Wednesday, July 15, 2009

s'wonderful, s'marvelous, s'sssssss

I live in a tropical jungle.

OK. So I live in a little town near a tropical jungle.

But we have all the jungley things one would expect.

Palm trees. Vines. Thick foliage. Green everything (until the rain stops).

We even have a guy who sells bottled water with a recorded Tarzan yell. What could be more jungley than to have Johnny Weissmuller shilling agua?

And wildlife. No lions. No tigers. But you know all about our iguanas (pictured above) and crocodiles.

Monday morning something new appeared.

Around 7 I heard the swallow colony in pure commotion. I walked out on the balcony and saw them swooping and chattering.

I was positive I knew the cause. Monday is Marta's day to work in the garden. I thought I would walk downstairs and find her in full battle mode with her garden hose and stick doing a full demolition of the remnant swallow condos.

So, downstairs I go. But no Marta.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. And not just any movement. A slithery, supple, subtle movement.

A large snake was making a hasty retreat into the neighbor's garden.

I should say: a very large snake. I estimated it to be just under 6 feet. But it was traveling at "get me out of here" speed, so I would swear to the length.

But I saw enough to identify it. The dark brown body with creamy stripes marked it as a common king snake.

Anyone who has ever had a pet snake knows that king snakes make the best pets. And they are among the best snakes to have in your own garden. Their favorite comida includes the types of varmints most of us would like to not have around: rodents and venomous snakes (including, coral snakes). They also have a certain fondness for birds, chicks, and eggs. That helps to explain the swallow panic.

The sad thing is that the snake will most likely come to an untimely end. Humans have very little regard for even the most beneficial of snakes -- especially, humans with well-sharpened machetes. And this fellow will not go unnoticed because of his size.

He could not possibly support his metabolism in these meager gardens along the beach. I am guessing that he is an inhabitant of the laguna, displaced or disoriented. If I could have caught him, I would have taken him back over there.

This was a pleasant encounter. I have seen only two other live snakes in this area: both in La Manzanilla, and both venomous. Interesting, but not pleasant.

But La Manzanilla is rural. It plays upstate New York to Melaque's Manhattan. You can see the carcasses of very long snakes on the road to La Manzanilla -- victims of herpetolgical road rage.

The king snake has most likely survived years of such dangers. I wish Godspeed to my Monday morning encounter.

But -- it is a jungle out there.


Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

I love when we have beneficial house and arden guests. But I must say.. I am not a fan. They still freak me out but Now I more just close my eyes until they have left rather then get the machete.

Inmigrante Rentista said...

Watch out for that snake ..... it left an unwanted "e" in "jungly", unless it was trying to say "junglelike" instead.

Steve Cotton said...

Rosas Clan -- When young, I would sneak snakes into the house in my cowboy boots. I have always been fascinatd by them.

Inmigrante Rentista -- And here I thought I was just making up a word.

Chrissy y Keith said...

I hope he comes back and you can relocate him. Keith and I relocate Rattlers all the time.

Steve Cotton said...

Chrissy -- I have enlisted one neighbor in protectiung the snake. We will do our best to get him on his way. Snakes do not survive long in this "urban" environment.

Constantino said...

We will just call you little St Patrick.....must be in your genes.

1st Mate said...

Clever of you to ID this interloper, hope he consumed some of the vermin in your vicinity. Poor fellow, it's not easy being a snake.

Chrissy y Keith said...

Steve, how well I know that. rattlers are usually easy to catch as they tend to stand their ground while the King will probably move away from you pretty swiftly. Do you have a snake grab or are you plannning to just catch him with your bare hands?

glorv1 said...

I can do without snakes, they freak me out. Ayeeeeeeeeee! You can have them Steve. Have a great rest of the week, "slithering" hot and all.

Islagringo said...

SNAKE! I always say it in caps because they freak me out so badly. I would nevah evah touch one. That said, I would never harm one either. We have boas here on the island but I don't believe any deadly variety of SNAKE! here.

Leslie Limon said...

I could do without the snakes, but if there not harmful, then I say let them be. But as you said, some humans have no regard. Not long ago, my hubby went on a early morning bike ride and saw a large snake on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere. He stopped only to admire the creature and continued on his merry way. When my hubby told others of what he had seen, most of the people asked my hubby if he had killed it, to which he answered "NO". No one could understand why my hubby let the snake live!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

A good day in Mexico. The unexpected.

Steve Cotton said...

Constantino -- Very clever. I missed the obvious spin: St. Patrick in San Patricio.

1st Mate -- I just hope he survives to be a bit riper in age.

Chrissy -- I was simply going to use a fork stick if possible. He does not have a viper head, so there is not much to capture. I really need a tow sack. I do have a gym bag that might work.

Gloria -- I know that some people have a fear of snakes. I don't get it. But, then, I am the one having the fun.

Islandgringo -- I doubt I could ever turn you on this issue. When we were kids, we would touch tongues with the garter snakes -- until one bit me on the tip. They are simply fascinating creatures. Along this part of the Mexican coast, we have sea snakes that wash up now and then on the shore. They are best given a wide berth.

Leslie -- I have had the same reaction from other people in town. Why didn't you kill it? they ask. For the same reason we do not kill people who we irrationally fear. Oh. I guess we do that, too.

jennifer rose said...

Kill the snake. For all you know, it could be the deadly black mambo in mufti. The life you save may be your own. You can still make good use out of the dead, lifeless body of the snake -- dinner, a headband, decorative objects.

I know you're not going to take my kind advice. Just remember, when you're picking yourself up off the ground when the snake trips you that you were warned.

Whatever you do, do not return him to the lagoon. You will not be doing him a favor.

Steve Cotton said...

AMM -- An incredibly memorable morning. It was as if I had been visited by a magic dragon.

Liz said...

They are truely magical dragons in disguise.
And mostly beneficial.
They deserve to live as much as we do. Sometimes more. We have invaded their space.
And yes, I am terrified of them, too. But as I was born in "The Year of the Snake" I have learned to cope.
Mata ne

Steve Cotton said...

Liz -- I will do everything within my power to see that no harm comes to the snake.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- I suspect I will never see Señor Snake again.