A while back in mid-September, my husband, my brother, snug and I were staining my mom’s deck. It was messy work. Plenty of splinters were handed out and many clothes will remain stained forever. It was a good time though, but a lot of work. Lots of small spaces that are a little too easy to miss.
After a while we needed a break. So I went in to make some food and bug, my brother and the snug went out along the grass to see what they could find. I come out to find them hanging out with a snake. Now more on the snake later, it was a garter snake, with a fancy name, that I will go over in detail in my local herp post. It was not my snake, who happens to live in the backyard also, that I caught for the first time ever and we have continued to catch repeatedly throughout the summer. We call him Norbert.
This snake, though very similar to Norbert, given they are the same species was not Norbert. We could tell because she, well, was a she (thanks to my husband’s sexing methods) and she had been caught before, by something like a cat or coyote, but had obviously gotten away.
Apparently the snug was feeling a little more adventurous that day. Maybe it was the toxic smell of stain in the air, or the red finish that deck was starting to have. Either way, when we made our usual offer of letting her hold the snake, for the first time, she said yes!
And she did great!
There is dad on the side to hep her out. The snake did great too. It was pretty relaxed and didn’t spray, which garter snakes do, a similar to skunks. It doesn’t smell as bad, but it is pretty bad.
Well, they were both doing fine until snug got a little confident. She then switched her holding method, from an open palm as you see above, to a more firm grasp. Well this startled us and the snake. While snug was probably not squeezing the snake very hard, those little hands can get a pretty god grip. The poor snake started wrangling back and forth to get out of the seemingly death grasp many a preschooler can have. This lasted about 2 seconds before snug completely realized what was going on. She then got startled herself and dropped the snake. The snake was just fine. She hung out in the sun with us for a while longer and snug went back to her normal refusal of snake holding. Snug felt as though she had been put back in her place.
We are still waiting for her to try again, but it will have to wait until she feels ready. Or until she forgets the first incident.