High: 83° FAri didn’t believe me when I told her that a young garter snake (Thamnophis s. sirtalis) has moved into my aging Honda.
Low: 62° F
Conditions: Humid with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms
Greg and I watched him for the better part of an hour yesterday morning, marveling at the way he extended himself like a branch from my headlight and wondering how on earth he got inside.
Greg speculated that the snake had crawled up through my radiator.
“But how?” I asked. “they don’t have legs.”
“Snakes climb trees, don’t they? They don’t need legs for that.”
He had a point, though in truth, how snakes can climb a tree makes no more sense to me than how they could slither up my radiator. Or my tire. Or however else he got himself wedged in there. But that just made his unexpected appearance all the more appealing.
This particularly wily—not to mention nimble—specimen let us stare for quite some time. And he didn’t even flinch when we went inside, collected the digital camera, and got up close for a shot. But when we returned with the caninaturalist, the snake made himself scarce. I pointed to the spot above the light where he had recoiled, leaving just the nub of his snaky nose.
Ari just didn’t get it. She probably couldn’t smell him. And I doubt she could really see him, either. When he finally revealed enough of his head to warrant notice, she gave him a quick sniff and quickly ruled him decidedly un-interesting, then turned to me with a huff. That's it?!?! She seemed to ask me. You brought me out here for that?
This is a dog who wouldn’t think twice about selling me to a band of gypsies if it meant she could have one good roll on a dead snake. As for this living specimen and its unusual habitat, she clearly couldn’t care less. In fact, she seemed much more concerned over the fact that her human friend seems to have developed a preternatural—and utterly inexplicable—fascination with a not-very-interesting part of the car.
The look she gave me when I took her—for the hundredth time—to visit the headlight could only mean one thing: pleeeeaasee. As in, give me a break. Or, gee, mom, let’s go stare at some gravel while we’re at it. That’s pretty interesting too. Eventually, I relented.
Back inside, I showed her some of my favorite Richard Scarry tomes, thinking the character I remembered as Mr. Snake might entice her. And why not? Greg and I both agreed we saw a very distinct resemblance. Here's our snake:
Here's Richard Scarry's driving a genetically modified apple car:
And one of him being carried by a cat servant (an idea that probably appeals greatly to Ari).
Even still, these images didn't resonate with her, either. Maybe that's because, as our friend Farmgirl patiently explained, that's not a snake at all, but rather, a lowly worm. Damn. I guess it doesn't matter all that much: the caninaturalist has never been one for book learning. I tried reading aloud, but she just slinked off to her crate. If she had a cell phone, I’m sure she would have called some of her other adolescent friends to complain about what a weirdo I’m being. If we drove our snake-infested car to the mall, she'd probably make me drop her off a block away so that nobody knew we were related.
Not that anyone except for Mr. Snake will be driving said car in the near future. He's laid claim, and I know that occupany is 9/10ths of the law. Or something like that.
So now I have a dog positively brimming with teenage dismissal and a car I cannot drive, for fear of cooking its new resident. The whole weekend could be a wash. Good thing I have some children’s books to read instead.