Friday, July 20, 2007

Snake Handlers

Friday morning, a herpetological first for our kids! A Garter Snake fell into one of our basement window wells. Of course everyone wanted to see it. Several kids wanted to catch it.

Mary was way cool on their catching the snake. But I wanted to be "Jim Fowler" to my family's "Marlin Perkins" in our own adventure of Wild Kingdom. So I found a short piece of PVC pipe. Matthew ran to grab some shoe strings. And I assembled the infamous Snake Noose by putting the string through the pipe with a loop at the action end and pulling tight on the strings at the handle (only later to find out that my original design had already been patented, think of all the money I could have made if I'd been there first!).

So I made my PVC Snake Noose. "Jim will now attempt to use the snake noose to catch the wild, fast, and wily immature Garter Snake." And I caught the snake! Now, of course this particular snake was so young that any teeth it has wouldn't have broken my skin. It's just the DIY nostalgia from all those Saturday evenings as a kid getting out of the bath, warming in front of the wood stove, and watching Marlin and Jim wrestle with all kinds of wild critters. All I cared was "I made a snake noose, AND IT WORKED!!!!"

Though everyone was willing to trample Mary's flowers to see the snake in the window well, only a few wanted to touch or handle the snake. Of course, for regular readers it will come as no suprise that Clara wanted to pet and hold the serpent first. After all, she's held pythons and boa constrictors at the Bemidji Science Museum.

Sophie pet the snake. John was a little creeped out by it. Stella wanted to kiss it an hold it, but she has this oral fixation at her age that kind-of made me cringe thinking what she might do. So we just let her pet it. Elsie did a good job handling the snake.

"Are you going to kill it, Dad?"

"No. It eats all kinds of pests. This is a helpful little critter."

We let it go in the strawberry patch. It probably has left by now. But I hope it sticks around and eats lots of grasshoppers.

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