Red-bellied Houdini

Just when I thought it was cold enough for any sensible snake to have gone to sleep, so had relaxed my vigilance around the house yard…

Out of the kitchen window, I spied my old mate, looking quite spry and healthy and not all sleepy. It was sniffing around the tankstand overflow pipe, which is open-ended there on the short grass.

‘Hope it doesn’t try to go up that’, I thought. ‘It’d never get back out!’

No, it turned about and came down the hill a bit. I thought it was curling up to sleep in the sun. This is one of the few parts of the yard that I have mowed in the last year, so it’s nice and open.

But the snake uncurled — and began to disappear. Its long body seemed to be sliding straight into the ground!

Yet I’d mown there a hundred times; I knew there was no hole…

Then I remembered having run over the end of the agricultural drain pipe a hundred times too. It’s just ribbed soft black plastic with drain holes, and this is the far end of the one that runs behind my backfilled cabin.

We’d buried it and just let any seeped water run away over the grass. The end is invisible but yes, it’s in about that spot.

I was worried; this was one fat snake. It would never turn around in there.  How would I get it out?? I’d just have to keep checking: could a snake back out?

But next day there it was, sunbaking in its front yard. As the day clouded over and chilled, back indoors it went.

No wonder I’d seen it around the house so much this year: it lived here, right under my feet so to speak. But I still don’t know if it backs out or turns around…

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