Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa: A snake was not on my list...

Over the Thanksgiving break my sweet mom brought me an adorable little patio-sized kumquat tree. (A kumquat is a type of citrus fruit similar to a very small orange that's sour like a lemon). I've always wanted one, so was just giddy when she drove up to my house with it her car as a surprise. What a great holiday gift. Thanks mom!!

It's been chilly at night in Austin, so each day I've been diligently dragging the little kumquat tree (who is maybe 3 feet tall) in and out of the garage so it can have sun during the day and can stay out of the night's chill in the evening.

Last weekend, I grabbed the pot by the top rim and picked it up and eeeeeeeekkkkk there is a snake curled up under where the potted tree had been sitting. A very tiny snake, but still...it's a snake people. It was maybe 5pm and I was cold and didn't want to deal with it. But the snake looked cold (and I am a giant softie) so I went inside and got an old bath towel, tossed it on top of the snake and went inside to enjoy my evening. Didn't give the snake another thought.

The next morning, I went out to move the kumquat back to it's usual sunny spot, and figured the snake would be long gone. I mean, what kind of snake is going to just hang out under a bath towel all night? So I moved the towel and eeeeeeeekkkkk there is the snake. Hmmmm.... Now what?

OK. So this little snake is maybe only 12 inches long and no thicker than a pencil. It's still pretty cold so he's being really still thankfully. Mom (who has been great at catching all icky and scary creatures for my entire life) was in town again, so she grabbed some garden gloves, a box with a lid and just scooped the little snakey into the box. I then came out from behind the pillar on the porch (where I was bravely encouraging my mom) to check out the little guy. And to my surprise, guess what that little guy has on the end of his little tail? Holt cow. It's a baby rattle snake people. Yes, a rattle snake! eeeeeeekkkkk. A rattle snake!!



Yep, that's fluff from the bath towel by his eye in the shot below...


Mom (who is even a bigger softie than I am) knows where the Austin Wildlife Rescue Center is, so we put 1st the snake box into a 2nd box. (I mean I don't want it to pull off some sort of Houdini-like escape while in my car, right?) We drive to the rescue center and drop off the snake and a donation. Easy peasy and they were thrilled to welcome their newest boarder.

Now...On the drive home it starts to occur to me... Does that little snake have brothers and sisters? And where the heck are they?!? After much discussion and several days, we've determined that my yard (which is NOT in the boondocks or anything people) is likely not hiding a rattlesnake nest somewhere among it's leaves. Mom got the kumquat from a little garden center that IS in the middle of nowhere in the Texas hill country and the snake was probably just a stowaway. That's my hope anyway...

But good old Mom is coming back over this weekend to help me re-pot that little tree. I just want to be sure there aren't a bunch of scary little guys waiting for me amongst my kumquats. And if any of you out there know anything about snakes that you think I should know (i.e. my stow away theory seems very unlikely) I'd appreciate your thoughts!

So, don't be surprised if you see a snake appear in some future fabric design. You'll know just where he came from!

22 comments:

Sara said...

I would have reacted exactly the same, but wouldn't have been decent enough to lay a towel on it due to fright!

Hope your little kumquat tree does fabulous!

Poppyprint said...

I'm afraid that would have put me right over the edge. Your mom rocks, obviously.

two hippos said...

this story terrifies me. I am petrified of snakes. you're much nicer than I ever could have been or would be!

DianeY said...

I would have died on the spot! And my husband wouldn't have known what to do with all my fabric!

Anna said...

baby rattlers are WAY more dangerous than the adults. Their venom is WAY more potent. Thats about all I can tell you. Be careful!!!

momto2wasd said...

I would have absolutely freaked out! I'm glad nobody got hurt.

David Steen said...

Hello,

Rest assured that is not a rattlesnake. It is actually a baby Texas Rat Snake, which are common in Austin. It looks like it's had a hard time shedding and a little bit of dead skin has gotten hung up on the tail.

I talk about rattlesnakes on my blog www.davidasteen.blogspot.com, and I even include a blog about the common myth that baby rattlesnakes are more venomous than the adults. Texas Rat Snakes were a recent topic as well, you may have received an e-mail about a snake in a wreath biting a man, I write about it here: http://davidasteen.blogspot.com/2010/11/knock-knock-happy-holidays-edition.html.

Kudos to you for not killing the snake, as so many others would. I'm happy to answer any snake questions for you in the future. Happy Holidays.

Dave

Laurie Wisbrun | Scarlet Fig said...

Dave to the rescue! Soooooo glad to know it wasn't a rattlesnake. Repotting the plant this weekend won't be nearly as scary now. Thanks Dave!!!

PoetWhale said...

Gave me the willies reading your wonderful story.

Carla said...

I hate those little surprises like that. You have to be careful with the little guys. Their venom is more potent than their parents.

Heather said...

holey cow lady!!! that's no gardner snake!!! that looks scary with a capital S! you must be tough stuff... cause i would have just pitched the tree and all!! haha

xo

Linda said...

So glad to hear that you, mom, and snakie are okay, and thanks to Dave for the "voice of sanity."

If I had thought it was a rattler, I might have moved from the house.........lol

xoxo

Emily said...

Uh your stowaway theory is completely valid! My sister-in-law had a stowaway snake on a cluster of grapes she bought at the market! It was a tiny little garden snake but still...he was coiled around the grape stems so she didn't even notice. I guess the grapes were kept cool enough that he didn't have the energy to move as grape after grape was picked off. TRUE STORY!

Kelly O. said...

oh my!
snakey, snakey, go away...
DO NOT come back another day!

nanannwoogies said...

I was going to tell you it might be a Rat Snake -- I had the same fear this summer when there was one on my porch, and the snake shook its tail and lunged at the shovel and everything. (um, yes, I did have a neighbor kill it thinking rattler and wanting to have my girls play in my yard again!)

Funny thin, though -- the snake expert my pest control company recommended we call did say baby rattlers were more dangerous!

AllieKatMom said...

Oh I cant wait to see that fabric! Would have an awesome story behind it!

Karen said...

Geez your adrenalin levelsmust have been through the roof. I know mine would have been.

Lisa said...

It has been miserably cold here in Chicago the last few days, the kind of cold that makes your face hurt! I lived in Texas for a couple of years and was actually just thinking to myself the other day how it must be nice and warm there and wondering why I would leave weather like that. Now I can face the cold with a smile on my face... because there are no snakes here!! I hate snakes and would find them hiding all over the place - I worked at a summer camp in the middle of nowhere.

Becky said...

I was squirmin and squealin as I read this! Laurie, I am like your Mom when IN the situation. I fall apart later. So glad no one was chomped!

ColleenaMareena said...

Definitely a rat snake, I used to have one as a pet when I was a kid. I'm glad Dave gave such a great comment above. Good for you (and Mom!) for not killing the little lost guy!

Baby rattlesnakes are not more deadly than adults, but rather they have not learned to regulate the amount of venom when they bite, so they sometimes inject a TON of venom, whereas an adult would give you just a little bit.

Lois said...

baby rattlers have a much more dangerous bite than adult snakes, due to the fact that they do not regulate the release of their venom.
I am happy you didn't hurt the snake, but please be very careful if another one accompanies your plants home.....

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