I saw a little snake – wait. Let me rephrase that. I saw the tail-end of a little snake whipping back under the fence, from whence he was thinking about entering our yard but then took a quick look around and there I was and then he was all, “AAAAAAAAAAAAH! HUMAN! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! SHE’S GONNA KILL MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!” when he saw me looming over him with that nasty looking shovel-thing.
(For the record, the shovel was for digging potatoes, not whacking at snakes. Because I haven’t even seen a snake around these here parts in, oh, what, at least three years? So, I hardly walk around with Snake Killing Equipment on my person at all times in the first place, and also tend to view having a persistently-there snake on my property more as a sign that I have a bigger problem [like, say, cockroaches if the snake is little or mice/rats if it’s fair-sized] rather than as an ‘I have a mortal enemy that I must kill immediately’ throw-down.)
And then he zipped back under that fence faster than you can say, “AAAAAAAAAH! SNAKE!!!!”
He was there just long enough for me to catch Weird Movement out of the corner of my eye, register that a snake was looking at me, make that jumpy-startled movement humans tend to make when snakes appear out of nowhere, which then caused me to take a very unfortunate misstep that led to cracking my knee rather hard on the edge of the raised box I was (rather awkwardly) standing on while digging out the red potatoes.
YA KNOW, I hate stuff like that. Before I had even gotten my hand to my knee to rub at it, I’d already gotten over the scare – this was a really little guy, and the markings were all wrong for a rattlesnake. And I’m not particularly afraid of snakes (although you’re not going to catch me trying to pick them up with my bare hands – or, um, at all, actually – so, I’m not exactly buddy-buddy with them, either).
BUT WHENEVER SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS, I jump like Satan Hisself just popped! out of a dark closet yelling, “TAX FILING!!!” And I make some ill-advised jump or even dash a few steps away (straight through anything that might be between me and my randomly-determined trajectory), my heart is revving like a race car and I’m sweaty all over and then I’m all, like, “Oh. Well. That’s just a little gopher snake for heaven’s sake…!”
…it would be nice if I could do that last part first, and not even go through the whole stress-monkey jumpy bit at all…
Anyway, I promptly forgot all about him until one thing led to another and I was all, oh yeah, I meant to double check because I’m PRETTY sure that was a gopher snake, but, I always think EVERY snake that isn’t a rattler is a gopher, buuuuuut, didn’t he have STRIPES not DIAMONDS, wait! so, maybe a whip? or a racer? hmmmmm…
And that’s why I was sitting here flipping through pictures of snakes trying to identify which snake the 1/4” of fast-moving tail I actually saw might have belonged to (Futility: I refuse to acknowledge it.)when Boo Bug wandered in.
And this is where I marvel at my children and their ability to never figure out that asking things like, “What are those holes on the side of its head?” of either of their parents is a very bad idea…unless they want a forty-minute lecture on pit vipers v. coral snakes with occasional digressions into exotic snakes that don’t live around here, sea-going snakes, what snakes eat and what eats snakes.
Oh well. I think we both learned a lot about snakes tonight.
But I still don’t have a positive ID on my little visitor; probably a garter snake, possibly a striped racer…oh well. I doubt he’ll be back. Because here, there be giants – and the giants have shovels…