Yesterday I went outside to check the mail; flu-ridden Ariel came out with me to get fresh air. (It’s my firm belief that fresh air is good for a fever.) As we walked down the steps, we both saw movement in the flower beds from the corner of our eyes. “Please, no” is what I thought and adrenaline pumped through my body. But, despite my wish, it was a snake. Now as you may remember though I like snakes, I’ve had a few brushes with rattlesnakes. Once on a hike, I stepped on a big rattler. Thankfully, he had a big bite of chipmunk in his mouth or he’d have gotten a big bite of me. My second brush with a rattler was in my front yard. I was gardening and brushed a baby rattler with my gloved hand. Since he was as afraid of me as I was of him, we both survived. Actually, he died. Cal killed him with a shovel.
Instead of grabbing a shovel or trying to catch this snake like the kids and used to do with black racers, Ariel and I stood on the steps, trying to decide if this was poisonous. Is his head diamond-shaped? Do the marking look like a copperhead? The last question wasn’t really helpful because neither of us knows what a copperhead looks like. About this time, the mailman drove up. He called out, “What y’all doin’—lookin’ at snakes?”
I saw a great opportunity here, especially since my snake killer, Calvin, isn’t home. “Oh, yes, exactly,” I said. “Could you tell me if the snake’s poisonous?”
So, my mailman lumbered out of his mail truck, which is saying something because his rule is that if he has to get out of his truck to deliver your mail, you can wait to tomorrow. He examined the snake, from a safe distance. “That there’s a rat snake. It’s a good one. It eats bugs.” Personally, I think a snake longer than the size of my entire arm is probably living off of more than bugs—hence the name “rat snake.” But, since he did me a favor and identified the snake I kept my mouth shut.
I thanked him for his help and waved good-bye. When everyone else got home, I told them the snake story. And I explained that the snake lived under the front porch. Matt promptly named the snake “Bob.” So, now we have three hamsters, one bird, one dog, and a snake named Bob.