Here’s another thing I did back at the old Beefy blog. I’ve written on the Kill Deer, Skinks, and other cool shit.
This one popped up today when I let my dog out before I went to work. I was about to sit down in my chair when I noticed three garter snakes hanging out on my little table. I didn’t want to scare them away, so I stood on the other side of my chair and got two pictures. They weren’t moving much when I took the first picture. I looked away for a second and turned back to see just the one hanging out. He kept raising his head in my direction and flicked his tongue a few times. He tried to get on my chair, but I had to leave for work and Redd was done doing his business. I don’t know if he made the chair.
Anyway, these guys are awesome. They’re not poisonous, and they do bite, but not hard. It’s a nice pinch, though. They used to be everywhere here when I was a kid, but they’ve all moved on since. Every year I see one or two, but it has been a real long time since I’ve seen three hanging out together.
And then I thought, it’s even stranger that I’m seeing them IN FEBRUARY. It was almost 80 degrees here today. Damn, those poor guys are probably going to freeze tomorrow, when it’s supposed to be in the upper 30s. Gotta love that Ohio weather.
I’m guessing they noticed the top of the table was warm and crawled up there. That’s a first for me, seeing them on that table.
My love for the garter started back when I was a kid. My sisters and I were fortunate to live in a suburb in a city but have a large amount of woods behind our house. We spent most of our childhoods running through those woods, all through the year. It was just as fun to play in those woods with a foot of snow on the ground as it was during the summer when everything was alive.
One summer we were running along one of the creeks that zigzagged through the woods and my sisters ran off without me. I stopped at the creek and looked down to see, literally, dozens of garter snakes. Everywhere. This was my first experience with snakes, other than at the zoo, so I was froze. I could have dealt with one or two, but 40 or 50? No thanks.
I whispered as loud as I could to get my sister’s attention, and when I finally did, she ran over to me and immediately started picking them up. So then I did too.
All that week we went out playing with the snakes, and we discovered they were everywhere in the woods, all around the creeks. Hundreds of them.
After that week was over, they were all gone. They moved on to greener pastures, I guess. We never saw them again. Hell, we never saw any snakes in those woods again.
And then here at my house, which used to be my grandmother’s house. There was a row of bushes behind the house, and during the summer my mom and I would always go to the back window and look down on those bushes and count the garter snakes laying on them, sunning. Sometimes three or four, sometimes ten. And then one year they stopped, and we’d get lucky to see one a year. That’s probably the last time I saw more than one at a time, together, until the three on that table today. Pretty cool. Maybe I should look around more every February.