Sunday, April 1, 2012


I was about to drift into a 30-minute power nap before going to play Scrabble with my friend Anne when my Mom and stepfather (photo here, scroll down) summoned me to the yard. As you can see from the photos above (courtesy of my Mom), what greeted me on the driveway was a snake eating a rat! He was about halfway through and in no condition to scare us back, so we were able to observe from just a couple of feet away. You could see the muscles of the snake's back tensing and squeezing where that wrinkle is. The whole thing took about 10 minutes, after which the snake (which we estimated to be about 3' long) slithered up a short tree and slung itself across the branches of a bush (photo below) to begin the process of digestion - which will take up to 6 days. With this handy guide, I have identified the creature as - appropriately enough - a rat snake. Though we have seen snakes several times before* (photo of an eastern ribbon snake on the deck here, scroll down), it is more common for our "Marlin Perkins" moments to be about birds. This season, we've been watching the sandhill cranes stroll by with their 2 chicks (now about this size)!

*My Mom reports that one fell on her head a few years ago while she was gardening!

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