Archive for June, 2007

A Visitor to our Garden

<p>We put down some bird netting on top of our hostas to protect them from the Honey Locust debris that falls this time of year.  It’s a big job cleaning the hostas’ leaves after the flower debris has fallen and hardened so I thought the bird netting would keep the leaves clean.</p>

<p>The bird netting did not work and I took my time removing it. When I finally did, I found a snake twisted in one of the pieces. It was badly twisted into the holes in the netting and could not get out of it. I pulled at the netting and shook it hoping to release the snake. He only hissed at me because he didn’t like be jostled around. I don’t blame him. </p>

<p>I thought what should I do? I didn’t have the know-how to grab his head so I could control him and cut the netting from him. He looked to be at least three feet long. He was black and I thought he might be a black snake. I didn’t think he was venomous but I could see he had very sharp, very pointed fangs. </p>

<p>I decided to call my county’s Cooperative Extension Service. I thought that they must know of some snake handlers in the county that would be willing to help. They gave me several phone numbers. Most of them were commercial establishments that would haul the snake away for a fee. I just wanted to have the netting removed. There was one name on the list–Betty Acks who is a master wildlife rehabilitator. Her phone number was now a fax number. Through Google I found her email address and sent her an email asking for help. I also called and wrote emails to several other people as well.</p>

<p>About 30 minutes later I received a phone call from Betty. She now works out of Garrett County in Maryland but she said to call our county’s animal control and they should help me. Animal Control–why didn’t I think of that? Animal control is for picking up stray animals and not releasing a snake from bird netting I thought. So, I called the number given to me by Betty, and someone was dispatched to our home the same day.</p>

<p>I nice young man came and easily captured the snake and released it from the netting. This snake gave a good rattle which was very deep in pitch, not at all like a rattlesnake’s rattle. He said it was a garter snake and they live in gardens such as I mine. It’s strange, though, I didn’t know the snake was there. I never saw or heard him as I worked in my garden. </p>

<p>For a while at least, I think I will be a little more careful when working in the garden. I won’t lie down on the ground so I can look up at the sky and through the limbs and leaves of the trees. I’ll also be more careful when walking through the pachysandra ground cover which I have guite a lot of. When I’m working outside I now know I have one more friend besides all of my bird friends that eat the sunflower seeds we put out year-round, the squirrels, and hawks. Now I know I have a garter snake too. I think I’ll call him Harry.</p>


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