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Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Presence of Snakes

"What do you want Bow?" Bow interrupts me many, many times a day. Sometimes it's obvious what he wants, and at other times what he spells out is surprising.
אני רוצה להרוג נחש
"I want to kill a snake."

He didn't say "there's a snake out there." He just said that he wanted to kill a snake, as if this were a perfectly ordinary desire, and that if I were a good mother I would go and find a snake somewhere, so he could kill it. But Leo was barking outside, and it occurred to me that what he really meant was that there was a snake in the back yard. So I went outside to look. But there was no snake.

This was on Tuesday, August 21. I went back inside, telling Bow there was no snake. He examined my legs. It was a hot day, I was wearing bicycle shorts, and I had a thin scratch from where Leo, who is still quite young, though no longer a puppy, had jumped on me. Bow started to groom my scratch, but Leo began barking insistently. We went outside to the outer pen to see what was going on. Leo was barking next to the trampoline at a remnant of roofing on the ground. I went outside again, and Leo led me to the spot, but still there was no snake.

Here is a video where you can see much of this take place:

That was on Tuesday. Yesterday was Wednesday, and Lawrence spent the day with Bow. At the end of the day he reported seeing a black rat snake near the outer pen, almost within reach. Bow had tried to catch it. "I was surprised he wasn't afraid of it," Lawrence mused. "I wonder what he would have done with it if he had got it."

"I think he would have killed it," I said. "He told me yesterday he wanted to kill a snake."

"Yeah," Lawrence agreed. "Probably he would have killed it."


  1. I have seen several rattle snakes, and once I spotted a snake that was about twenty-five feet long crossing a dirt road when I was out running. That day I turned around and went home. I did play with a friend's pet snake when I was younger, but I do not think I would do that today.

  2. My father used to capture venomous snakes in Israel and donated them to people whose job was to milk their venom for antidotes.

    I am less fearful of snakes than most people, but would not want to handle a poisonous one. A rattle snake is dangerous. A rate snake is not.

    Bow used to be very frightened of all snakes when he was younger. It must be part of his growing up process that he now feels able to stand up to a rat snake.