Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Kiss Me Coldly

Avoid kissing the snakes in the Okanagan. Yes,Really
Like riding a bike one never loses the ability to snaggle a snake.
Lightly tread on his tail and a quick pin to the ground with a finely tuned forked branch. Then a thumb and forefinger gently around his neck to hoist him to eye level view. A fine specimen of garter snake, close to 4 feet long hanging docilely, probably unsure how he ever got into this mess. Meanwhile, the group I was impressing were content to run a 100 meters in almost world  record time before goggling my catch from afar. While we possibly had eye contact, there were no allusions of mutual love. BTW. How does one go about sexing a snake? Would it be a proper before dinner conversation item? Even though not as dynamic - and lacking entirely the poisonous punch - as his rattler cousin (pictured), moving in close enough for a peck on the lips would inevitably cause me some pain. Once I startled a field mouse while picking up a bale of hay to toss up on the wagon. Little blighter neatly and swiftly lodged onto my middle finger and proceeded to hang on for dear life, refusing to be flung off or release his grip. Hard core persuasion with the tine of a pitchfork finally triggered a release mechanism, leaving me with  four blood gushing holes. But I survived. The mouse - well on with the rest of the story. My vain attempt to convince everybody that snake skin was dry to the touch and as far from slimy as you can get fell on deaf ears. The bravest of the bunch got within ten foot peering carefully with widened eyes. For this wriggler a happy ending as I plopped him on the ground and he slithered away at high speed disappearing under the first available log. And even with scientific explanations, I still marvel how they manage that side-winding, slithering method of travel.
Photo by Flickr user Mike Johnston used under Creative Common

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