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Survival of the fittest

I've seen too many strange things at the farm to really get surprised anymore. The tornado that cut my neighbor's barn right down the middle, leaving part of the front and back standing. Coyotes coming right down my driveway in a pack. A kitten that somehow got into our central heating system and was meowing all night long. But when I came home last night to find a 6 foot long black snake trying to climb my storm door, I have to admit I was taken aback.

When I'd gone out earlier, I'd left the screen door slightly ajar. I didn't leave the porch light on so what I saw in the gloom of the front porch at nearly 10 pm was a dark shape stretching from the porch light to the top corner of the screen door. I walked back to my car and grabbed a flashlight. When I shined it on the front door, I realized it was the tail end of a black snake, and the front end was between the storm door and the inside door. To tell you the truth, I was more mad than anything. I hate having outdoor critters in the house. So I reacted by pushing the storm door closed, hard with my foot and crushing the body of the snake between the door and the jamb. Understandably, the snake was not happy about this. The tail end coiled up and thrashed about while the head end hissed and bit at the air.

I went inside to make sure the inner door was completely shut. When I raised the inner blind, the head end was making it very plain it didn't care for me at all. I was thinking I had killed it or at least broke it's spine since the body of the snake was clearly flattened in the door jamb.

So I went back out to the front porch to open the storm door. The snake had stopped squirming at this point and I figured it was dead. I should never make assumptions about snakes. When I opened the storm door, it fell heavily on it's ass (if snakes have asses) and just lay there. When I went to nudge it with the toe of my boot, it sprang to life, wrapped briefly around my ankle and bit the end of my boot. I kicked violently and the snake slammed into the wall then quickly retreated off the porch. It was headed for the bushes when I jumped out it, it tried biting at me again then made a mad dash for bushes again. I went and got the hoe and poked about in the bushes but it was hidden and still by this time. At the very least it hopefully has a back ache. This is the same snake that has been hanging around since the spring. I felt a little bad about hurting it. It eats mice so I leave it alone when it's out in the yard, but it's place is outside, not in. We've seen flocks of birds chasing it around the yard when it got too close to their nests so the birds and I share a common sentiment I guess.

I couldn't figure out how it had climbed up a flat wall to get 6 feet in the air. Nearest I could figure it climbed up one of the porch chairs then extended itself up to the porch light and coiled around, extending again to the top corner of the door which is when I got home. It occurred to me then, it might not be trying to get into the house. Recently, barn swallows built a nest up under the overhang of the porch and the babies have hatched. The snake has probably been observing the coming and going of the parents for food and figured it might try to get up to the nest for a free meal. When I realized that, I was less bothered that I'd foiled it's snakey plans. Yes, the snake is useful for keeping mice away, but I can also trap the mice. The swallows keep the insect population at bey and I'd rather not have to use pesticides. The swallows choose to nest under the porch eaves because they think they will be protected. I've often had the adults skim by my head with their wing tips touching my skin. And it's an easy matter to wash away their nests with a hose once they have been abandoned.

Yet another fun weekend at the farm.




( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 6th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)

I'm not generally afraid of snakes, but that would be really scary!
Aug. 6th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
It was a good thing neither Deb nor my Mom was home, we'd have heard the screams in the next county.

Aug. 6th, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
That snake must have inflated itself back just like in cartoons!
Aug. 6th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
I've seen snakes get hit on the road and still live so I'd imagine he'll just have a new angle to his spine.

Aug. 6th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
At least it wasn't a poisonous snake. It's lucky it didn't get it's little hissy head chopped off.
Aug. 6th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
If it had been, I'd have just gotten the hedge clippers out and snipped away.

Aug. 7th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
You ARE having a time this year!

Out on the ranch, the swallows had no issues with me but would fly at John like little kamikazis. He knocked their nests down whenever he saw them . . . except for on my porch where I protected them.

We had a blacksnake too that ate eggs out in my chicken house. There used to be several really great ones around this neighborhood, but they vanished. I used to watch them from my kitchen window, whenever I would wash dishes sunning themselves on the roof next door.

We had that snake in the door thing at least three times when I was kid -- and there was NOTHING for the snake. Once a bullsnake, twice garder snakes. It was always Cindy that happened to.

Aug. 7th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
stuff you already know
with scary rattlesnake sound: http://www.linsdomain.com/totems/pages/snake.htm

Then from: http://wolfs_moon.tripod.com/Shadowsnake.html
Role ~Protector~
Lesson: Embracing Differences
Element: Water
Wind: West ~The Quest Within~
Medicine: Transmutation
Keywords Protective Scornful
Understanding Life`s Mysteries

Shadow Snake is a powerful adversary as she guards and protects either her clutch of eggs or her territory. If she is of the Rattlesnake clan, the intruder will at least receive the forewarning of her rattle tapping out a no trespassing call, yet if she is amongst the Boa or other silent members of the Snake family, the trespasser will be struck down without the benefit of a preliminary warning.

For one who has Snake as his/her Shadow Totem, there is a strong protective urge that may manifest as sudden and swift verbal attacks against any and all who are perceived as threatening their loved ones.

These can be verbal competitors that deal their blows with a precision and venom that can leave the offending or trespassing party dazed. The deadliness of the attacks are often all the more unexpected as these Shadow Snake souls will often be quite calm and serene on the outside, though there is the sense of coiled power brewing within.

Sometimes this ability to deal lethal blows with well timed, scathing words will boil over into everyday life or situations in which the strikes are not clearly provoked.

This can manifest as a scornful view taken of Others who may not approach or live life in the same style and manner in which Shadow Snake does. At those times when there is the desire or impulse to strike out thus unprovoked, it is the wise Snake individual that will gain detachment and question his/her own motives prior to lashing out in scorn or judgment.

When Shadow Snake is able to gain such detached perspective, their ability to understand the intricate beauty and mystery of Life transmutes the more primal instincts into the higher octave of acceptance and equality, for All have a role on the sacred Hoop of Life, and this is a Truth that lies very close to the heart of the Snake Totem soul.

Then, the Snake individual understands that there is a time and a place, a season and a reason for everything we experience in this Earthwalk, as well as the recognition that there will be times when it will be necessary to be confrontational, and circumstances when it is best to simply leave Others to their own devices. And as his/her Animal Ally sheds the old skin to reveal fresh skin beneath, so does the two-legged shed the chains of the past to stand in the present moment joyful and appreciative of all that the Great Mystery has created.

better yet: http://www.sayahda.com/cyc4.html with some of the sexual stuff
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
Re: stuff you already know
Ooooh and right before I leave on vacation. It's never just time off for me anymore. Blue pill, red pill, blue pill red pill....

Aug. 7th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
The swallows like me for the most part. After I got finished with the snake last night, I could hear them up in the tree and I told them I'd dealt with the snake and hoped the babies were all ok. As if to answer, the babies all looked over the edge of the nest and opened their beaks.

Aug. 7th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)
Oh, and if you want to let Rachael know I'll be down on the 8th, that's fine. I remember she said she'd trade a massage for help with her shaman studies.

Aug. 7th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)


I shrieked just looking at the pictures!!
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
I was seriously like, "What the fuck is that?!" when I first saw it.

Aug. 7th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
I told you when I was out there! ALWAYS lock your doors!!!

Aug. 7th, 2007 06:51 am (UTC)
Most black snaked generally don't mind being picked up and placed somewhere else. I've seen my father do it all the time. However they die hard. I don't even trust a snake carcass.

And btw, I've seen them crawl up the corner of a house just by tight force around a 90° angle. They are amazing.
Aug. 7th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
I've never seen a black snake anywhere but on the ground so it was a surprise. Hopefully it won't try it again anytime soon.

Aug. 7th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
I hope so for your sake, too, but I think they can be rather stubborn. I don't know.
Aug. 11th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
Awesome snake photos. I'm sorry you had to face that upon arriving. *goosebumps*
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )