Monday, March 20, 2006

A Change in the air

He startled me as much as I startled him. Opening the back door, I flip on the back porch light and see this brown wiggly thing trying to find shelter from the light. Not that the light is bright but he probably sensed something going on.

The dogs barely took notice of the brown snake, being more interested in if I had anything to give them. I stepped over him and began to corral him with my hands. I knew he wasn't hurtful as his head was tiny and oval, though I wasn't taking any chances with false bravado. I yelled for Niles to grab a jar and continued to corral the snake. He had faint darker brown marking that ran lengthwise on his back and sides and he never lunged at me; quite the opposite--he would hide underneath my palm when he could. I tried several times to pick him up near his tail end but feared I might squeeze too hard and harm him--something I didn't want to do. He didn't feel harmful and actually felt scared. Exactly what a tiny being is supposed to feel when encountering a billion time larger being.

Niles arrived with a jar and I corralled the snake to go in. Inside under the kitchen lights we all looked and took visual notes for identification. After everyone looked at the snake, I took him out to the garden and released him under the leafed out salvia. He hugged that plant and didn't move while I was there.

He turned out to be a Texas Brown Snake. They are supposed to pretend to be aggressive by coiling up and striking their assailant but this one never did. Perhaps he sensed I was as scared of him as he was of me. Stories have it that they will repeatedly strike but do so with their mouths closed. They also eat small bugs--slugs, tiny crickets, etc... and I am so happy that I have someone in the garden that will take care of any if they show up---if he decided to stay.