Friday, July 14, 2006

Baby Pictures

This baby garter snake popped out of the leaf mulch when I was reburying an irrigation pipe that I had repaired.

What a cutie! The big innocent eyes are especially appealing to humans. It's why we like puppies (or kittens...shudder) so much. In fact, we have taken that to the extreme in some dog varieties by breeding for a "permanent" big-eyed puppy look. Think about chihuahas, pekinese, and other microcanines.

Garter snakes are wonderfully harmless snakes. Having said that, I have to add that a garter snake did send me to the doctor's office when I was about 12.

I had caught a pregnant garter snake, who was beginning to release her wiggling babies. Mom said I really should let this one go since she was trying to give birth, so I started walking across the back yard, past my Aunt's house and to the woods to release it.

Along the way, the garter snake wriggled her head loose and latched on to my hand near the base of the thumb. Normally, I would probably have dropped her at that point, but she was pregnant and it didn't hurt that much...besides, I was almost to the woods. So I walked on with the snake gnawing at my hand.

I remember my Aunt S. seeing me and saying, " Is that snake BITING you?" I know she thought I was crazy when I answered, "Yes, but it's okay."

Across the road and into the woods, I placed my snake attached hand down on the ground and she let go and slithered off.

I had a neat arrangement of tiny bleeding perforations on my hand which Mom cleaned and medicated....remember Tincture of Iodine? Ouch! I'll take the snakebite anytime over that stuff.

The next day my hand was swollen and purple so off we went to the doctor. Mom knew it was just a garter snake since I was always bringing snakes home, so she wasn't worried about the bite being poisonous. Still, something was obviously wrong. It turned out that allowing the snake to gnaw had broken some blood vessels. No big deal. It all cleared up in a day or so.

Surprisingly, my Mom's hair did not turn grey until long after I had left home.
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Rurality said...

Aww, cyooot!

threecollie said...

I used to really like garter snakes until about five of them moved into the plants around the garden pond and started eating all the frogs.

Likes2mtnbike said...

Dear God, Cracker, you remind me of my brother! He was always bringing something home, always had his picture in the local paper for some off-the-wall reptile/animal scheme he had going. One year he cleared paths through the woods behind our house (not much of that in Bradenton anymore), set up "scenic overlooks" with cages of snakes, turtles, assorted animal skeletons, an iguana, a skunk and an armadillo he rescued from the road as a baby. He hooked up a Radio Flyer to the back of dad's riding lawnmower, charged .25 a ride, and took the neighborhood kids on a jungle cruise through the wilds of Florida. He also had a 3-story treehouse with a "viewing deck." Kids would actually PAY the son-of-a-gun to spend the night up there in the midst of "the veldt." No wonder the local newslady kept showing up: he was (and still is) a trip. You two would totally bond. Let's see if I can get him interested in blogging...

robin andrea said...

You're right about cuteness being all about those big innocent eyes. Great story about the 12-year old who would grow up to be the man who still notices the cuteness in garter snakes.

Mrs. S said...

Okay. First thing first - you can carry baby snakes around and fawn over them but you shudder at the thought of kittens??? Somehow... not as surprising coming from you as I thought it might be :P

Secondly - I'm totally on your aunt's side on this one. "Yes, but it's okay" is not the answer most adults would be looking for in that situation. Good on ya for putting up with the biting and letting Momma Snake go, though.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Yeah, well, you go ahead and hold all the snakes you want. I'll pass. I am one of those snake-fearin' chickens everybody knows about. Live and let live, I always say. Just don't live in my neighborhood.

Hurricane Teen said...

Wow. I'm not afraid of snakes (nonpoisonous, that is), but I don't think I could put up with one gnawing on my hand under any circumstance. Mr. FC, you are one very interesting person.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

I've never heard anyone describe a reptile's eyes as "cute" and "innocent." The usual descriptions include adjectives such as "cold, heartless, penetrating", etc. I wonder what you would write about the eyes of a great white shark?

PS - Never let a birthing shark gnaw on your hand, not even for a little while.

Laura said...

LOL, good thing you didn't bring home a 3 foot gator.
er...or did you?

I can't believe your mom didnt start going grey until till you moved out!
She has got to be a saint. :)

roger said...

mmmmmmmm, snakes. no, i don't really eat them. i brought home all sorts of snakes when i was 12 and thereabouts. i had a three foot gopher snake for a year. had to forcefeed it, or so the nice guy at the local petshop, specializing in reptiles, told me. fill a small plastic tube with hamburger, insert it in the snake's mouth, and push a plunger into the tube to slide the burger into the snake. the snake thrived and grew. i took it back where i found it and let it go. someday i'll tell you about the snake my brother brought home that escaped and made its way into the toilet tank in my parent's bathroom.

Deb said...

Awww, cute. :) And hooray for your mom for putting up with your adventures!'re admitting that kittens just might be cute? You softie!

Wayne said...

Not to belabor, but.. "awwwwww". You've hit my soft spot. I've had a love of garter snakes since I was a kid, and have seldom seen one. It's always been DeKay's brown snakes (which is just fine).

BTW, if you ever run across one of Stephen Jay Gould's first three books, it's in one of them that he has an essay on the big eyes thing. He uses the evolving portrait of Mickey Mouse as an example. The Mickey Mouse of the 1920's (Steamboat Willie?) was a truly ratty, disgusting-looking thing.

Ava said...

Youch! I think I would have let go on the first bite whether it hurt or not! Just the idea!

Floridacracker said...

Even Hick might agree.

Kind of like otters and fish.

That is too funny, we did something similar...even had a wild man exhibit where my buddy Harry would run around in the screened house (his cage). We charged a quarter too.

I think we are hardwired for the big-eyed "aahhhhhhh" feeling.

Mrs. S,
Kittens grow up into CATS. They don't tell you that at the kitten store. :)

Do you fear kittens too?

When I look down my long list of things that have bit me the shark group is to keep it that way.

What a memory! Why yes I did...

we have had a handful of snakes escape in the house. most of them turned up...

No, wait! Let me check my, no, I didn't mean that...

This baby was especially cute for a snake. Thanks for the SJG tip, I'll look into it.

They're tiny teeth...more like blackberry thorns. Not fangy at all.

karla said...

I LOVE the pictures of that tiny little snake! I am so jealous that you took those pictures instead of me. At my house, I have to spot the snakes before my husband does because he'll hack them with a kitchen knife. Big sissy.

Floridacracker said...

Welcome to Pure Florida! Now, about your husband's snake sensitivity training...

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

What a little cutie.

The snake in labor couldn't help but bite you...she was probably having a contraction *S*.

Floridacracker said...

Yes, and they do get a bit cranky...