Now you know why I avoid growing any ground-hugging plants in my garden .
What? You still didnt get the picture? Okay, first click on the photo to enlarge it, then look at that 'stick' propped up against the flat rock. Then look down to the left of the rock. Did you see it?
My own Rat Snake sun-bathing in the early morning light!
She was so big that when she decided to look for warmer spots, she took at least 5 minutes to pass that rock.
Okay, so I'm stretching facts a bit here but honestly, it seemed like 5 hours to me until I was sure she wasn't a Cobra.
Actually I'm still not sure, but this sounds better, doesnt it?
Rat Snakes are welcome here in my garden. They are fantastic at getting rid of pesky rats (bet you guessed it from her name, right?) and so must be saving me the trouble of putting out a lot of rat-traps, I'm sure.
And she really works hard for her dinner! I've seen her on top of a coconut tree (which is way over 30 feet tall, by the way) hunting for nesting birds or rats.
Much obliged, but don't you dare fall on my head, you hear me!
I'm not so happy about my garden playing host to Cobras, though. Yes, they're around and so are some Russell's Vipers. Both poisonous and doubly dangerous because the nearest hospital with anti-venom is a good hour or two away (or three, if you add Mumbai traffic to the equation). But they, or rather, their ancestors, have been here before I was born so I guess they've earned squatter's rights.
The next time you see any of my butterfly photos I hope you'll appreciate the fact that I'm running blindly behind them, not bothering to check if I'm stepping on a twig or a snake.
The things we do to get photos for our blogs!
I'm only half-joking because my snakes are basically well-behaved. When they hear me clumping around, they stay out of sight.
The Cobras are beautiful! They seem to pour themselves from one spot to the next, unlike the frantic zipping of the Rat Snake. The Vipers worry me though, because they dont move away. They just hunker down and hiss like a steam-engine when annoyed. Most of the time one doesnt even notice them because they blend so well with the landscape.
Now, if you think that I spot snakes every day in my garden, that's not true. Its only more like every other month.
I've even seriously considered turning my garden into a Snake Park, but with a couple of active dogs running around, the snakes have decided that the vacant plots of land nearby are much nicer hangouts. They visit and stay for dinner but don't live here. I think ... I hope...
Every once in a while, they leave their calling-cards. I wonder if this was from Cobra Junior ... there seems to be a fang-like thing attached to the skin (bottom right of the photo).
These papery bits always give me a jolt when I see them in places where my children run around. So I decided long ago that there will just not be any plants growing so low that any slithery being can hide in them.
As much as I like that lush, bountiful look of a garden brimming with plants and even more plants grown as ground cover, I'm sorry, but no way in my garden. And, I try to make sure that holes and gaps in the wall are quickly filled in before it looks like an invitation to come and stay awhile. The grass is cut low and it is so closely planted that even an ant would find it tough to move around in it.
Just about the only plant that has challenged me so far is the Gotu Kola. It's supposed to be such a powerful memory - enhancer that I'm reluctant to get rid of it (hey! I can use all the help I can get in that department) but the tiny little patch that I had planted has widened to cover a big corner of the lawn. Big enough to conceal serpentine dreams. Okay, I've got to trim that down. Sigh!
Low bushes are out of the question too. Unless they're planted far apart and annuals are planted in measly, thin rows. None of that voluptuous look for my flower-beds.
But having seen those photos, and imagining all those photos that I was too electrified to take, I'm sure you'll agree that I made the right choice, dont you?