This is one of the many ‘nature’ stories included in my most recent book, Follow Your Dog: Adventures with Nature. Snake season is upon us! Don’t be afraid, though. These incredible creatures are part of the natural, native ecology of Northern California. Learn to love them!
An incident this morning, just before dawn, the willowy high chatter of the western kingbird, sounding social at best and scatter-brained at worst, supplementing the killdeer call from a reckless pair nesting amongst the stones of our driveway. I was outside on the south porch, looking for the baby rattlesnake my wife Bev had seen there last night. The snake was still there in a corner by a potted plant. I put my foot near the baby snake and it hardly reacted, didn’t even try to rattle. Maybe it couldn’t with just one rattle and a button. I went into the kitchen and pulled out a small frozen mouse, warming it in the microwave. I brought it back to the porch and pushed it around with a thin stick. With the snake’s acute sense of smell, even at a distance, it was soon casting back and forth, hunting. The mouse was unceremoniously grabbed and dragged back behind the snake’s potted plant for a delicious repast.
The day before, I had noticed a brightly striped king snake under the far side of the same porch. I hoped that the two would not come in contact, as the rattlesnake would have been quickly eaten. C’est la vie…things can be rough in the world of the snake.