Snakes Dangling From the Trees

One of the scariest pictures they paint of the Amazon rainforest is when they show images of snakes dangling from the trees, up over your head, looking down at you like they’re waiting to drop down on your head the minute you walk under the tree.

My husband always tries to scare me about these dangling snakes when we go kayaking, because we like to weave our way through overgrown rivulets where you could reach out and touch nature. We get up under a tree and he says, “You know there might be a snake dangling up there…”

I’m not afraid of dangling snakes anymore, though, because I’ve been watching the snake that moved into our bird house for over eight weeks, and I’ve got his M.O. down pat. From sunup to sundown he stays in the birdhouse. He likes to hang out, and dangle down, but not once has he ever come all the way out of the hole.

Snake in the Old Man Face Birdhouse

Back when I didn’t know what kind of snake he was, and I was worried he might be poisonous and hurt the dogs, I set out on a mission to identify him. I wanted him to come OUT of the bird house so that I could see his pattern.

I figured I’d rattle his cage by throwing pine cones at the bird house and pissing him off so that he’d come out. Then I’d know. It didn’t work, however.

The pine cone grenades did not lure him out after me. I just knew that blasting the bird house would work, because if you throw pine cones at a wasp nest, I guarantee you’re going to make those wasps come out. Yessirree Bob… whacking a wasp’s nest or hornet’s nest with pine cones is a sure way to get up close and personal with the residents of the hive.

But a snake? Nope. I don’t think he came out of there for three days after the barrage of pine cones, most of which missed. He wouldn’t even come out to dangle down and watch the world.

That’s when I started stalking him with the camera. I found out that his most active period of dangling was early in the morning before it got really hot, so every day I took photos until I got lucky. He came out far enough for me to identify him.

He turned out to be a gray rat snake, harmless, avid climber, probably at the size where he eats toads and lizards. When he gets bigger, he’ll go after the chipmunks. Our dogs are relatively safe since he hangs out high up in the trees during the day when they’re out playing. The only encounter they might have is during their last potty of the night, after dark. But as he’s not poisonous, it would be just like any old bite or injury. He won’t pump poison into their veins.

Now that I know he’s not dangerous, I enjoy watching him hang out with us every day. The chickadees that previously lived in the bird house rarely gave us a glimpse of them flying in and out. The snake, however, puts on a good show.

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    3 Responses to Snakes Dangling From the Trees

    1. Allie says:

      I keep wondering what’s going to happen when he gets too big for the bird house. Will he get stuck in there? Or halfway in? Am I going to have to help him at some point?

    2. Allie says:

      Scorpions in the living room… cow killers in the garden… we definitely know how to keep the visitors away, LOL!

    3. Trish M. Dawson says:

      I will never come visit you now. And thanks, because I love trees and birdhouses but I don’t think I’ll ever look at them the same again. O.O

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