Valley Life – Mazama – Methow Valley News
To say that I am an ophidiophobic would be quite correct. Maybe that’s the way they move. One of my favorite lines of Disney’s “Robin Hood” is Sir Hiss who repudiates Prince John: “Snakes don’t work; they slip. Slither, they do.
Then there was the Snake Lair on the original Indiana Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I can still conjure up this image. It turns out that Indy was also afraid of snakes, having fallen into a crate of them on a circus train, which was revealed in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Glad to know Indy and I have something in common besides being a Jones.
Growing up in Montana, rattlesnakes were commonplace. My mother had a pot of rattles that she had accumulated when she was young, killing snakes for the trophy. I find it hard to believe that she was actually killing snakes; Maybe it was a brave courtier trying to prove himself to her. She was a pretty girl!
Riding the warm Montana hills, we teenage girls often stumbled upon rattles. We were always warned before leaving: “Watch out for rattles!” We had no fear. Horses usually heard the familiar rattle first, and the intelligent animals they were, distant from the threatening snake.
I never had an interest in wrapping a boa around my neck or touching a rattlesnake in a tube. However, there are many who are interested in this experience. A regular Valley Life columnist has written to me about Scott Rohrer, a biologist from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and his Methow Valley Spring Snake Search, a sponsored one-day environmental education course. by the North Cascades Institute (NCI). I know snakes play an important role in the environment. I also know that there are those who are very interested in creatures.
I happen to have a 9 year old grandson named Knox who is fascinated by reptiles and amphibians. When he comes to visit her, his first question is: “Are there lizards or snakes around?” If there is, he finds them. Having raised three boys next to a coolie (spelling correct in Potato State) in Idaho, I had my share of snakes in gallon mayonnaise jars with holes drilled through them. the cover with an ice pick. History repeats itself, but when Knox returns home, he lets out the snakes.
The last time the garter snake he released decided that our lawn was actually a great place to reside and every time I mowed the grass I saw him rush out of the lawn mower path. (Secretly, I was hoping it would turn into diced lawn fertilizer. Sorry, snakes!) Instead, the snake made its way into the garage, and as I made its way through a way through the pile of firewood in winter there was a snakeskin shed in perfect condition. Always reminds me of Bruce Springsteen‘s song “Streets of Philadelphia” from the mighty movie “Philadelphia”: “No angel will greet me / It’s just you and me my friend / My clothes don’t fit anymore / I walked a thousand miles / Just to slip that skin off. In the 1980s, there is no doubt that people with AIDS wished they had slipped their skin.
Winter sends the snakes elsewhere. I have heard that poisonous venom “snow snakes” can live in cold temperatures and are only active during the winter months. Reuters Fact Check says this is not true; instead, American folklore. Thank God.
I was also told that the rattles usually reside on the sunny side of the Mazama corridor. There is an advantage to living in the shadow of Sandy Butte. I will continue to appreciate the role these creatures play in the ecosystem, but I will be happy if they just stay away.