Spring surprises

So I would have pictures but the only camera I had with me when we saw the snakes was my phone. I have a stupid phone, flip phone actually, so I can’t get the pictures from the phone to here.

The first snake we saw I texted to my son and he swears it was a copperhead. Probably 4 feet long. I did not think this was what the snake was. My dogs didn’t even notice it. It had little diagonal boxes on its back with darker spots inside. Of course, it could have actually been the typical cross-hatched markings but my eyes chose to see it differently. Whatever. The snake just lay there. Eyes open, tongue flashing out. Even when I went back to take its picture, didn’t move.

The next snake really could have done damage. We were walking on the trail behind where I live and Lulu (now a part of our “pack” only 2 weeks) leaned over the side of the creek embankment, sniffing something. I saw the grass move quickly and heard a splash. Looked down, sure enough a water moccasin quickly squirming its way across the clear creek bed. That one gave me shivers. Those are deadly. I can remember my mother shrieking at my brother, probably about 10 or 11 when she learned he and his golfing friends were wading around the water hazards on the club golf course looking for lost golf balls. These guys didn’t sell them, they used them. They were the championship foursome in those days.

So the last snake was greenish and yellowish vertical-striped, probably around 5 feet long. Lily, stepping over it actually bumped it with her paw. It flinched but did not go after her. Doing a little research I turned up garter snake. These snakes usually eat fish, tadpoles, frogs, and carrion. This snake was nowhere near any body of water so it must have been either waking up out of its hibernation, lost, or eating something dead.  They also are non-poisonous.

One out of three is good I guess, since the first 2 basically ignored us.

One thing that has really bothered me since I moved here. I should point out this move was something of a dream come true for me. I have loved the wildness of North Carolina’s outer banks for many years. Though only near the lower barrier islands I am still closer to those islands than before and am quite happy to be here. I did not think, though, that there was anyplace on this planet that had no lightning bugs. Maybe you call them fireflies, but they’ve been something of  a harbinger of sultry, hot breeze summer nights for me as much as crickets and cicadas since I was a child and I cannot imagine life without them.

Last year I saw not a single lightning bug.

I canvassed neighbors, newly-made acquaintances. No one could recall seeing them, not in the recent past. No idea why. Salt air? No one knew. I refused to believe it.

So rescue dogs Lily, Lulu and I went for a walk, braving the early dusk since likely snakes were not sunning themselves on creek banks, on the little trail here in my neighborhood. I almost ignored the brilliant yellow flashing dots and mentally dismissed them. No… could it be?? It was!

Lightning bugs. Dozens. So maybe they aren’t in backyards but at least I know where I can find them.

Sans water moccasins, I hope.


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