Thursday, May 24, 2007

When snakes panic

Last night, after dark, I put the ducks and chickens to bed and locked the doors of their coops. On my way out of the area, I turned the electric fence on. I suddenly heard two sharp POP noises. Startled, I turned the fence back off.

Caught with its tail in the electric fence and its head in the adjoining chickenwire fence was a several-foot-long black rat snake. It wasn't moving. Upon closer inspection, it appeared the snake had been shocked by the electric fence and, in its confusion, had bolted headfirst through the chickenwire. It had woven itself through two loops of wire, and was stuck like a size 40 man in a pair of size 30 jeans.

I did the sensible thing and hollered for the s.o.

He came outside and I filled him in on the situation. He poked at the snake gently with his pocket knife, and it flinched. He took the flashlight from me ("Don't move--I'll be right back!") and went to get a pair of wire cutters from his truck. When he returned, he clipped the wires that bound the snake, and we watched uneasily as it slithered into one of the chicken yards.

"We should have killed it," he said.

"They eat mice, not chickens," I said. "Although it might steal eggs if it could get in. Which it can't."

I'm right, aren't I? I hope I'm right. I like snakes.