Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thanks, But No Thanks!

Every morning the cats accompany me down to the pond for a little "exercise" on their part while I examine the condition of the water and see if anything new is lurking down there.  Well, this morning something new WAS lurking down there.  He was very quiet and I could tell immediately that he (or she) wasn't the beautiful midland water snake I had seen a few weeks ago.  This is what we found:

Can we say water moccasin?  Cottonmouth?  Venomous?
If you'd like to see what they look like close-up, click the pic.  It has pretty good details.

Six or seven cats had come with me this morning, so the first order of business was to get them out of there.  I took my camera down to see if I could get a few good shots of it, download and study them, and make sure I wasn't about to react out of ignorance and kill a harmless little creature doing his job.  Although I was pretty sure of what I was looking at, I had to verify and sure enough, the identifiers were there.

 It took me about 10 minutes to try to think of something I could use to eliminate it and ended up returning to the pond with a long handled flat shovel and a .22 pistol that hadn't been fired since 1985.  Wasn't sure which one I was going to use. 

Since it had been about 20 minutes since I discovered this guy and he'd been flash-popped several times with the camera, I guess he figured it was time to move on.  By the time I got back down to the pond, he had begun gliding gracefully over to the far side  where there's plenty of brush, turtles, fish, and frogs.  For the sake of safety for my cats, I fired at him-not knowing a thing about how accurate the little .22 might be or if it would even shoot.  It did, but I missed him by about a foot.  It was close enough for him to thrash in the water a minute, but apparently he was ok and continued on his journey.  It was about a 30 ft shot with an untried weapon, so to come as close as a foot wasn't bad.  I tried him again at about 50 ft but could barely make him out against the opposite bank.  Missed again, so it was his lucky day.

It's been on my mind all day about his fluid gracefulness as he was swimming through the water and I'm not sure if I see him again, I'll be able to kill him.  Hopefully, he'll move on so I don't have to be confronted with having to choose.  I guess I would for the sake of our cats, but would probably be very sad to have taken the life of an innocent just because he was doing what he is here to do.

In the meantime, I'm watching very carefully where I step!

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