July 28, 2016

Food Chain

It is a very snakey year.  I know that isn't a word, but it works.

In the spring, Bang put on his big boy pants and killed a copperhead that was near our garage.  This, after saving our Dachshund from getting bit.  Which, incidentally, would have been the third time that a copperhead has bitten Roscoe the sausage dog in the past 3 years.  I know exactly how much that vet bill costs.
On June 10th, lightning struck the tallest tree in my yard, causing a couple hundred years of oak tree to come crashing down.  Prior commitments and weather broke the clean up into several weekends of work.  It seemed like each time we moved a large leafy branch, something came slithering out.  I killed two snakes during that time, and let a few slither off.  
There was a recent news story saying that this year's "crop" of cicadas is large, thereby providing an increased food source for both amphibians and snakes.  I think our snakes like to eat toads.  
Last week, just after dark, Boom let Roscoe outside.  The little bugger likes to move all the splash guards under our gutter downspouts, because toads live under them, and likes to lick them - maybe to get high.  I am not sure, as I am not up to speed on Dachshund recreational drug use, or if the toads in my yard are the actual type of toad that you lick to get high.
Boom saw that Roscoe was going straight for the toad habitat, so she walked out behind him, scolding him.  As she tried to get his attention, something caught her eye.  This guy:

Just about two feet away, and somewhat intently eyeing her and Roscoe - or most likely, he was after the same toad that Roscoe had seen.  
This led to some shrieking until Boom had the attention of those of us inside the house that could assist with getting the dog back inside while Boom went around to get a snake-killing hoe.
Once armed, there was a bit of hesitation, with Boom saying that she felt a little bad about killing such a pretty snake.  I sighed, and turned to find my shoes so I could take over snake-killing duties from her.  The screen door had just latched shut when I heard Boom scream, followed by half a dozen or so loud metallic whacks on the back porch concrete.  
I opened the door and looked out to find one solid copperhead had been turned into several twitching, decapitated pieces of snake, and Boom was still willing to scar the concrete with additional hoe-whacks, because "he came at me".  
Not sure what I need to concentrate on ridding my yard of - cicadas or toads - to discourage this serpent invasion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cicadas are noisy and you can put ear plugs in. Copperheads will bite and cost you a lot of money at the hospital. I haven't shot any cicadas but I have copperheads. The hoe and shovel is too close to take the chance of getting bit but I will run over them with a riding mower.