Snakeless in Seattle

Or “Sixteen Feet of Elbow Room”

We have not lost another egg to a snake (that we know of) for a week, and have now transplanted three black rat snakes,  noosed in or around the garden shed/henhouse to an abandoned property a mile away. So far, into the snake bag, we’ve inserted two five footers and one six footer (today.)

Of note, not a one has offered to strike, or to musk (if you don’t know this, you’re fortunate) or act in any way except to want to move along. They have all escaped the noose of the snake-grabber because I don’t want to suffocate them or crush their ribs. If we didn’t have eggs to tempt them, I’d be delighted to have them around.

But it is a perfect Final Solution (except for causing the Goose Creek Herptile Team to completely do something other than the task they intended to do at unexpected times of any day of the week.) Here’s how it will work:

By the end of the summer, at this rate, we will have relocated maybe three dozen snakes to a common habitat–so many that the only thing to eat there by fall will be snakes. Snakes eating snakes.

The last one standing (er, slithering)–will be an eight foot long one foot diameter specimen. He will at last begin with his tail and, meal completed and snake consumed, we will be free of egg eaters on Goose Creek.

And we’ll be knee-deep in rats, mice, voles, chipmunks, squirrels and….

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Didn’t know you kept chickens, assuming those are chicken eggs the snakes would like to dine on. Don’t recall pics or tales of chickens past, but my memories of poultry prose are fading as I get older.

  2. We took a chicken hiatus for a few years when the avalanche off the barn roof wiped out the coop of 20011. We rebuilt on the house side of the street and have had hens again for a bit more than a year. I need to write more about them. They are part of the rhythm of life here, love or not, and it would be strange to not have them around now. They have names. So you know what that means.