Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ssssunday Yard Work

So yesterday, kell and I were able to cross off 1 of our To Do list items, as we changed all the light switches and plugs in the house. Replacing the original switches with some newer, nicer looking ones.

Today, I decided to knock out another item that we have been putting off for way too long.  Trimming the giant tree like bushes in our backyard.  They really grow like crazy.
 So, I began this morning in the daunting Florida heat.  After an hour or so of fighting the branches to get to a place where I could make the desired cut, I caught a glimpse of a snake, curled up amongst what appeared to be a birds nest.
  The nest was located high in a group of branches that needed to come down. I didn't really know what to do, so I thought about it for a while.  The snake was long with tan and brown stripes down its body. Now, we see a black racer in the yard occasionally, but we haven't seen anything like this guy. I certainly do not consider myself an expert in all that is reptile, but Google is, so I took a few minutes to see if I could hunt down some information about what type of snake this was. Is it venomous? Is it some type of constrictor? I hadn't a clue, so I wanted to find out. I came across a site that lists all varieties of snakes in Florida. I had a feeling it was a rat snake so that was the first thing I looked at.  The write up indicated that the Eastern Rat Snake is a great climber who dines on rodents, frogs, lizards, and birds eggs.  This made me feel fairly certain that we had a rat snake in our bushes/trees. So, with the knowledge that my life wasn't in danger, I headed back out to the yard.

During my research break, the snake appeared to have vacated the nest. I carefully cut the branches that nest was located in, and brought them down. No snake. He must have realized what was going down and took off.  So I went back to work.  After another hour or so, I made eye contact once again with our reptilian friend.  He had vacated the nest, but not the trees entirely.  He was curled tightly around a lower branch in the bush.

Kell and I talked and we decided that we should try and catch him, and relocate him away from our yard. The question was how? Although I was fairly certain that he was a rat snake, and thus not venomous, there still was some uncertainty as to whether or not I was correct. I do watch the occasional Discovery Channel show that depicts some trained snake wrangler making the catch.  So, I guess there really isn't much to it.

I decided that I wanted to grab him behind the head but wasn't able to get to it easily.  I then thought that I could cut the branch he was on and walk him out of the yard using the branch.  Kell correctly indicated that he would probably make a break for it as soon as I cut the branch. Finally, I just grabbed the branch, so he uncoiled and started traveling up the branch.  I grabbed him initially, but he spun around toward me so I dropped him. He continued climbing the branches.  I then grabbed him by the tail and pulled him out of the bush and into the open yard, where I had a bucket waiting.
Just as I almost had him in the bucket, he swung up toward me, so I let him go.
I then tried to scoop him into the "Scoop Away" cat litter bucket.  But that didn't really work either.  So I grabbed him again and successfully 'wrangled' him into the bucket.

We then walked him down to the end of the street where there is a retention pond and lots of potential meals awaiting this snake.  I opened the bucket over the fence, and let him go on a branch of a big tree nearby.
And off he went....
Ssssssoo, until next time...
Thanks for reading.

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