As regular readers will know, I’ve been on a hiking kick lately. I can’t tell you how much fun Brody and I have had exploring the region together, despite my persistent and uneasy fears about mountain lions that my friend who has spent months researching said lions has done nothing to dissuade. Her only input was, “get an airhorn,” and, “you’re not running, are you? Because then you look like prey.”
No matter, it’s worth it. Better to go out in a flame of glory and be eaten by a cougar than be eaten by the couch.
Aside from the physical exercise and the mental stimulation of watching out for predatory cats, we are also enjoying the springtime blossoms and the less frightening forms of wildlife more prevalent in the area. Such as the oodles of lizards.
SO many lizards. Large ones, little ones, basking, scurrying. Despite this reptilian smorgasbord, I was somewhat surprised and not at all distressed that we haven’t come across any snakes. I am OK with this.
You’d think a desert mountain like this would be prime rattler territory- and it is- but they are generally avoidable if you stay to the cleared trails. In fact, the most assertive animal I’ve seen is this one:
Wile E. Coyote couldn’t give two hoots about all the humans around. Behind me, a group of schoolchildren ran amuk in the parking lot. He didn’t care. After spotting this guy I did mention to the woman with the off leash Maltese that she might want to reconsider her plans. (She did.)
My point is, it’s been a real pleasure to get out and commune with nature, especially since our own yards tend to be a little light on the wildlife-side. Except from that bobcat we had, I guess, and the skunk, and the coyotes. Seven years in this house and we’ve only seen a snake twice.
Oh, make that three times.
Today, my daughter opened the front door to go enjoy the afternoon sun, and let out a screech. “There’s a snake out there!” she yelled, slamming the door.
I walked over, thinking it would be another 12 inch gopher snake like the last one. And there, coiled on our welcome mat like the boss that he is, a King snake about 8000000 feet long. Somewhere between 3 feet and 8000000, at least.
He was a Burmese python as far as I’m concerned, a massive beast. It was kind of him to pose directly underneath the front window so we could safely press our faces to the door like a reverse zoo.
He soon realized he had an audience, craning his neck or whatever the heck snakes have to peer up at the five inquisitive primate and canine faces plastered to the glass in front of him. He stuck his tongue out as if to say, “I just came in from the sun for a moment, calm down,” and off he slithered into the front yard, passing right by the statue of St. Joseph huddled headfirst in the dirt like a sad ostrich.
I buried the St. Joseph statue as instructed by the more devout Catholics among you who informed me he is the patron saint of home selling, but maybe my behavior in college is still counting against me since I’m still waiting for him to pull through. So I guess I don’t really need to go far for wildlife, really- I have to find a way to work that to my advantage. I wonder if I should upgrade our MLS to read “Resplendent King Snake viewing from the front porch.” I’m sure that would bring ‘em in.