Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Urban Snakes

Many years ago, when we first moved into our house, I wandered around our yard looking for the perfect spot to plant a garden. I chose the area, planned the layout, ordered the seeds and was ready to sink my hands into the soil and grow wonderful vegetables for my family. It was very exciting. So exciting in fact that I didn't even mind having to dig up the sod and turn the soil. Early one morning I put on my gardening gloves, grabbed a shovel and went to work. About 5 minutes into the job I came up with a shoveful of dirt and there in the shovel was a snake. Not a big snake but if you know me you know that big or small - it doesn't matter - a snake is a snake and I DON'T LIKE THEM. Actually it goes far beyond dislike and straight over into the phobic, over the top, break your neck trying to get away kind of emotion.

Needless to say, I freaked out, dropped the shovel and went flying into the house, yelling for the Island King to come and KILL THE SNAKE. As I'm running into the house it dawned on me that the snake was underground. Not just under a little ground litter but 2 or 3 feet beneath the surface, buried in the dirt. That caused sheer panic. I have to watch out for snakes in trees and bushes as well as on the ground and now I have to come to grips with the fact that they're UNDER the ground too? That was just too much for me and I spent the next half hour in the house, shaking like a leaf.

Meanwhile the Island King has gone outside to kill the snake. He doesn't mind snakes at all but he knows that letting it go and then living with me is NOT an option and that he actually has to show me the snake's dead body or I'll have a meltdown of epic proportions.
He calls me outside and shows me the dead body, which is now laying on the patio. He says "This isn't a snake. I don't know what it is but it's a little different from a snake and anyway, I don't think snakes live 3 feet underground".

That realization prompted some immediate research and we discovered that it was a Skink. Apparently there are several kinds of skinks but they are basically lizards. Some kinds of skinks have very small limbs and some have no limbs at all - like the one I found. "See", the Island King tells me "it's not a snake after all. It's a lizard".

Well folks let me tell you that when you take the legs off of a lizard - YOU HAVE A SNAKE! No amount of fact or discussion will convince me otherwise. A lizard with no legs is a snake.

Over the years we've found LOTS of skinks in our yard. And even though common sense and reason tell me that they're actually good for my soil I don't care and I kill them. Or I call the Island King out to kill them. Or I send our rat terrier over to kill them - he's a seek and destroy skink killer and I love him for it. I did learn not to run over them with the lawnmower though because that's bloody and messy and REALLY gross.

So Friday afternoon we're loading the truck for our camping trip when one of the neighborhood boys starts yelling to the Island King that there's a snake in the driveway of the house next door. He went for the snake and I went for the camera.

Turns out it wasn't a snake after all, it was a skink.

The boys thought it was really cool and of course had to take turns holding it.



See that look on the Oldest Island Boy's face? He lost his mind for a minute and thought it would be fun to taunt Mom


This is his father telling him that he doesn't know what I'll do to him if he comes after me with the skink and that he won't be able to protect him when I lose my mind and beat him to a pulp


The Youngest held it too but he's a little smarter and knew better than to even think about messing with me

The house next door to us is empty and the Island King decided to let the skink go in that yard. I protested but he just rolled his eyes at me and let the skink go in the grass.


I hate it when he does that but I didn't protest too much.

I just called Jake, my skink killer, and he immediately found the skink and killed it. He's a good dog.

I know there are many of you out there that are horrified at the thought of me sending the dog over to kill the skink. And my response to that is -
I don't care, I hate them, I think they should be wiped off the face of the earth and will continue to do my part in making that happen LOL

I do have to say that over the years my fear has not lessened any but I refuse to let snakes stop me from doing what I love - which is hiking in the woods. I keep telling myself that I have opposable thumbs and that they should fear me instead of me fearing them. Snakes don't keep me out of the woods but I have been known to scream like a girl and run the other way when I encounter one LOL
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