Menagerie: Rogue Snake Department

thief
Judging by the beret, this particular criminal must be French.

Let’s play a little game, shall we?  Why don’t you tell me what species of reptile you see coiled in the leaves in the picture below.  I should mention that the little cretin was, um, what’s the word, “rattling” his tail when discovered.   By “discovered”, of course, I mean “nearly trod upon” during a brief late-morning survey Spouse and I conducted of the western environs of Juniorvania;  tramping about in the brush is a lovely way to spend some time in the warm sun of a mid-November forenoon, cup of tea in hand – provided, of course, that one’s woodsy saunter is not interrupted by pestilential menaces and assorted blackguards of the animal kingdom intent on doing you in.    My perambulations seemed to disturb our most recently discovered visitor, as Spouse advises me that the vicious little scoundrel actually struck at my pant leg as I strode through his immediate vicinity, blissfully unaware of the potentially mortal threat currently attempting to assassinate me.

Let’s make an identification, you amateur herpatologists:  tell me what sort of a beast you think it was that made such a brazen attempt upon my life.   Take a close look at the markings.   Remember, if you will, the rattling of the tail;  it’s difficult to forget, I can assure you, for those who have had occasion to make the personal acquaintance of this little villainous bastard.   The taxonomic process ought to be a little less stressful for you to do in the comfort of your own presumably adder-free home than it was for me during my dangerous, death-defying afternoon stroll among the serpentine assassins concealed around the perimeter of Juniorvania with evil in their repitlian hearts.   It will be easier for you to summon up Google and tap-tap-tap a couple of keystrokes,  possibly noshing on a little snack, as you idly venture a guess about the identity of my would-be killer.

Things were considerably less serene here as we embarked upon the process, I can tell you.  It involved rather a lot more screaming than I suspect most professional biologists employ during the conduct of their work, which screaming was spiced with a liberal dose of anxious profanity.  Still, we managed to get the photo and avoid entirely a trip to hospital, so all’s well that end’s well I suppose.  Except of course that somehow, during the identification process, the pint-sized terrorist managed to flee the scene of the crime and remains at large, a fugitive from Juniorvanian justice.  No doubt the little miscreant is plotting his next murderous escapade, so visitors to these parts should consider security precautions and have an eye to the ground when travelling alone.

He may be small, but he's a criminal.
He may be small, but he's a criminal.
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If you look closely at the bottom of the picture, under the leaf in the middle, you can see the rattling thing on the end of the rattling thing.

Morning Visitors, Evening Intruder

I was up early Sunday morning and in a bit of a half-sleep reverie when it occurred to me that – most unusually – there was rather a lot of noise outside my bedroom window.

When you get right down to it, I sleep about eighty-five feet from the edge of a cornfield, often indoors.  Generally, there isn’t an awful lot of noise out there for the would-be sleeper or his next-day relative, the dazed and confused early morning riser, to contend with.  What little audio ambience there is would typically be of the pastoral background sort – birds chirping, wind rustling through the trees, that sort of thing.

These noises, though were different.  My brain needed to assimilate and assess the information with which it was being bombarded.  First, I determined that there were noises of many varieties, and lots of them.  Whatever was happening out there was not taking place by stealth.   I decided to confer the status of “racket” upon what I was hearing.  With that taxonomic decision out of the way, I proceeded to consider whether there was possibly more to learn about the situation.   After some careful reflection, I decided that quite a number of the many noises were similar;  I decided to assume that there was a lot of something causing this cacophony.  But what could those somethings be?  Examining my audio memory banks, I could not recall ever hearing this particular sort of racket before.