I thought I’d had at least one of every local animal on my premises. While never expected, they’re not exactly UNexpected, considering I live in a ‘burb just outside the city and I have a garden. A sampling of past visitors:

—Moles/voles: literally too many to count; Strangely, as many times as I’ve had to call for assistance with other dead animals I usually get these out myself. And they can be NASty, especially since they’re usually missing at least one limb and/or I “haven’t seen” them and they have flies ’cause they’ve been out there so long. <Did you hear that? That was my mother, passing out after asking ‘Where did I go wrong?!’>

Hint for you homeowners out there: my favorite removal technique is to scoop them into a (specially-designated) dustpan (never look directly AT it and sing really loud while scooping), then lob over the fence into neighbor’s yard.

This part I rationalize by deeming it ‘karmic payback’ for them letting their dog poop in my yard, an illegal deck-building attempt (on my property!), tearing down old fence, dumping railroad ties into back yard, etc. NOTE: Your situation—and your lawyer’s recommendation on this—may vary.

—Squirrels: Mine are rarely just dead in the lawn. No, mine have been in the furnace, under the dryer, in the garage, and SITTING UP on a shelf in the basement—and I DO have photographic proof of that one (pre-digital era).

—Rabbits: mostly delivered by the cat and not by the beagle, a rabbit-hunting breed

—Birds: total number incalculable: mourning doves, cardinals, hummingbirds, wren/sparrows, chickadees, woodpeckers (see earlier post), goldfinches

—Insects, of course (to be expected)—no ticks yet though, so that’s good.

—Bat: in my bedroom; To be rehashed in a future posting.

—Simba, the neighbor cat, who comes in and makes himself at home wherever convenient. He’s like a gang member: he comes over periodically to intimidate and remind us we’re on HIS territory (!), and it’s actually kind of funny. He comes over whenever he’s escaped his real house. He’s visited: back porch, shade under a tree or shrub or in the plants in the yard, the exterior front windowsill, living room (just toodled on in one night…). Then he usually starts a fight with one of my cats.

I won’t touch him since the antibiotics/tetanus shot incident. Honestly, though, if I weren’t scared of him now, I’d like him. He’s usually mellow. I just learned the hard way that it makes him madder when he gets sprayed with water. His people are great, though, so maybe that’s why he makes me laugh. I just don’t touch him.

—And now, Slinky. Or at least I think it was Slinky. Slinky is/was a garden (garter?) snake my neighbors’ dog found a couple of years ago. Poor Sweetie has spent countless hours in the pursuit of this snake, which has also been seen in THEIR neighbor’s back yard and briefly, mine. The 3 of them named her; I can’t take credit.

Unfortunately for Sweetie, I don’t think Slinky will be coming back any time soon, as I think it was s/he who was the “victim” of Allie, the great hunter. Who’s scared of the vacuum cleaner hose, so I don’t understand WHAT possessed her to get a snake. But sure enough, I opened the door on another gorgeous Saturday, to be greeted by Allie caught in the act of dropping this:

Allie and her snake <click to enlarge>

Naturally it wasn’t dead, just somewhat dead, which allowed Allie a few more moments of fun. I got on the horn right away and called the people behind me (kids who’d previously removed a dead rabbit – click on the ‘Dead’ link for past post). I asked if there was a child available and the dad said “the whole brigade” wanted to come.

He said, “Now you understand, this will be a ‘catch and release’ operation.” I might’ve said something like, “I don’t care if you take it home and eat it; I just want it off my back porch!” Moments later, 3 of the 4 kids and the dad have hopped over the fence, large rubbermaid container and long stick in hand.

I hadn’t looked at it, except to note its presence on my doormat, its relative smallness (yet long length), and that it had some yellow somewhere–maybe a stripe? But the dad and the kids carefully looked it over, carefully assessing its condition in a clinical manner: “It’s been eaten on a bit—it’s missing part of its <don’t know–was not listening or fainted>” “Is it alive?” “Yes, but maybe not for long.” “It’s bleeding.” <I made the mistake of saying ‘Who knew snakes bled?!’—never having thought nor cared about it—and was given a mini-lecture in invertebrates or some biology stuff I said I didn’t need to know about, thanks.>

“Let’s take it to the park!” “It may not make it at the park with other animals there.” “Do you want us to set it in the back of your yard, M?” So Allie can bring it back in later? I don’t think so…I (hopefully) politely declined.

So I asked Slinky to pose with his/her rescuers: the snake brigade <click to enlarge>

And off they went. I never did ask where they ended up putting Slinky and now they’re out of town, so we have an unsatisfactory ending to a otherwise fascinating story…

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