Friday, July 8, 2011

Emma gets bitten

Late in the afternoon yesterday as I was putting equipment back in the shop I noticed a large bull snake lying on the apron in front of one of the overhead doors. I tried to shoo him OUT but of course he decided to go IN. Rather than search for him I decided to leave him for the night and deal with him the next day. Besides, a night in the shop was sure to result in a reduction in the mouse demographic.

I didn't see him again until I was putting the Rhino away tonight, with dogs aboard. The next thing I knew Jack and Emma were deeply interested in something under one of the downspouts. Emma reached in and pulled out the snake. She shook it and tossed it into the grass in front of the shop and they both went for it. It was medium sized, about four feet, and plenty mad.

I was yelling at both dogs and Jack was mostly paying attention. (All that "Get back!" training had an effect.) Not Em of course, who hates snakes above all things. Jack would do a feint and the snake would strike, missing him, but he would jump back and be reluctant to move in again. Smart boy! Emma dived in and got it by the tail and flung it again, but this time when it hit the ground she was in range and it nailed her on the butt. She jumped and moved away and THEN started to listen to my "EMMA, NO!" I managed to get them away from it and inside. There appeared to be some minor laceration back toward the tail but nothing that looked really serious. I'm hoping he wasn't badly injured.

Emma might have learned something. I dunno. The combination of seeing Jack back off and then getting bitten may have given her something to think about. Not that Em thinks too much when she sees snakes.


Crotalus (Don't Tread on Me) said...

Bull snakes can be testy, alright, and a big one can bite hard enough to make most people (and dogs!) think twice. Maybe she learned, which would be good, as the next snake she finds might be a rattler.

Rio Arriba said...

Well, I hope so. They were all going to a rattlesnake clinic in June but I got sick and we couldn't make it. Next year I hope.

By a quirk of geography and ecology we have no rattlers where we live, but we hunt in areas that do have 'em.

Em can be a very aggressive lady. I'm hoping she learned something at least.

Crotalus (Don't Tread on Me) said...

You know, you might not have rattlers where you live because of the bull snakes. They also kill rattlers and seem to show some resistance to their venom, though that's not as well-known as the king snakes.

Rio Arriba said...

The main reason we do not have rattlers in this immediate area is that we have no place for them to den up. There's hardly a rock in the whole country! Plus the ranchers have pretty much eliminated the prairie dogs. But I never take this for granted and am always careful where I walk and where I put my hands.

BTW, Emma never showed any signs of infection or discomfort from her bite.

Crotalus (Don't Tread on Me) said...

Yes, the kind of territory you have, and the lack of prey animals will do it. But what do the bull snakes feed on?

I doubt there would have been any problems with the bite Emma received. We have gopher snakes out here, which are close relatives to the bull snake. I've caught may snakes of all kinds, including gopher snakes, over the years; most of them bit me. Never had a problem with any snakebite, until the rattler got me. Then it was the obligatory trip to the hospital, calls to the wife at work, yada, yada, yada... She says that if I get bit by another rattler, SHE'LL be far more dangerous to me than the snake has a prayer of ever being! :-D

BobG said...

Glad Emma wasn't hurt badly. I imagine the bull snakes probably subsist on mice and insects such as grasshoppers.

Brigid said...

I'm glad she wasn't hurt. Scary, nevertheless.