 (#1, another water snake came on duty last week.)
And here’s #2, the female. She was a bit more stubborn. About 10 PM this evening I went back to check the machine for #2 that I’d seen earlier but could not get at. There she was, pining away for her true love. Of course I had to reunite the lovers :-) It took a bit of smoke from my insect fogger to get her out. She was nice enough not to sling poo. What a doll!
Here’s a closer shot of her relaxing in my hand. Note the brilliant colors. I dug some snake skins from under the coke machine so they must have just shed.
Here’s a better view of her belly showing the pretty markings.
A nice portrait. Maybe they’ll use this in their wedding book :-) Note the round pupils in the eyes and the slim head – two distinguishing features of non-poisonous snakes in North America.
She’s getting ready to assume her new post as Wood Pile Guardian #3. Wood thieves take note!
Bob expressing his, um, apprehension with my new pets. He stuck his nose up to a small water snake that I caught a few weeks ago and got a nipped nose for the effort. He’s a bit more cautious now!
When I first saw the stubby tail sticking out from under the Coke machine I thought I might have a copperhead snake on my hands. A stubby tail is one of the markers for a poisonous snake. Turns out she’d lost part of her tail. Old injury, as it’s healed over nicely.
In this photo I have both ends of her visible. This shows key markers for non-poisonous snakes. Round pupils, slender head and double row scales aft of the vent (butt). Poisonous snakes have slit pupils like a cat, have very fat heads to accommodate the venom glands and have single row scales all the way to the tail.
I generally don’t kill even poisonous snakes, the one exception being the copperhead. Unlike most other snakes, poisonous or otherwise, copperheads are just as likely to stand their ground as to retreat when a person approaches. While copperhead bites are seldom fatal, a bite does make for a few unpleasant days. Therefore they gotta go.
Water snakes have a reputation for being aggressive but I didn’t see it in these two. I have a special method of catching non-poisonous snakes. I plop my foot down lightly somewhere on its body. It reaches around and bites at my pant leg, getting a tooth or two caught in the fabric. I simply reach down and grab the beast behind the head and pick it up.
Once in my hands, both critters calmed down nicely. I carried them to my cabin in a plastic sack. Neither made any attempt to bite when I reached in to get them out. And when I let ’em go, both just laid there looking at me for some time before crawling into the wood pile to take up guard duty!
Needless to say, both my wood theft problems and the mice population around my cabin should be greatly diminished.