Reptile Week

Calvin wound up giving the turtle to a friend of his who was a biology professor at the community college. That was a win-win. Less time and effort for him, and his friend knew the best place to relocate the turtle.

Over lunch, Calvin found out that his next assignment would be removing an indigo snake from a nearby farm. It must be reptile week, he thought.

Calvin didn’t usually like working with snakes. It wasn’t that he was so much afraid of them, he just didn’t like having to find them and run them down. They tended to retreat to impenetrable areas when threatened, and they were fast.

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Indigo snakes were, of course, non-poisonous (around here, most folks would dispatch a poisonous snake themselves, instead of having someone relocate it). The few that Calvin had any experience with had not been very aggressive, and some people thought that they made good pets (as snakes go).

Calvin finished his lunch and headed out to the farm. His heart sank when he saw the acres of shoulder high corn. Not good terrain to track down an animal that hugged the ground.

The farmer and his family seemed more upset than many people would be about a non-poisonous snake. Then the wife had offered that her older brother had been bitten by a cottonmouth when she was six. The black indigo bore a passing resemblance to a cottonmouth, at least from a distance. Impressions made when people are children could be powerful.

Calvin got a large cloth bag and a snake stick out of his truck and decided to start by walking along the end of the rows near where the wife had seen the snake a couple of hours earlier. Calvin was afraid that in the midday heat the snake might have retreated to its burrow, but the corn was tall enough to make a lot of shade, and the field had gotten enough rain the previous day to help cool it a bit.

He had gotten almost two hundred yards when he spotted a black tail disappearing between two rows. He ran with the snake stick pointingth (2) upwards, knocking over several corn plants (the farmer had asked him to keep such damage to a minimum, but said he knew some loss was inevitable).

He spotted the indigo heading straight down the adjacent row. Apparently the soft, plowed soil had not conveyed his footsteps very far. Calvin placed the snake stick approximately in the middle of the snake’s body and grabbed it near the head. It was awkward getting the writhing serpent into the bag, but the whole operation took less than ten minutes, and both he and the snake were unharmed.