Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Surprise Visitor!

With the cooler weather quickly blowing in, the leaves falling and piling up around us, that also means animals are looking for warm places to settle down for the long winter ahead. Squirrels are scampering around for nuts and berries, deer are foraging for food (we had a low crop season here for nuts and fruits, so deer will be traveling out of their comfort zone looking for food-- good for hunters, bad for deer) and snakes are also looking for that warm shelter.

The husband found this snake in one of our garbage cans by the chicken coop. It wasn't huge, but it was taking a defensive position and striking out often and rattling it's tail. That made us think it was a rattler.

We studied it for a little bit, called the girls over to come see and we stressed again (and again!) why we don't want them walking in the woods without mama and daddy. Leaves are great cover for snakes and now is the time for them to be out looking for food and shelter.
After much debate on what to do, we killed it. We didn't want to set it free only to have it come back or make more baby snakes, eat our chickens or eggs, and/or hurt our children or animals. We don't kill animals without a reason and we do feel bad about it, but our family comes first.
I looked up on the internet for identifying the snake and turns out it is not a rattler after all, but a juvenile Black Ratsnake. It usually shakes his tail like a rattler when it feels threatened, which makes many people think it is a rattler (like we thought it was). It's not poisonous, but it does bite and does not slither away when people come upon it. Black Ratsnakes are usually the ones you see killed on the roadways, because they freeze and strike when they are scared-- which creates snake pancakes. Then I read further on about their eating habits and their nickname? Chicken snakes. Well, that made me feel better about our decision to kill it. They like to eat chicken eggs and chickens and are often found around chicken coops.
We will be making sure to rake often around the chicken coop now, to prevent any sneaky snakes from moving into the coop and I will be just a bit more cautious when I reach my hand into the nest boxes for an egg.


Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Ooo what a mean lil bastard! Most snakes where I'm from will run away as fast as you come up upon them but that kind sounds like it sticks around to fight! Not cool lil dude! Ah well, he's in snake heaven now, all the eggs are boiled and the mice are made of sugar. :P

Teeeeeena said...

EEeeewww! You probably save your chickens' lives! And your eggs! Be always on the look out! And be careful!

karl said...

i'm bad to kill any immediately unidentifiable snake. family first and bad snakes and kids don't mix.

DJ Kirkby said...

Ooog scary. I think killing it was a sensible move considering you thought it was a rattler.

Carol said...

I don't think you had any choice but to kill it...can't take risks with the kids and animals!!

I think I would have bravely run away!!

C x

jenny said...

Gringa-- Now where in the heck did that come from???!! "All the eggs are boiled and the mice are made of sugar"??? Has a nice ring to it, but WTF?! LOL!! Now that goes right up there with smegma and MILF!!

Teena-- At least he was in the garbage can and not in the living room like yours was!! EEEK! :o) xoxoxo

Karl-- Definitely! Family comes first, snake second!

Dj-- We don't like killing animals if we don't have to, but this seemed like the right thing to do. Sorry snakey!

Carol-- I would have bravely run away with you if it wasn't my garbage can it was in! I imagine it was on the roof of the chicken coop when it slipped (slippery snake slipped on the slippery slope!) and fell in the can. Lucky for us, bad for it!