Snakes in the Grass and the Kitchen


| 11/11/2009 9:22:00 AM



Hank Will and Mulefoot piglet.I like snakes. Lucky for me, plenty of different species call my Osage county Kansas farm home, including the dreaded Copperhead and at least one member of the rattlesnake family – I’m quite certain it’s the Massasauga. I’ve had several encounters with the rattlers, all of them quite amicable; all in the spring. There’s nothing like the buzz of a rattlesnake on alert to make you realize that there’s still some wild left in this land.

Although I haven’t seen a Copperhead yet, the vet was pretty sure that a small one bit Lucy, one of my dogs, on the lip a couple of years ago. That little West Highland White Terrier was a little under the weather after the encounter, all it took to get her through the night was a bit of benadryl and some bed rest. Her recovery was nothing short of amazing to me – and a huge relief, of course.

Snake in the kitchen. 

The farm is also home to several varieties of Ribbon and Garter snakes, Black Snakes (some version of the Rat Snake) that occasionally raid the bluebird boxes, assorted other Rat Snakes, King Snakes, and the like.

Until recently, my snake encounters have been quite random and outdoors. But just a few weeks ago, as the weather turned to a decidedly fall-like crisp, I was drawn out of the book I was reading in the living room by an odd thumping sound coming from the kitchen. When I finally decided to investigate, I discovered that my cat Callie had squared off with what appeared to be a young King Snake (Prairie King Snake is my best guess). The snake was coiling and looking quite ferocious for its diminutive stature while Callie repeatedly wound up and smacked it with her right front paw.



Ferocious little snake. 

Sue Lackey
12/21/2009 1:56:32 PM

Our big male cat had an encounter with what we assume was a copperhead when he was still a kitten. The vet was mum, but every farmer in the place took one look at his swollen face and declared it a copperhead bite. Had he not been such a big boy (long, not fat), he might not be with us today. Years later, he still fears anything that resembles a snake and even jumps over concealed garden hoses.


Robyn Dolan
11/30/2009 8:58:14 AM

I saw my first snake on my property here in 10 years this summer. It was a small rattler, and because it was a novel experience I just called my son over and we watched it for awhile. Then the cats came over and it suddenly occurred to them that they should pretend they were chasing it away (in cahoots!). So they went through the motions and the snake pretended to coil and strike, though noone was hurt. It slithered off and is probably hibernating somewhere near my rabbit cages. I fully expected to see it stuck inside, digesting a bunny, but never did, and no bunnies missing! It will be interesting to see what the snake situation is this coming spring.


Ozarkhomesteader_1
11/27/2009 9:50:13 AM

Our big male cat had an encounter with what we assume was a copperhead when he was still a kitten. The vet was mum, but every farmer in the place took one look at his swollen face and declared it a copperhead bite. Had he not been such a big boy (long, not fat), he might not be with us today. Years later, he still fears anything that resembles a snake and even jumps over concealed garden hoses.