Today I took my kids up into the mountains for an outdoor art lesson--drawing from nature, you know?
Well, kids being kids, they spent a short amount of time actually creating art, and a lot of time looking under every rock and clump of grass within a half-mile.
Jackpot! We hit snakes.
The garter snakes are coming out of hybernation right now and we found a good sized clump of them--eight or ten. They were probably getting it on, as garters tend to do at this time of year. Nevertheless, my son took it upon himself to pick up a few, then the inevitable begging and pleading began, and we came home with three of them--one for each kid.
They are now happily housed in a tank with all the snakey necessities.
I must admit, I find snakes fascinating, and don't mind having them around. I love having them in my garden, actually, and used to pay a neighbor kid $5 a snake for every good sized gopher snake (pictured above) he could catch and relocate there. That's been some time ago now, and my home snake supply is dwindling somewhat--the neighbors don't share my enthusiasm for natural pest control, you see.
What they're finding now, if they're smart, is that snakes are very good at keeping rodent populations under control. We've had a rodent invasion in the neighborhood the past couple of years. I need more snakes out there. Heck, I need one in my house! A nice five-foot long gopher snake would be ideal.
So, for now, we have three pet snakes, and if things don't work out as beautifully as the kids are hoping, we'll have three future mousers to add to the garden.