Monday, May 03, 2004

Food Chain
As I bent to pull a weed from under my daylilies, I sensed a snake nearby that seemed to have a puffed up head like a cobra. With a scream, I leaped out of the garden bed and the males of my house came running. Looking closer, we discovered a smallish garter snake with a large toad in its mouth.

My inclination was to pick up the snake and shake the toad out. I just finished reading "A Country Year" by Sue Hubbell and she used this technique to rescue a baby phoebe, knowing that "As a human being I am a great meddler; I fiddle, alter, modify. This is neither good nor bad, merely human, in the same way that the snake who eats mice and phoebes is merely serpentish. But being human I have the kind of mind which can recognize that when I fiddle and twitch any part of the circle there are reverberations throughout the whole."

So I did not meddle this time, partly because Steve said the toad would not live anyway. We watched off and on the whole day; the neighbor boys came over to check it out. The boys were setting odds on whether the snake could swallow the toad. We never found out. The next day all evidence was gone.

Both garter snakes and toads are beneficial in the garden. I'm glad they are there, but I wish they would stay in their own 'hoods.

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