I went out to the garage the other day to look for a tool I had thrown on the pile that has been building since we moved in. As I lifted an old blanket I saw a small snake coiled up just below my hand. As afraid of snakes as I am, I surprised myself by not jumping, starting, or even elevating my heart-rate. Looking at it, it wasn’t totally clear what kind of snake it was, but I decided to pick up a shovel and take care of it either way.
The funny thing about snakes is that when they’re balled up in a tight coil, it’s hard to get to the neck. When I stabbed it with the blade of the shovel, I missed the neck and caught it right in the middle. It didn’t like that at all! It’s reaction left me with little doubt as to what kind of snake it was. It’s tail (with two small buttons for a rattle) started vibrating furiously, and it’s head started striking repeatedly at the shovel. Looking at it after I managed to cut the head off, it was obviously a diamond back rattlesnake hatched this spring.
Without thinking about it, I chucked the dead snake over the fence into the chicken yard, and they promptly demolished the carcass, so I don’t have any pictures, but if you grew up where I did, you can use your memory and a little imagination to visualize what it must have looked like.
If you are wondering why on earth a rattlesnake would take up residence in my garage, it might help to know that we had a serious problem with mice in the garage this winter. It would seem the snake decided to come in to help us thin the herd. The day after this encounter, we started our adventures looking for a barn cat to keep the mice at bay. I don’t really like cats, but if it comes down to snakes or cats I’ll take a cat any day, but that doesn’t really say much.
The only other aspect of this tale that is somewhat worrying is Michael’s love for Uncle Mike’s corn snake. Michael loves to hold and pet Slinkey every time we go over to Uncle Mike’s, and as a result doesn’t seem to have any natural fear of snakes. We’ve had to reinforce that Uncle Mike’s pet snake is the only good snake, and that he shouldn’t mess with any he finds closer to home. I hope he understands. It’d suck to have him learn the hard way that not all snakes like people. There is more than one breed of poisonous serpent in the area, and I don’t want him to molest any of them.