Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Backroads Surveillance System

Did you ever have a feeling someone was watching you? Just a hunch? No reason for it, really, just an inkling that made you turn your head and assess the situation? Yeah. Me too. Today, in fact. The Pony and I were returning home from town. We were a mere quarter-mile from our house, going up the lumpy bumpy gravel hill by our nearest toward-town neighbor. A hill so bone-jarring that I have a habit of driving on the wrong side of the road.

We often see squirrels darting around here. One time, we saw a deer looking back at us from the treeline. And today, as I eased my Tahoe (with its hillbilly hood ornament made of a cat hairball still intact) up and over an exposed boulder in the middle of the road, I had the urge to turn my head. To see what nature might provide for my entertainment. I was not disappointed.

Looking back at me, a scant two feet away, with only a thin pane of tinted auto safety glass between us, was this fellow:

We gazed at each other. I resisted the urge to squeal like the slugs in Flushed Away. I don't have a snake phobia. He simply startled me. I am, however, happy that our road is so dusty. Because I always keep my windows up. That said, I immediately put The Pony's window down. And passed him my phone. "Look at that snake! Get a picture of it for me, while I watch for traffic." I was, you know, on the wrong side of the road.

The Pony eagerly took the phone-camera. He enjoys wildlife. But he usually has his nose in his laptop unless I tip him off like a safari tour guide. "Okay. Where is it?"

"Right there! In the tree."

"I'm looking. But I don't see it."

"THERE! In front of you!"


"How can you not see that? Right by my window. I could reach out an touch him."

"Oh! There!"

I pulled the car forward a bit.


"I'm not driving. I'm getting your window even with him for the picture. And anyway, you didn't even see him. If he was...a...snake...he would have bit you!"

"He IS a snake!"

"Yeah. I thought of that in the middle of my saying. Get me a couple of pictures. Wow! Look how long he is! Make sure you get his whole length. I bet he's four feet."

The Pony took my photos while shiny, muscle-rippling Mr. Snake posed. He turned his head a bit to follow my gaze when I drove forward.

The Pony took one of the magnificent specimen stretched out on his limb.

And a final one as we bid a fond farewell to our herpetological friend. Unfortunately, The Pony cut off Mr. Snake's head. Photographically. Not physically. But you can see that he stretches from one side of the picture to the other, from cut-off head to tiny tail tip. Oh, yeah. He's a black snake.

I would have loved to see Mr. Snake climbing the trunk of that tree. I don't normally think to look overhead when I'm in the woods. Who knows how many times I've been watched from above. I wonder what Mr. Snake was up to today. Was he merely finding a safe place for sunning? Eating a nest full of eggs? Swallowing baby birds? He had a little lump in his belly, about halfway down.

Dang! This is the outskirts of Backroads. Not the Amazon Rain Forest. Not a primeval swamp. It's almost civilization!

Welcome to my world.


Leenie said...

I understand snakes are cold blooded. They have to hang around something hot to get warm. I'm thinking that snake just wanted to spend some time with you.

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

Sioux said...

I've had two classroom pet snakes--a boa and a corn snake. Snakes are certainly fascinating--but misunderstood--creatures.

Maybe it was a baby bump. I see all those high-falutin' Hollywood ladies flaunting THEIRS. Maybe that snake was trying to hold off making a public statement. Maybe that snake is worried that once she lays her eggs, she'll have to proclaim (in dismay) to her fans: "Look what happened to my body!?!"

You stole that snake's thunder. Don't you regret your actions?

Linda O'Connell said...

Better to find a black snake in a tree than swimming in the pool with you.

Val said...

Yes, that's me! So hot that reptiles yearn to be near me. Can't stop themselves. Are drawn to my hotness like so many thinly-sliced pieces of beef laid on a 600-degree rock for cooking.

Maybe YOUR snakes were in the family way, but not mine. Mine was just normal with a regular appetite, not anorexic with a pre-swallowed pillow pretending to be pregnant, then recovering his girlish figure incredibly swiftly after the "birth".

Today's science fact: Not all snakes hatch from eggs. Vipers, boas, and garter snakes give birth to live young. That also means rattlesnakes, which are pit vipers.

Definitely. Because in the pool, I would assume he was a cottonmouth, and die of fright, or kill him if I lived.

Chickadee said...

Back in April, I found a big ole Black Rat snake curled around a Bluebird Nest Box (I was mist netting with my fellow bird nerds) and I hollered for help. He was a big one and I wasn't sure I could handle him alone.

Wow, those snakes are STRONG. He was half in the box and when I pulled he pulled back. He wasn't going to give up on his dinner.

A fellow bird nerd and I managed to pull him out of the box and thankfully the bluebird chicks were still in the nest box, alive and not in the snake's belly.

Val said...

You ol' snake-wrestler! I'll bet you would have gone down his throat up to your shoulder to grab those chicks back! You need your own reality show: Bird Nerds.