Sunday, July 11, 2010
I was never the kid who collected reptiles. I was by no means "snake boy" (not that it would have been out of character, but I grew up in a very suburban neighborhood without ditches or creeks or woods). Having moved to the country as an adult, I took up the habit of making sure turtles don't get run over. When I'm driving (which I do a lot, the downside of living on land) I stop for all turtles on the road. I pull over, I get out, I pick the turtle up and carry it across in the direction it was going. I usually try to place it on the opposite side of the ditch, but that's not always possible. I toyed with the idea of keeping some sort of turtle treat (they exist, I googled it) with me to reward my shelled compadres, but Megan assured me it would be unfair to them, as it would ruin them on wild food and they would become despondent and lead deeply unfulfilling lives thereafter.
This reptile rescue has unfortunately extended to our own backyard because of the dogs. This morning I was sitting in the studio, working on songs for the new album (due out August 15th, 2011 - set a reminder in your phone). I looked out the window and saw that Riker was gnawing on something in the yard. I put the guitar down and ran outside to get it away from him - I had that horrible feeling that he'd killed it, but was thankfully wrong. He'd only gnawed the very outside of the shell and the turtle inside was fine. (see picture above) I washed him off and carried him down to the edge of our neighbor's woods to let him go.
Also on the reptile front, we had a snake in the house last week and instead of killing it I trapped it inside a bucket and took it down to the ditch. Here's how it went down:
0. Look snake up on the internet to make sure it's not poisonous. Google "[name of your state] native snakes" for pictures. If you're (reasonably) sure that it's not going to kill you, proceed to my snake handling instructions. I am 100% not responsible for you getting bitten, so do this at your own risk.
1. Trap snake under appliance (in our case a washing machine).
2. Get a 5 gallon bucket with a lid and broom or mop. Put a wet rag in the bottom of the bucket.
3. Set the bucket down on it's side and either wait for the snake to climb in (it will head toward the moisture), or speed it along by tapping it's body with the broom or mop. (I tapped, but I was on top of the washing machine because even though I'm not afraid of snakes, why take chances?)
4. Once it's in the bucket use the broom or mop handle to pull the bucket back upright and quickly set the lid on. Place your hand on the lid, but don't snap it in place, you just don't want it falling off.
5. Now carry the (sort of) sealed bucket out to a ditch or woods or stream far away from your house. Set it down and use the broom to knock it over (away from you). Don't run. If the snake is super mad, it will follow you. Most likely it will just slither away because it really didn't like being in a bucket. If the snake doesn't come out instantly, go away slowly and quietly and come back later. It will be gone.
6. Collect your bucket and go about your business. If you end up with multiple snakes or it keeps coming back, you might have a mouse problem that you don't know about. You should look into it.
So that's me and reptiles. I love one of them and am cautiously respectful of the other.
Posted by megan/mason at 10:42 AM