Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Garden Guardian



I have mentioned in the past that I like bull snakes. I like how they look, I like how they feel and I love that they keep the rodents in check in the garden and the feed shed. By this time last year I had already had several snake encounters and I have been kind of bummed that they have been so scarce this spring. Ken saw one a couple days ago and was greatly entertained by its interaction with the magpies, but I wasn't home at the time so missed the show.
Then, last evening, I looked out the living room window and found this visitor in the flower garden. He is a pretty good size - probably four feet at least. He parked on the warm stones in the waning sun and collected the last bit of heat for the day. I am sure he is curled up hiding today as the weather has cooled considerably and promises to stay that way for the next few days.
After my last post I had a couple people ask me if I wasn't worried about being attacked by the bobcat. The answer is "no". Anyone who has been scratched by a house cat knows the claws are nothing to scoff at, but I was fairly certain the wild cat was not going to take a swipe at me. For one thing, I was standing in the middle of a herd of 9 llamas. Even though the cat obviously didn't see the bigger animals as a threat, he was still looking up at more than a ton of total animal mass. Also, I was above him, putting him at a strategic disadvantage. He was not cornered in any way and had lots of room to run away from me down hill and I was pretty sure that would be his instinctive reaction.
If the feline visitor had been a cougar it would have been an entirely different story. Cougars average about 120 lbs of muscle as compared to the 40 or so pounds of the average bobcat. Cougars seem to have little fear of anything and have been reported to attack humans just for the sheer fun of it. I have no doubt that if cornered the bobcat could easily fight his way out but I wasn't going to put him in that situation.

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