Back in Black! The World’s Most Amazing Black Rat Snake

Most days I truly enjoy where I live.  I feel blessed to have such a beautiful view out my kitchen window, and I love spending time on either the screened porch, the covered deck or the paver patio out back.  A tremendous sense of peace fills my soul as I watch the birds flitter about and take in the wonderful sights and aromas of living things.  Sometimes I close my eyes to simply listen to the trees rustling in the breeze, and I am reminded of Isaiah 55:12: “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”  It is positively worshipful out there.

Wednesday was just such a day, and then it got all dramatic on me.  I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying to focus on getting something accomplished, when this beauty came trotting into the yard:

A beautiful Grey Fox.  Is it too 80's of me to say "what a fox!"?  yeah, probably...

A beautiful Grey Fox. Is it too 80’s of me to say “what a fox!”? yeah, probably…

So soft and cuddly looking, I just wanted to scoop her up and snuggle her senseless!  She made a beeline for the shed under which the woodchucks have once again set up their nursery.  With our resident mama and papa woodchuck (Woodrow and Woodrina), we already have two woodchucks too many, so I hope Foxy Loxy there will do her God-given job and, well, you know…

Not 2 hours later I was making lunch when I heard a “whump” on the deck.  That usually means my mortal enemies, the squirrels, need my attention.  So I went over to the window to shoo them away when I caught sight of another long-time resident, Blackie the Black Rat Snake cruising along the deck railing.

Blackie is finally awake and up on the deck to let us know it!

Blackie is finally awake and up on the deck to let us know it!

Blackie has been with us many years, and every spring he pops up on the deck to let us know he is out of hibernation and back on the job of controlling the moles, voles and mice we have way too many of.  We assume we are seeing the same snake every year, because every year he gets a little bit bigger and he always hangs near the house.  And he’s pretty good about observing our agreement that he only comes in or on the house that one time a year, because let’s face it, he’s a bit creepy!  Normally he just lounges on the deck to get warm, but it soon became obvious that today he was on a more serious mission…

He slithered over to the screen porch door...

He slithered over to the screen porch door…

...and started climbing up to get to...

…and started climbing up to get to…

Snacks!

Snacks!

Okay, I’m all for letting nature take its course, and I’m no huge fan of house finches (we have a million of those, too) but this was going to be a wee bit too “real” for right outside my kitchen window.  I had taken that picture of the finches 2 days earlier, and unbeknownst to me all but one of them had already left the nest – by what means, I do not know nor do I want to.  So I decided I had to discourage Blackie from his current course of action.  I got the brilliant idea to go to the other side of the screen door, poke it with a looooong stick and knock him down.  I figured it’d spook him and he’d go on his way.  So NOT what happened!

He fell inside the door and now the freak out is on for reals!

He fell inside the door and now the freak out was on for reals!

At this point I am panic dialing my husband, who frankly is going to be of no help because he is more freaked out by reptiles than I am.  Fortunately Blackie was fixated on getting to his lunch so he just kept climbing and exited the screen porch…

I had no idea snakes were capable of this kind of gravity-defying acrobatics!

I had no idea snakes were capable of this kind of gravity-defying acrobatics!

Okay, now I have what I feel to be no choice but to go out there and take down the fern that is about a foot away from Blackie and rescue those baby birds.  There’s no time to get a proper ladder or step stool, so I grab the only thing handy, a slanty, wobbly Adirondack chair.  I am praying that I don’t fall, that those darn birds don’t fly at my face and that Blackie doesn’t decide to attack what now looks like a competitor for his chow.

Of course that one remaining ungrateful bird flew at my head, which startled me and I nearly went over the railing, just catching myself (and the fern) at the last second by wrapping my legs around a potted plant mounted on the railing.  My thighs are bruised and I pulled a muscle in my arm all for nothing, because that stupid bird was capable of escaping on his own!  No good deed, right?

With lunch gone, Blackie started backtracking…

He anchored himself in the iron hanger.  I became distraught to the point of tears because I thought he was going to get stuck.

He anchored himself in the iron hanger. I became distraught to the point of tears because I thought he was going to get stuck.

But snakes are smart and stretchy!  I guess there's a reason why the Bible tells us to be gentle as doves but wise as snakes!

But snakes are smart and stretchy! I guess there’s a reason why the Bible tells us to be gentle as doves but wise as snakes!

Seriously, I can't imagine, pound for pound, how strong snake abs must be!

Seriously, I can’t imagine, pound for pound, how strong snake abs must be!

Blackie slithered through the door latch to anchor himself

Blackie slithered through the door latch to anchor himself…bloody clever!

going...going...

going…going…

...gone.   Aww, Blackie, you wouldn't have caught that bird anyway, and there are plenty of mice under the deck to get to!

…gone. Aww, Blackie, you wouldn’t have caught that bird anyway, and there are plenty of mice under the deck to get to!

I learned a few things that day.  One, snakes are amazing creatures who can scale walls; and they are pretty darned clever, too!  And two, I think I can officially call myself “a blogger” because despite the fact that I was freaking out like nobody’s business, I never stopped taking pictures to document this exciting little encounter!  That point didn’t hit me until all my friends said something to the effect of “I can’t believe you got all these pictures – I would have run for my life!”  Well, yeah, I was scared and all, but I also thought it was cool, and I wanted to share it with people.  I guess that’s what blogging is all about…

Advertisements
Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Comment on this Post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: