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Mowing the grass brings out snakes in our yard - outdoor fun for the whole family!

by Traci Schumacher on Fri, 07/13/2012 - 7:08am
My 3-year-old "takes a picture" of one of the garter snakes we found.
Little garter snake up close and personal.

Wednesday turned out to be Snake Day at our house... a day when fun and games of the virtual variety were trumped by our front yard wildlife. You see, my husband decided to mow the grass, and lately when he mows, the vibrations send the young garter snakes skittering about. As soon as my children heard that my husband had caught a snake, the video games were abandoned and everyone was outside.

The kids had a big bucket ready in no time with some soil and sticks so we could observe our little friends for a while. We caught four snakes all together, each one about seven inches long, although only three made it into the bucket. The other one was too grumpy and set on my husband's destruction, so he was quickly released.

My daughter made notes in her snake record book (which she started when we first began finding snakes in the yard), assigning names to the snakes as appropriate. She is convinced that garter snakes can be identified by their tongues, like dolphins with their dorsal fins. I think she decided two of the snakes were new sightings, while the other two had met us previously.

To enhance the festivities of Snake Day, my daughter ran to invite our neighbors, fellow critter lovers, so they could share in the excitement. It made for a fun summer's evening with five kids and three adults watching, discussing, and playing with snakes. The kids got in a few rounds of hide-and-seek amongst themselves, too. After the lawn was mowed and the mosquitoes were adequately fed, we released our little snake friends and called it a night.

I know not everyone appreciates snakes, but these little guys are harmless (unless you're a worm or a frog apparently), and we enjoy sharing our yard and neighborhood with some semblance of wildlife. The only trouble with Snake Day is that my daughter is now campaigning for Pet Snake! Since Snake Day, she has been reading up and watching videos on how to care for a pet garter snake. She has even secured a “we'll see” from my darling husband on the topic. I have nothing against snakes, but with three kids, two dogs, and five hermit crabs I think I have enough to care for already. We'll see, for sure!

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