I have a deep seeded fear of snakes. The rational, mature part of me knows that snakes play a role in the ecosystem and they have their place in nature. I also know that snakes are as displeased and upset with being in the presence of a human as we are with them. However, the childish, base part of me screams like a banshee and runs as fast as my short little legs will carry me at the sight of a snake skin. Very rarely do I actually see a snake up close and personal and I am perfectly okay with that, however farm living puts one out in nature and in areas which snakes consider their territory.
Our farm is situated in an area where there are many natural springs. We are inundated with water which can be good and can be not so good. My dad always said lack of water would never be an issue on this farm. There was a small pond on the farm when we first moved in. My dad had access to large equipment and had the pond reconfigured. The small pond is now 27 feet deep and much larger than when we moved in. There was so much water that he built a second pond as you come in the lane. It is not quite as deep but spans almost a quarter acre. I do not permit Jordan to be near the small pond…not only do I have a deep seeded fear of snakes, I have a deep seeded fear of water. Jordan can swim like a little fish but it still makes me very nervous. The paddle boat is on the larger, shallow pond. I have always known there were water snakes in the shallow pond but I only saw one once in a while. Jordan spent an afternoon cleaning up her boat and getting it seaworthy. Once the boat was in satisfactory condition, she took it out on the water. All was going well until she got to the very center of the pond, as far from the bank and us as she could get. A large water snake raised its head from the depths and proceeded to follow her around the pond. Such panic and screaming ensued that I thought Eric was going to have to go in after her. As she rounded the small, rocky island in the center of the pond, she screamed that blood curdling scream again and informed us two more huge snakes were on the island. Mind you, she is now in the presence of three large water snakes. After peddling like crazy, she finally made it to shore and us. The snake that was following her, followed her right up to the waters edge, saw us, and darted away.
Eric decided, there were just too many snakes present and water snakes are aggressive, so he went to the house to get his .22. The two snakes that were on the island were indeed huge. They were nearly six feet long and as big around as my wrist. They didn’t slither, they flopped. We have not had any goslings hatch or seen any goose eggs for a few years, I now think I may know why. Also, our dog loves water but he steers clear of the ponds. If a large water snake followed a paddle boat, I’m sure it would not have a problem chasing or perhaps biting a dog. I believe in the preservation of life and nature but I think we may have an issue with these snakes. Eric was able to hit one of the snakes on the island but the other one flopped into the water and disappeared. There are now two very large snakes in the pond but if there are two, I am certain there are more. Jordan is now afraid to go to the pond or ride on her boat. She thinks her dad should spend his time snake hunting and clear the pond of the dreadful monsters…she has a flare for the dramatic at times. Actually, I can’t say I blame her. If I had been on the water, surrounded by snakes, I too would have had a meltdown.
All creatures have their place, but an over population of any one thing can throw off the balance of an ecosystem and ensue issues. Maintaining balance is important and nature will do it’s best to maintain that balance. I always fear we are interfering with nature when we try to help maintain balance. Whether it be humans or animals, balance is important to the natural order of things. I have spent some time pondering the balance of our situation because I have had 50 something days to ponder. I keep coming back to the answer that our world is unbalanced, not just in population, and perhaps this is one way to help correct that unbalance. I’m certain, the answer will become clearer as time goes on. Until that time, stay safe, stay smart, maintain your personal balance, and keep washing those hands.