Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rattle snake or Bull snake, what's the difference?

Several of us stayed home from church this morning with colds. So I decided to start looking for some of Stephen's old t-shirts for the quilt I want to make him before he graduates. The clothes are all in plastic containers in what was going to be our new laundry room--an unfinished part of the addition to this house. So I went in there to dig around through the clothes and had to move a piece of insulation out of my way. It was an extra piece that isn't yet installed anywhere and was just laying on the floor. But there underneath of it was a snake! I dropped it back on the snake, jumped and yelled. Then Faith and I searched through our Texas Snakes book. It wasn't a diamond back so I calmed down. I can deal with snakes, but nothing poisonous please. Then Faith pointed out that we should identify it because there is more than one kind of poisonous snake. So we go back and it's still there, apparently sleeping with its tail tucked underneath so we couldn't see if there were any rattles or not. Now with both of us having seen it, we start to go through the book again. It looked exactly like the picture of the Western Massasauga--a rattle snake! We went back to the snake and looked again and compared it to the picture. Exact same markings. I called Roger who was in Sunday School and told him there was a rattle snake in the laundry room. He came home.

Okay, I didn't keep an eye on the snake. That was a mistake. It was sleeping and it was cool so I figured it would stay asleep. But then, we did disturb it three times. When Roger came home, rather than let me tell him where it was he immediately started to pick things up and toss them aside--making a LOT of noise. I figured he woke it up and scared it away. Finally I went in and made him let me show him where it was. It was gone. Who knows whether it was because I left it unattended or because he made so much noise--or both! It just really scared me to think that snake was in my house and we didn't know where!

After some searching we finally found it. This time we could see the tail and there were no rattles. Roger decided it was a bull snake and left it there. I guess I could have complained, but there's the mouse I saw recently on the kitchen counter. I was up nursing Gloria at 2:30 am when I heard something fall in the kitchen. After I got Gloria back to bed, I grabbed a flashlight and shined it in the kitchen. Sure enough, there was a little mouse looking at me. Yuck!

I guess if I have to choose, I'd rather have the snake than the mouse. We haven't found any snake droppings on our kitchen counters yet. I've had pet snakes and pet mice in my lifetime and I think the mice are way stinkier. Snakes are really beautiful creatures when you aren't startled out of your mind by them.

But then my mom had to go and ask if this snake might have a family in there. They don't, right? Aren't snakes loners? Karen, my favorite vet, I hope you read this and answer soon! And do bull snakes eat mice? I suppose I could google these answers myself, but I have a quilt to make. I actually made myself go back and get out those shirts. I just waited till Roger and my big boys were home again from church!



Karen of TX said...

Yes, they eat mice. They are egg layers and don't hang around, so I don't think you need to worry about families, or gangs, or little snake Mafias that are after you.

They're constrictors, by the way. We had a rat snake in our garage right after we moved here and it turns out they like to mimic rattlers; I know what you mean by being startled!

Melissa Nelson said...

Ok, I hadn't even thought mafia, but that sure left me with a funny image. Little rattler wannabes all dressed up like the Italian mafia waiting around to pop off the mice.

Thanks for the answers! So if I see some strange looking eggs I should not assume the chickens found a new place to lay, huh?

Audrey said...

You are such a brave woman...I come unglued with the water bugs that are the size of small mice and wave at you as they walk by. I found one on MY BED last night and had to give myself a good pep talk before crawling in.