Yesterday around 5:30 PM I went to the front door to answer Frida’a yowling. She was making that talking-with-her-mouth-full sound she has when she’s brought home some prey, usually a bird. (I have posted about the problem of cats killing birds before. She is my last outside cat!)
I opened the door and stepped out on the deck to look for her, and got a whiff of a wretched smell. It was a little faint, the foul sniff of something that could be awful but just out of eyesight, or something right under foot.
Under her chin, coiled on the dirt path, a red-striped garter snake lay. I thought he must be dead, but picked him up to see. He slowly slithered and his head dropped through my fingers., looking for a slow escape. He was beautiful. I peered into his eyes, and watched the flicking of his tongue, and drew back with a start. He stunk. I thought he had wandered through one of Sophie’s piles on the grass.
I took him to the back yard and set him in a narrow patch of sun between the raised garden bed and fence. There are piles of branches nearby that he could find refuge in, should Frida find him again. Goodness knows she could follow her nose to him.
I returned to the front lawn, and watched Frida on the front deck, licking her whiskers and paws. Over and over she groomed and fussed. I had to wash with soap and water to get the musky odor off my left palm, where he had coiled. I am hoping Frida will remember his defense when and if she tries to make he or one of his cousins prey again.
Snakes are part of the natural landscape, and I am thrilled to learn that they eat slugs (I love most of creation, but not slugs, or mosquitoes.) Here’s a link to information about Oregon snakes . The picture on that site doesn’t look like my friend at all, but the red one here does.
My next home improvement project: making my yard a better habitat for critters and lower maintenance for my husband and me.
When I checked the sunny spot before we left for dinner out with friends, he was gone.