The first time I saw him, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I thought that little black twig blowing in the wind was nothing but a little black twig blowing in the wind. However, it did catch my attention and I continued to examine this, just a little more closely…though from a short distance. As I watched the movement, it became perfectly clear that this was not a twig moving in the wind but a slithering snake. No, I convinced myself…no, it would not be in my flower garden. This same flower garden that I entered almost daily (now that I am retired) …giving no thought to where I place my feet. And yet the obvious was there… slithering in and out of the flowers and coming to rest from it’s mindless wandering onto the pavers beside a piece of wood meant for the Pizza oven. This mysterious guest was definitely a small (in diameter) black snake about 36 inches long and about as big around as my index finger, I know because I was pointing him out to my inner being just in case I had not seen this black creature with my outer self. 🙂 I stood motionless…. about 5 feet from him or her…I never really got close enough to determine the sex, not that I would be able to tell, because I never listened to that part in my Biology class. (I think that is where I would have learned that information, I don’t know, since those educational days are long past) . The snake stopped its slithering as if to assess the situation, …as I am sure he noticed my presence on that quiet morning. As soon as I gathered my nerve to step a little closer, he swiftly slithered away, disappearing into the tall Areca palms lining the back of our property.
I grew up on a farm in the Midwest and seeing wildlife up close and personal was a common occurrence, snakes included …mostly the bull snake variety and I knew to stay away from black racers, rattlesnakes and I also included in that list, the little garter snakes that usually were only about 6 inches long. I don’t know what my preconception of Florida snakes was, but apparently these black creatures were not on my radar. I described my adventure to everyone I came in contact with (had to call the Captain and send him a pic) and I soon learned that the consensus of all was that it is a good thing to have this black guest in your garden. They eat rodents, I was told. I asked how big they got and was told about 3-4 feet long and the diameter stayed to about the size of a dime or nickel. REALLY??? And though I know very large snakes, such as pythons etc ……can open their unhinged jaws to devour large prey…I found it hard to believe these little black snakes could take on mice or even rats, but I accepted the local knowledge….and I have accepted the fact that I have to now share my garden with “it”! 🙂
Now, I find myself more observing when I enter my garden. And, any sudden movement catches my attention real fast…which by the way, there are a lot of sudden movements in my gardens and they are called geckos! They are adorable. People want them at their houses because they eat insects, mosquitoes and such. The geckos are so tiny, it makes you wonder how many of these insects they can devour at one time. (I’ll look that up in Wikipedia.) The little geckos used to startle me as I was walking about, but now I’m so used to them… I just smile when I see one. There are so many different varieties of geckos in Florida… that it is interesting to just sit outside, drinking my tea and watching their antics. I keep expecting one of them to suddenly jump up on his hind feet and start talking like that Geico Insurance commercial gecko. But it hasn’t happened …..yet!