I caught my first wild garter in July!! Actually it is the first snake I have ever caught. This is fairly impressive in itself, but even more so given how many times I have been snake hunting. My husband thinks of it as a good way to spend quality time together. Every time we move or find a new open space of land, he is ready to go. I will go into snake hunting more in a later post, that is more about him. But this post, it is all about me and the glory of the first catch.
I was out in the yard pulling some weeds. They were the weeds with the prickly leaves, so I had on my gardening gloves. That is an important point, I had on gloves. Not thick ones, mind you, they are very flexible. I doubt this catch would have happened, had I not had the courage of the gloves. I had walked some weeds remnants to the garage and was almost done with my task when suddenly right by a tree, out of the corner of my eye, you would have missed it, had you not had my training and skill that I have learned from my husband, I saw a quick slither. Then I dove!!! And missed. I tried once more and grabbed it. Now there were a couple of problems here. While I may know a couple of things about snakes, I certainly have a lot to learn. My mistakes were that I didn’t think. I just saw and went for it. Which is great because that is the best way to get the snake. But in between the time that I had caught the snake and was frantically calling my husband. I had a couple small thoughts, 1. I hope this isn’t one of those poisonous species, 2. what in the world did I just do, 3. why in the world did I just do that, I don’t collect snakes. Well I guess the answers to these were 1. I have seen enough garters to know that what I was about to catch was a garter and 2. 3. I just must love my husband that much. Anyway, my husband, bug, comes running around the house. He wasn’t sure where I was since I had been going in and out and all the doors. Out of breath and looks just as frantic as I had sounded. He looks around saying, what’s wrong, what happened.” And I like the 12-year-old I probably am, I smiled and held up the tiny snake and said, “honey, I caught a snake!!” He then looked at me like a was a bit crazy. And we took the snake inside to take pictures.
Now, why did my husband look at me like I had lost it, when he spends hours on end, trying to do what I had accomplished in seconds? Well, he is used to more calm catchings, unless it is something huge and upon hearing my frantic calling, he thought I had somehow chopped of an appendage, broken a leg or was being chased by a rabid raccoon. Once he saw everything was okay and in order, besides his over enthusiastic wife, who had just caught her first snake ever after 3+ years of marriage with a snake loving husband!! He said in a nonchalant way, “ya honey, it’s pretty cool.” To which I responded, “Pretty cool? Excuse me, but I think you mean it is the most awesome thing ever and my toughness level just went up like a hundred points, right?” Which he replied with, “well it is just garter.” Just a garter? Just a garter? Of course it is a garter, we live in the suburbs!! Sometimes experience can be so haughty. At this point my enthusiasm waned a bit and I said, “oh, I thought you would be more excited, it is the first snake I have ever caught.” And he replied, lovingly, “oh, I am excited, I was just worried.” (about the rabid raccoon).
So there you have it. The glory story of my first catch. I have pictures to go along to.
It is not very big. About a year old, possibly.
He moved around a ton. For those who want to know specifics this is a Thamnophis elegans vagrans, commonly known as a Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. Once I was done showing him off to bug (husband) and snug, I had bug put him back outside. Right around where I had found him.
The silly thing is, that is not the end of this snake story. My husband has an eye for remembering snakes he has since once. This particular snake enjoys our yard and garden and has hung around all summer. Usually in the cool cracks and crevices between the fence rocks and the grass. We have caught him at least 3 or 4 times more and put him back right where we find him.