Pacific Gopher Snake

this morning dylan and i had the opportunity to cut 2 YES, 2 pacific gopher snakes out of our landlords plastic garden mesh. yesterday afternoon i had found the first snake and seeing as how it was 4 ft long, gave it some space and just admired it.  falling asleep last night i had the slightest worry that given its curious location & lack of movement either it was busy eating (couldn't see the top quarter of its body) or maybe the snake wasn't ok.  this morning first thing i went to see if the snake was still there, it was... cold and unresponsive.  we worked w/ diligence and respect and a heightened sense of urgency.  soon it began twisting and curling around my arm as i kept it both from re-entwining itself and from dylan and the scissors.  hectic once it began to move, it was also the first sigh of relief, its still alive, we are not too late! at one point the snake let out a loud hiss! this is a trait of gopher snakes which are known to be mistaken for rattlesnakes as they will also shake their tails when disturbed!  lets just say the hiss is unnerving, to say the least.  it was a good sign to "calm thy self' inside and out.  slow our vibrations, talk softly to the snake, explain what is going on.

as the first snake was finally released from its mesh bondage i began to pick up all the garden mesh and throw it in the back of the truck.  suddenly, a yelp and a wild jump back, (that would be me!) as yet another snake was found caught up in a separate pile of mesh.  curiously, the snake we had just released was making its way right toward the 2nd trapped snake!  incidentally, this posed a challenge. how to release the trapped snake and keep the free snake from getting trapped again! my oh my! somehow we did it!  and slowly slowly the snakes slithered away into the tall tall grass.

you see, the garden mesh had been left laying around under a pine tree and the snakes became terribly tangled up as their little heads fit though the holes but their big bodies did not.  due to the nature of scales, once they got through a hole, they could not back out!

all in all, it was a 30 minute surgery.  two people, two scissors, lots of holding snakes back! they had a long cold night but survival at least for now, is ensured!  i'm hoping the newly freed snakes have worked up an appetite and go munch the gophers in the garden (not the precious birds)!

a possible moral to this story?  keep black plastic garden mesh off the ground, yes! whether or not its yours, pick it up and put it away out of reach of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals! how thankful i currently am that our captive was a harmless gohper snake!  can you imagine how different the story would be if it had been a skunk, a rattle snake, a cougar, an owl or raptor! whew!

so, i'm a little jittery and snake smelly, but am currently breathing deeply over a cup of blue bottle coffee.