- Richard found a snake skin in the grove. It's got the head part attached which is a good thing for the snake. They shrug out of the skin but sometimes the head doesn't get de-skinned and the snakes have problems seeing.
- One cat thought the skin deserved a closer inspection. The other cat couldn't get away fast enough.
- Here's our Vietnamese friend Diep in the Mekong Delta with a snake when we traveled with her years ago and on our deck in Fallbrook. Diep now lives in Canada in Montreal where the snakes are in short supply.
- But they weren't in short supply number-wise where I grew up in the Canadian prairies. Here's a garter snake mating ball. I saw a small ball like this one on the farm; the stuff nightmares are made of.
I refreshed my memory about these snakes from Wikipedia. Garter snakes go into a kind of hibernation before mating. Males emerge first bursting with hormones and starving (the worst kind). They wait for the females to wake up and emerge from their dens when they are jumped by the males, as many as 25 on a female. That'd be enough to make any female stay in seclusion. A tangled ball results with the whole unromantic mess rolling around in the dust. It's a very intense, frantic scene - nature's brute survival mechanism hard at work. Interestingly, the female can store sperm for years after fertilization. Score another one for Mother Nature...if a female snake had to go through getting balled this way every year, there'd be no more snakes.
- Snakes one at a time don't bother me - in fact I find them kind of interesting. Here's me in Bali with a nice little guy. The typical tourist thing - "get your picture taken with a snake". No doubt they've banned this kind of thing, although snakes are kept in captivity all around the world.