Monday, October 1, 2012

Lying in Wait

Caution: This is a story about a close encounter with a snake, so if you're afraid of snakes, or if snakes make you squeamish, you may not want to read any further. However, our story may be of some value in helping you watch out for snakes in the future.

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This past Saturday morning my husband and I were getting ready for my parents, our children, and grandchildren to arrive and my husband went outside to put some fresh nectar in the hummingbird feeder. I was happily stirring the custard for a banana pudding when he immediately came back inside and said, "We have a problem. Where's your camera?"

He got the camera and I asked what "the problem" was ... and he said, "We have a snake in the Bay Magnolia tree and I want to get a picture before I kill it."

Well, the adventurer/photographer side of me kicked in and I said, "You stir the pudding and I'll take the picture(s). After showing me the snake and repeatedly cautioning me, unnecessarily, not to get "too close," he went back in and kept watch over the pudding.

I know you're probably thinking ... is she crazy! ... but, I assure you, there was no way I was going to get up close and personal with that snake just to get his picture. I used my zoom lens and was standing on our porch snapping pictures about 10-12 feet away from the snake.

I have to admit, though, that looking through the zoom lens at that menacing creature that was staking out our hummingbirds ... made me shudder more than once.

The snake was stretched out on a limb in the tree right underneath a little branch where our hummers sit to wait their turn at the feeder.

Here's the sweet little hummer ...

And here's the "stalker" ...

Notice the way he is coiled around the branches ...

This next picture may give you a better idea of just how close he was to where the hummers sit (you can click on the picture to see it better, if you'd like).

On a happier note, here are a few pictures I captured of the hummingbird this morning ...

As you can see, he's alive and well and getting ready for his long journey south, which will be soon.

I understand and appreciate the "survival of the fittest" law of Nature, but that doesn't mean I like it. I'm just so glad it was my husband who went to change the nectar in the feeder, instead of me, because I don't think I would have seen the snake. I may have looked down at the ground before stepping over into the flowerbed beneath the feeder, but I never would have thought to look in the tree.

And you know what the worst part of this encounter was ... at least for me ... was thinking about that snake knowing that the hummers sat on that little branch. That means that he had been "staking them out" for a while (I hate to think about for how long and from where!) — and I seriously doubt the hummers would have had a chance against the snake, if he had had a chance to strike [makes me shudder again, as I write this!].

When I finished taking pictures, my husband killed the snake and I took a few more pictures to help us identify him.

After looking at snake pictures on Google (which wasn't fun, in and of itself!), I think ours may have been a chicken snake, which isn't poisonous. But venomous, or not ... I didn't want it stalking our hummingbirds, and surely didn't want it "on the loose" in our flowerbeds.

I'll probably be very apprehensive for a while now, watching my step and checking out the trees and shrubbery (and I hope you will be too!) ... so, perhaps, there was a reason that snake was there — other than waiting on his breakfast!

3 comments:

Pat said...

Wow! Janie, what an adventure! Yes, we always do need to be careful ... Thanks for the reminder. Wonderful photos as usual.

Now I want some Banana Pudding!

Pat in Tallahassee

Beverly said...

Good post. I certainly can appreciate that you will be apprehensive at least for a while.

I was once down on my hands and knees weeding a flower bed when I looked up to find myself eyeball to eyeball with a snake who was coiled (about 2 feet off the ground) among the stalks of my lovely hollyhocks at the back of the flower bed. It was just a grass snake but after that I could never sit happily pulling weeds in that flower bed again.

Beverly

The Flower Lady's Husband said...

Once I was hiking in the NJ Pine Barrens. I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake. The poor thing was only sunning himself-- in the middle of the trail! A close natural encounter of the unwelcome kind.