Thursday, July 9, 2009

Python Hyperbole

Everyone I describe this scene to says the same thing to me: "Well, they're good in a garden, aren't they? They eat all the bugs."

Yeees, they do eat bugs. But which bugs are they eating? That's what I'd like to know. Are they eating my beneficial wasps? My ladybugs? My mason bees? My leaf-cutters? Butterflies? This is not good. I like those bugs. I go to great lengths to cultivate the presence of those bugs.

Even more alarming, if you click on the above photo you can see that they are reproducing... (cue Twilight Zone soundtrack)

Yes, those are little snakes with that giant snake. A giant momma python garden snake and her babies - in my garden. Lurking amongst my cantaloupes and watermelons - in my garden. And a few feet away from this scene of heart-stopping terror domestic bliss was ANOTHER BLOODY SNAKE another baby snake - in my garden.

(breathe deep, sheila, don't hyperventilate now, keep calm)

So I did something that may cause some of you to view me through an entirely different lens: I showed them to Toffee. I thought Toffee might cause them to either cease reproducing or scatter off to another garden...or (hopefully) eat them.

I know, I know, I am a total hypocrite with my Live and Let Live mantra. Aphids I can ignore. The odd wasp, even. But these long slithery things? No. I cannot ignore a snake - especially when it's snakes in the plural.

But Toffee is either extremely dense or eminently sensible (I'm thinking Toffee would have made a very good Victorian with all those delicate sensibilities of his) but he made very little attempt to get them. Oh, he was deeply intrigued alright. But he seemed to think that this glass was stopping him from ever getting close. And this glass, Dear Reader, is a very small window propped up against some sticks, so I'm thinking that Toffee isn't big on snake meat. Have I ever told you that his nickname is Chicken Shit? It is but you didn't hear that from me.

Ugh. I get the willies thinking about snakes. There is a reason I live in the city and not in the country. I am not a snake kind of girl. The first thing I think of when I see a snake is not: "Ooh, I simply MUST pick that snake up and wind it around my hand!" I have friends who do that, but I lack both the interest and the courage. Holding a snake ranks about 28,999th on my list of Things I Simply Must Do, and before that comes Eating Poisonous Blowfish (#26,749), Watching My Fingers Cramp Up (#28,298), and Pulling Hair Clots From the Bathtub Drain (#25,420).

No, the first thing I think when I see a snake is "Holy $#*& a snake!" Sometimes I mix it up a little and run away shrieking first, THEN think "Holy $#*& a snake!"

No more sticking my hands into random areas of the garden without my gloves on, now. Not with these pythons lurking around, heavy with intent.

34 comments:

sheila said...

Oh you big chicken! And you call your cat rude names too. Honestly.

Heather said...

I'm giggling at your post but at the same time I sooo want you to find a way to get those snakes out of your garden. I'm terrified of snakes (won't even click on your picture to make it bigger because I don't like to see them even on a screen) and could not bear to have them ruining my garden time for me. Can you borrow a proper cat ;-o from a neighbour and have it come chase the snakes away? or a dog? Pay your kids to collect them and take them away to a new home? Get some chickens? (recently learned that chickens will eat snakes) Sprinkle something around that area (or your entire yard perimeter) that they don't like - cayenne, crushed shells...something?

I'm thinking of you, Shelia...and shuddering each time. ;-)

Rebecca said...

You know, I'll take a harmless garden snake over a rodent any day. Think of all the baby rats and mice that could be growing and thriving in the hidden places around your yard but are being quietly and considerately removed by your loving snake family.

Oh, and they apparently will eat spiders and slugs. Yay!

"Garter snakes, like all snakes, are carnivorous. Their diet consists of almost any creature that they are capable of overpowering: slugs, earthworms, insects, leeches, lizards, spiders, amphibians, birds, fish, toads and rodents."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garter_snake#Diet

Please don't hurt your snakes, Sheila. They really are good to have around.

sheila said...

Trust you to actually look up the garter snake diet! Next thing you know I'll be feeling sort of guilty, you bad girl you. Can I call you when their ranks have swelled to the hundreds?

Samantha said...

Oh Sheila, they are so cute!!! Please don't let your kitty eat them!!! If I was closer I would pick them up and move them for you. Snakes are so lovely! I would love to have one but couldn't bring myself to have one because you have to feed them mice (and I had those as pets when I was younger and they are too cute!)
Yes, I know I'm so very weird. And yes, I hold a snake every chance I get. They are lovely, amazing creatures!!

By the way, I can't believe eating poisonous blowfish comes before holding a snake? You are too funny!

Samantha said...

Oh wow, I just realized something I wrote on my last comment could be taken the wrong way. I'm sure you know what I meant. ;-)

sheila said...

Well, I totally missed whatever THAT was, Samantha, and now I'm REALLY curious! Was it about the blowfish? Or the fact that you are ganging up against me with Rebecca? Naughty naughty girls. Did you know that I can taste my fillings when I see those snakes?

Samantha said...

Oh my, I'm so sorry Sheila! I should have realized your mind would NEVER have gone THERE! I would hate to taint your innocence.

I enlarged the photo to look at those cuties again. What a good mamma she is...

Did that up the guilt a little bit? ;-)

You know she would never hurt you right. She might even become a garden friend. (okay, that is pushing it over the top a little, isn't it ;-)

sheila said...

HA! I had to read your comment like 400X and it finally hit me (but I'm so pure of mind that things like that don't come easily to me). You rude girl, smutting up my comment box like that. I might have to send Rupert Penry Jones after you, in a white shirt. You can hold HIS snake and see how you like THAT.

Samantha said...

I'm impressed Sheila. You must have some real pull to be able to send Rupert after me...

sheila said...

Hey, some of us have plenty of snakes up our sleeves. Besides, we're related. I can make him do anything I want (oh sheila, you WISH).

I think I've been watching too much MI-5.

I notice you aren't saying no...

Rebecca said...

RE: the diet.

I really thought you should know about the leeches part, considering that you don't live in a swamp. :)

I'm not as appreciative of the common snake as Samantha seems to be ;) and I can't stand it when they slither across my foot when I'm turning the compost pile (okay, this happened 12 years ago or so, but I'm still scarred by the experience).

But they won't run over your foot. They will stay out of your way. Honest!

sheila said...

Well, they'd better stay out of my way, or I might have to send ole Bulgey Eyes after YOU.

Gosh, why am I so easily swayed by people? The guilt! My god, the guilt!

Stupid snakes.

Suji said...

LOL...your comments box is always as funny as your posts...I'm so glad I read both. Looks like you have many witty readers too.

You know I was surprised to find that pythons aren't as cold and slimy as we think they are. I got quite fond of a python once. Even called him Al (after Dean Stockwell's character in Quantum Leap, you know the one with Scott Bakula?). But I wouldn't want them in my backyard. There are lots of horror stories of phythons gobbling up farm folks back in Malaysia. Brrrr....

sheila said...

Suji, some of us are extremely silly, but I don't like to name names, being that some of the very silliest live not to far from me... (cough cough)

Al the Python, eh? I think I'm going to name my python after the little old lady who lived in a shoe and had so many children she didn't know what to do. I just found another one in the strawberry patch, curled up in a sunny spot. Ugh. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go throw up now.

Suji said...

Yeeeks, can't believe how many times I misspelled python. He he he. I wonder if phytons are any less scary.

sheila said...

Shouldn't have said anything - I never even noticed that one! My usual misspelling is Firday, to which my coffee buddy always used to say "I'm busy on Firday, but Friday is fine." Hardy har har. Some people.

I think you need to join our Silly Ladies Club, Suji.

Suji said...

OK, I just had my coffee and realized that I only mispelled it once LOL. Do I still qualify as an SLC member?

sheila said...

Well, you would have got MORE points if you'd spelled it wrong at least 3X, because that would have been REALLY silly, but I think I can cut you some slacks this time (or a blouse, whatever's your fancy).

Silly Lady Suji. Sounds perfectly charming.

Suji said...

Thank you! :) Accepted with a deep bow. LOL.

Samantha said...

Of course I'm not going to say no. It would be rude not to accept a gift.

And I'm going to politely refrain from any snake charming jokes. Damn, I'm such a lady!

Rebecca said...

I live very far away from Sheila, just to be clear, so I know she's not referring to me in that sweeping "silly" generalization.

But she's welcome to borrow from my lampshade hat collection anytime she's in my neighbourhood.

BTW, I think that snakes are likely self-limiting. They seem to have this penchant for crossing roads during rush hour. We're always finding flattened ones when we go for walks.

And if you have any crows, raccoons, or owls (foxes? skunks?) around your place, they'll help keep the snakey population under control. (Yes, I looked it up - trust me...)

Rebecca said...

"You must have some real pull to be able to send Rupert after me..."

This is just so well done it's worth quoting.

You will soon have to change the rating on your blog to Adult just because of the comments.

sheila said...

Damn, are you EVER. One day I hope to aspire to your level of ladyness.

sheila said...

Rebecca, you live SO FAR AWAY from me that I could NEVER just say, drop a box of snakes off on your doorstep, now could I?

Love lampshades though. Trade ya!

I have every faith that you looked those predators up. I will try to enlist some crows around here. Or owls. We don't seem to have skunks or raccoons, funnily enough, considering we live near a nature sanctuary.

And I hate to rub it in, but you are a founding member of the Silly Ladies Club, although I believe we have another name for it. I have pictures...

Samantha said...

And here I thought I was being so subtle, yet Rebecca ever so quickly picked up on it.
I guess great minds think alike.

sheila said...

I'll have to change the rating on my blog? Oh puleeze. Restrict certain comments is more like it.

Goodness me. I am so pure and virginal of mind that all this smuttiness shocks me. SHOCKS me, I say.

(does this mean that I do not have a great mind?)

Samantha said...

No, it means you have risen above us in ladyness.

And I'm typing this with a straight face. Really.

sheila said...

A straight face! HA! Well, I did get THAT one, fortunately. I was getting a little worried about all the double entendres I was missing - not good, I might lose my position in the Silly Ladies Club and become known as Very Slow Sheila.

Oooh, I'm floating away on my balloon of ladyness! Oooooooo!

(and I'm typing THAT with a straight face)

Rebecca said...

Did you hire one of those helium canister thingies? Like in "Up"?

I suspect it must take a lot of balloons to gain enough loft to clear the gutters.

sheila said...

Such wit. I will laugh gleefully in your direction as I float by on my blob of ladyness.

You just want me to sic Rupert on you, don't you? Better watch out, you might be opening the door one day and there will be ole Bulgey Eyes, in his fishnets, gazing adoringly at you (I'll have stolen his jacket in case you're wondering).

Rebecca said...

Sheila writes: as I float by on my blob of ladyness.

Oh, my.

*averts eyes*

You know, I wouldn't mind having Rupert come over for a visit. He's likely very entertaining in person and I bet we'd have an excellent time sipping raspberry margaritas on the deck. You could come, too... and do bring the jacket, won't you?

Samantha said...

Sheila writes: as I float by on my blob of ladyness.

That is just a gorgeous visual Sheila ;-) I don't think I've ever heard the phrase 'blob of ladyness'.

I need to check out this jacket again.
I do remember the boots and wondering how in heck doodle he could walk so well in them.

sheila said...

Well, I am full of them. Gorgeous visuals, I mean. And really, given the state of my corpus, blob is entirely appropriate.

His jacket is amazing. Amazing. Although I bought a brand-new jacket yesterday for $8 and it is almost as amazing. I might even post of photo of it I am so in love with it. I could probably float a bit in it, too. It would enhance my ladyness greatly.