While typing away in my little corner of the sunroom, my dog Roxy started a barking fit in the garage. I assumed the door was wide open and a bird had flown in. Have you ever noticed that an entire wall can be open, but a bird will insist on trying to fly through a closed window?
Roxy only barks at animals. This is not helpful to me since it is unlikely that I will be taken down by a rabid squirrel. At 15 pounds soaking wet, I wouldn’t expect her to be much protection, but she could at least bark a warning when a human enters the yard. Instead, I have looked up from my computer to find her playing with a neighborhood landscaper.
When her tirade didn’t end, I shut my laptop and ran to the garage. Roxy wagged her tail and looked at me and barked, then looked under the pile of kid’s toys and barked, and then looked back at me again and barked. I channeled Timmy from Lassie. “What is it girl?”
I wondered if one of those rabid squirrels was hiding under the mess. I moved a box and heard a rustling sound. While crouching down, I peered through the mound. My first thought was, “Will it attack me like the raccoon in Elf?” My second thought was, “We really need to clean our garage.” Then I spotted its familiar markings.
It was a snake! I moved a skateboard to examine its head. Bullsnakes look a lot like rattlesnakes only bulls are a lot bigger and rattlers have triangular heads. It slithered towards an open space and kept on slithering and slithering. It was a long bullsnake.
I reached out and snatched it by the tail. Roxy hung back.
“Hey there little fella!” I said while watching its demeanor to see that it was cool with being picked up. The bullsnake was at least a five footer, but it didn’t struggle to get away. It seemed to like this new view of the world after experiencing it from one inch off the ground.
I wanted to get my camera from inside the house, so I scanned the garage for a box to put him (her?) in. I set the bullsnake inside a dorm room organizer. The snake shot through one of the small decorative holes in the plastic box and got stuck. I ran to the tool cabinet and grabbed a wire cutter, but it writhed while flipping itself over and squeezed through.
I grabbed it again.
Then, I said what any Wild Rider would say. “Okay. You’re coming inside.” With one hand, I brought my new huge snake friend into the house and found my phone. I stepped back outside and with the other flipped on the camera.
Watch Roxy. She cracks me up!
With my Bichon trotting alongside, I carried the snake around the house away from the garage. It still seemed pretty content with being handled. I wasn’t worried about getting bit. They don’t have fangs, but snap at their prey with a flexible jaw, and then swallow.
After telling Roxy to “stay,” I released the bullsnake. Since they eat their weight in mice and prey on rattlesnakes, I love having them in my yard. One week later, I saw it basking on a rock in that same garden.
You will be happy to know that I spent Sunday afternoon cleaning out the garage. I filled two garbage cans! Now, that I have eliminated the hiding places, Roxy is less likely to corner any snakes or rabid squirrels. I can always count on her to warn me if she does. “Right girl?”
Are you afraid of snakes? Is there an animal you would never touch?
Photos and video taken with a Motorola Droid Razr phone