Friday, May 05, 2006

Encountering Medusa, Saving Snakes, and No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The weather was nice. A bunch of us gathered at Dave’s shack on Cedar Creek late yesterday afternoon. After dinner, some grilled chicken with leftovers from the night before, we sat on the porch sampling bottles of Crooked Tree IPA (India Pale Ale). I kept watching the creek thinking I needed to retrieve my fly rod from the truck. It’s a small creek, but supposedly there are some Browns in it. About this time someone headed to the outhouse. "You all need to see this," he yells. We head over there and on the ground, tangled up in some netting, were four large Blue Racers (snakes). Examining the netting, Dave recognizes it as stuff he’s used to save plants from deer. The netting must have been pulled off the plants and blown around on the ground, which formed it into a large ball. These snakes had got tangled into this ball of webbing, creating a Medusa like scene. Since snakes don’t have great capability to back up, they kept trying to get through the netting, which only entangled them more. As you can imagine, by the time we found them, they were plenty mad at the world.

It was obvious that we had to do something. I rejected the call for a mercy killing, thinking I could get them out. Dave found an old pair of scissors in the shack. We came up with a couple of knives. Being careful to avoid their heads, I started cutting the netting. It wasn’t easy as each of these snakes were 3-4 feet or so long and caught into a piece of netting rolled into a ball about two feet in diameter. Sticking out of this ball were four tails and three heads (one head was caught inside the tangled webbing). The first snake was easy to get out. I pinned his head and was able to work the knife between his skin and the nylon webbing, cutting each band. Soon, he was free and took off as soon as I dropped him on the ground. The other three snakes were even more tangled and two of their heads were next to each other. Dave had a stick and was trying to keep one of the snakes away from me as I worked on the other (with only two hands, I could only hold one snake at a time). At some point, the snake got away from Dave’s stick and as I was concentrating on freeing the other snake, I was nailed twice on my hand. Although they’re not poisonous, it didn’t feel particularly good. As the old saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished."

We finally got the snakes free. The last one died and may have been dead when we started, as it was the one whose head was deeply enmeshed in the netting. It was dark by the time we finished and we quickly packed up and went home.

For previous stories about Sage and Snakes, click here.

You're getting a better view of my hair challenged head than the snakes, but hopefully these pictures give you some idea of what happened last night. I cut the faces of other folks out since I'm not sure they want to be plastered across the WWW. It was too bad that the camera came out after we'd already freed two of the snakes.

33 comments:

  1. good for you for making the effort to save them.

    And now you can regale any "youngsters" you meet with the story of the time you were bitten repeatedly by a gang of snakes:-)

    here from micheles today

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  2. Pa Ingalls is back at it! Good for you for trying. When was the first time you held a snake by the head?

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  3. Egad! They would have all been dead if I had found them. I am very phobic of snakes. I wouldn't have killed them but if they were to survive, they would have had to learn how to survive wearing netting and dragging three others around. Next time I have a snake problem, I think I will call you!

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  4. Murf, can you create me a South Park character that looks a little more like Pa Ingalls and a little less like a Boy Scout cherub?

    Ed, I really don't go out of my way to encounter snakes.

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  5. Wow. That is awesome. Good for you for doing all you could to save them. I'm sorry for the 4th snake but I'm glad you were able to rescue the 3.

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  6. Ewwwwwwwwwwwww!

    Snakes alive!!

    Think I'm gonna *toss my cookies*!! :)

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  7. yikes! sir Jeff, that is really too much fo r me...SNAKES..no way!

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  8. That sounds exactly like something Michael would do....& I would run away ;)
    Stop asking Murf for another SP character....I maintain my position that the one you have is perfect!

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  9. Wow Sage, I love reading your adventures. I bet Grizzle Adams would have done the same thing. Where did you get biten? Are you alright. I love your stories. Michele sent me tonight. Does she know that you play with snakes?

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  10. That was so incredibly kind of you! I've never seen the blue racers before and I've lived in various parts of NC. Are they more common than I realize? Again, you were unbelievably kind, so proud to have you as a fellow carolinian!

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  11. This is interesting. Half of you think I'm a saint and the other half crazy. I'm probably somewhere in the middle.

    LD--I was bit on my middle two fingers, right below the knuckle. I'm fine. They're not poisonous, except that all wild animals carry junk in their salvia, so I washed my hand well.

    Grins, I'm from NC, but haven't lived there in two decades. I trying to remember if I've seen a blue racer there? I think I must have somewhere along the line. I'm in Michigan now, but much of my adult life has been out west, hence the name Sage (I think I've got sagebrush now in my blood).

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  12. sage~ no, don't think you're crazy for saving the snakes, I would have called for help had I encountered them.

    Since wetland spans the back of our property, we have lots of 'nature' things happening here. We are now approaching turtle season... I could write a whole post on them, especially the snappers, hubby rescued more than one without losing a finger!

    Are you visiting Michigan or living here now?

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  13. Karen, I've been living in SW Michigan for the past 2 1/2 years. I'm still looking for the hills!

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  14. Oh come on, Sage. You've been to the U.P.

    Thanks for the pictures! Mmmmm...scalp. :-)

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  15. good for you!! you are brave- a real live hero!!! the lets are also very impressed! funny that the phrase a good deed never goes unpunished was in my head just t'other day! but good on you for trying.

    we went to a place in southern turkey that keeps and breeds snakes and supplies anti-venom, it also has loads of tropical plants and alligators. we went on a rainy day and the lets were a little scared so despite being rathjer nervous myself i agreed to hold one to try to 'unscare' them!

    it was quite lovely. i'm still pretty sure i would not be so brave if i came across a bunch or writhing angry young serpents, but i hope it would help!

    have a lovely weekend oh brave one.

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  16. oh and btw what would cornmeal be?

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  17. Thanks for coming by my blog. This is some horrific story...Poor snakes and poor you, too! I felt bad to read that the one snake died...it has to be an awful thing to be tangled up ;ike that...one's worst nightmare! You are very brave to have done what you did, poisenous or not!

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  18. Oh yeah Murf, you're right, I forgot about the UP and the Porcupine Hills.

    Keda, you're the brave one holding a poisonous snake to teach your children not to be afraid. And Cornmeal is a ground corn (like flour but coarser) that is used to make things like cornbread and hushpuppies and as a good batter for frying fish, etc. It's a Southern (USA) kind of food.

    OldLady (I hate calling you that. You always have some interesting stories and I enjoy reading them.

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  19. I'm gonna have to look around a bit more, I haven't been able to find cornmeal anywhere around here :(
    Murf's right, great photos!

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  20. This post gave me the heebie-jeebies!

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  21. I admire you for freeing them; but I don't think I would have had the guts to especially after getting bit.

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  22. I have never heard of a blue racer in NC, Sage. Sorry you got bitten. I applaud your efforts at freeing the snakes, but I would have been more inclined to let them stay there.....snake karma and all that.

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  23. Well done with the snakes!

    Michele sent me here.

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  24. Daydreamer - Fair trade. We don't have vegemite. :-)

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  25. Daydreamer, surely being from Georgia, you know what cornmeal is? Maybe I need to get into the export business--Australia and Turkey seem to be a wide-open market!

    Surcie, sorry!

    Tim, Don't admire me for this... I really didn't mind and it makes a great story.

    Kenju, maybe they're not in NC? THey're pretty common up here--but here we don't have many poisonous snakes, just a small timber rattler variety and they're endangered.

    Jean-luc, good to see you Captain.

    Murf, I don't think I would trade cornmeal for vegemite, I wasn't overly impressed with the paste and most americans wouldn't know what it is had the word not showed up in a song.

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  26. I cannot believe you "so casually" write about being bitten by a snake!!! I've always said it wouldn't matter if they were poisonous or not because I would have a heart attack!
    What a great post...I was reading it aloud to hubby because of the fly fishing into.
    Great pics too!

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  27. How great that you guys put aside what you were doing to save another living creature.
    Michele sent me today.

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  28. those snakes were lucky to have you as their champion and keep them alive...all except the poor guy who died. Hope your bite feels better!

    michele sent me.

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  29. I'm not sure I'd be so helpful when it comes to snakes but what a great deed and what a great post.

    The photos are grand, especially the last one in which we get to view a gorgeous creek in the background.

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  30. So Sage is familiar with a bit of the music of the '80's. Impressive.

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  31. Come on now Sage. Of course I know what cornmeal is. YUMMY ;) I just can't find anyone who sells it so maybe that export idea is a good one. Vegemite is repulsive although the kids like it. Love the song though :)

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  32. Deana, believe me, if it would have been a poisonous snake, I wouldn't have been quite as casual in my writings.

    Good to see you here Star and Linda.

    V, not only do you get a vew of the creek in that last picture, but also a view of the cooler!

    Yes Murf, I did listen to some music in the 80s--it was only in the late 80s that classic stations became popular and disconnected me from popular music.

    Daydreamer, so you have to grow up with vegimite to enjoy its taste? I'm surprised there is no cornmeal down under. I really didn't think you'd gotten through school in Georgia without knowing about cornmeal.

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  33. Wow! That's some story! Very brave of you to save the snakes and set them free!

    Ava

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