A week ago today was a day for snakes. Though – sadly, I must add – it was not a day for living snakes…
Rattlesnakes and White Tail Deer
Let’s start with the good news. Or at least the benign-if-slightly-amusing news. To set the stage, imagine yourself walking across the still dewy lawn south of the carriage barn. A light morning mist still hangs in the air adding a slightly bluish, fuzzy aspect to the vegetable garden, orchard, and meadows beyond.
Your eyes would suddenly, inevitably notice a coiled rattlesnake in the middle of the Swiss chard!
As you wander along past two varieties of beets interspersed with a fresh crop of French Breakfast Radishes your eyes would suddenly, inevitably notice a coiled rattlesnake in the middle of the Swiss chard!
But don’t panic. It’s not real. More precisely, it’s not a live rattlesnake. It is a lifelike rubber decoy. Before I explain to you why this rubber rattlesnake is coiled, rattle raised and head drawn up and back with fangs bared, here’s a quick backstory.
Back in May Lake Champlain water levels were low and dropping. But June brought rain, rain, rain. The lake level went up, up, up.
Doug called to say that two ducks were cuddled up asleep with the rubber rattlesnake…
After many weeks of duck waste remediation (DWR) I suffered a small stroke of genius. We needed a decoy predator! I researched and discovered that others had found that a coiled rubber rattlesnake deterred ducks, geese, seagulls, even pelicans. Perfect.
I placed the order and chuckled my way down to the dock on deployment day. An hour or two later Doug called to say that two ducks were cuddled up asleep with the rubber rattlesnake…
White Tail Deer Decoy
What to do with a worthless rubber rattlesnake? A few silly pranks came to mind, but before I could regroup and execute, I discovered that Doug had transferred the rubber rattlesnake to one of the Swiss chard patches in our vegetable garden that the white tail deer have been devouring. Good idea!
It’s too early to determine for certain whether or not the rattler is going to dissuade the deer, but I’ll update you if there’s any news.
Corn Snake Roadkill
In sorrier stories, this unfortunate sight caused me to pause during a recent bike ride.
I pedaled past this exotic roadkill on a Willsboro Point bike ride, and circled back to try and identify the unfortunate fellow. Aside from the always disturbing sight of roadkill, this snake instantly reminded me of the mystery snake I spied in the rhubarb a few years ago. In fact, I’m almost 100% certain now that is the same species I failed to identify then.
A quick search online suggests to me that it might be an anerythristic corn snake. Check out the photograph below and decide for yourself.