I used to love my backyard. It was my oasis, my getaway. After a long day of work, I would love to hang out in the backyard with my better half and the pups. Grilling and eating dinner on the patio, setting up the pool to cool off with the pups on a hot summer day, and lounging in the hammock and reading a good book. This summer everything changed. This summer I could count on my hands the number of times I’ve just hung out in the backyard. That is because of the invasion of the Plains Garter Snake, scientifically referred to as, Thamnophis radix.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I almost passed out doing a little snake research to make sure I was telling you the exact type of snake that has been terrorizing me and now I feel the need to burn my computer just because of all the snake pictures I saw, but I did it all for you!
It started in early summer when my better half saw a garter snake near the foundation of our house while he was on the patio brewing beer. He took a picture of it and that picture seriously gives me nightmares – I didn’t even see the live snake, the picture was enough! From that day, I knew that there was at least one (possibly HUNDREDS) of snakes slithering around my house and yard and it gives me the serious Heebie-jeebies. I seriously haven’t been able to go into our backyard very often. I will briefly go out when I get home from work to let my better half know I am home and will venture outside if the dogs need my assistance, but other than that I has been a prisoner in my own home. Just writing this post is causing me to break out in a cold sweat thinking about those little buggers hanging around my backyard.
Yesterday I was letting the dogs out and there he (she?) was…slowly slithering across the patio towards the grass…another garter snake! I had worked for weeks to convince myself that the snake that was hanging around months earlier was long gone. My better half, who was so kind as to chase the snake out of the yard so I could let the dogs out, let me know that while he was chasing the snake he saw another one (HORRORS!) and that it definitely wasn’t the same snake as before because it was much smaller. Leading my mind to come to conclusion that it was the baby of the first snake and that again there were HUNDREDS (a garter snake can have 30-40 babies at a time with the record being 98 babies at one time…98)of snakes hanging out around my house.
From my short (and terrifying) research on the Plains Garter Snake I have found that they indeed live in Colorado and that they could potential terrorize me year round because Plains Garter Snakes do not hibernate, but instead partake in brumation (AWESOME!). I did, however, some across a list of the Plains Gartner Snakes predators. It appears that I am now in the market for some hawks, birds, skunks, raccoons, foxes, badgers, minks, bullfrogs, and a house cat. Domesticated dogs were nowhere on the list of risks to garter snakes – thanks for nothing Paterno and Coaly.
So where did these little buggers come from? For almost five years I have found our backyard to be a safe haven to everything going on in the world and now it’s been taken over by a slithering enemy. It appears we live in a prime snake area. Garter snakes are commonly found living near water sources such as streams and ponds, but can also be found in urban areas and vacant lots. This pretty much describes our current yard situation. We live next a goat farm who has been flooding the irrigation ditch between our houses all summer and the vacant lot behind our house is currently being turned in to a Starbucks. So, next time you see a cute goat or enjoy a nice beverage from Starbucks remember the terror they are causing me!
Okay, so why I am sharing this really strange phobia with you? Well, because my Year of Yes. This year I am going to be braver and I’m was going to try new things, but I have realized that there are certain places I have to draw the line when it comes to putting myself out there and snakes is one of them. So, while I am still committed to saying yes more, I am still saying no to hanging with the garter snake in the backyard and I’m sure as hell saying no to ever stepping foot in to the snake house at the zoo.
So, make me feel better – what’s your phobia that you are just going to live with?