Posts Tagged ‘bullsnake’




Baby was up and at it the other day. She almost seemed to be posing for me. She’d eaten a rat a few days earlier, and the sluggishness from winter had all but worn off.

Do you ever look at your animals and wonder what’s going on inside their heads? I do, especially with our dogs. Usually I think they’re either blissed-out happy or totally miserable. It’s almost always the former, but every so often, like when they’re covered in mud or have just rolled in something disgusting and it’s damp outside and I won’t let them in — then they’re miserable.

But with a snake, it’s not the same. You don’t look at a snake and say to it in a squeaky voice, “Hi, little Baby, are you happy I gave you that rat?” Most of the times I look at her, I wonder if she’s awake. Sometimes I even touch her skin to make sure she’s alive. On a very rare occasion, she hisses at me. She shakes her tail violently as if she were a rattlesnake, which, apparently, is one of the ways bullsnakes protect themselves.

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t normally anthropomorphize my snake. Remember the turkeys and the post I did where I imagined what they were thinking as they stared at us through the windows? Later I pretended they were The Amazing Turkeys Wallenda, and another time I put words to what they were thinking as they greeted me coming up the drive. I loved making fun of them.

But our pet bullsnake is the one animal I’ve taken at face value. That is, until today.

Today I looked at the photos I took of Baby on that day she was so active, and there it was, calling out to me. Not all of them, but one here, another there:

     Can ya scratch my chin, right there, under my right fang.

     Are you my mom????

     Peekaboo. I see you.

I don’t want to go there. Baby has dignity. Not that turkeys don’t, but Baby’s a special case. She defies being made into a goofball.

I’m not sure what to do about it. The silly side of me wants to break loose. Ah, what will Baby care? She’s a snake. She has no feelings.

The other side, though, stares into those steely eyes and realizes that I’m the only one who will look the fool if I dare try to penetrate her inner snake.

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Baby Back, Baby the Snake active one day in mid-November 2007, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Last night at a friend’s birthday dinner, after we’d finished off the Nuts & Birds, curry chicken, wasabi shrimp, and several scoops of green tea ice cream, the question came up. What is your totem animal?

One person’s was the gentle giant, elephant. I said immediately, “Mountain lion.” We looked at Jim — his must be the hummingbird.

One person said a snake, although he didn’t mean it. Two of us thought that the snake as totem animal would be pretty cool.


The idea of the totem animal comes from Native American cultures and traditions. These animals, it is believed, accompany us in both physical and spiritual worlds.

There is no deep mystery to identifying your totem animal. Simply think about different animals. Which do you feel most connected to? What animal has always interested you, or what animal have you seen in unusual places? Your totem animal is that which you feel closest to through interest, dreams, physical proximity, or any other way.

I understood my totem animal to be a mountain lion via two guided exercises, one being a past-life regression. The last close encounter I had with a mountain lion was in the Pecos Mountains of New Mexico, on a hike with Jim. We didn’t see her, but we smelled her and felt her nearby.

If you can’t figure out your totem animal by meditating on the question, you can always take this test (because, of course, on the internet there is a test for everything).

Once you know what your animal totem is, there are a host of resources regarding the traits of different animals. Here’s one, and here’s another. According to this one, my totem represents power of feminine energy.

You know what? I always knew what my totem animal was yet I never looked up what it meant. Now that I know, I realize it fits.

So, what animal are you? I want to know.

Baby Box, Baby showing off her entire body one day in mid-November 2007, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

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Ever notice how some animals have a good energy about them, others not so good?

Dogs = good.
Snakes = bad.

The other day, our Evangelical Christian neighbors were out walking their dogs.

“Do you ever find any ssserpentsss in your field?” the woman asked.

The way Jim tells it, she hissed the word serpents. “As if she couldn’t stand the thought of snakes,” he says, and then he wiggles his shoulders in mock shudder.

Snakes can be scary. Especially poisonous snakes.

But Baby… well, Baby is a baby. Not in terms of her age, just her disposition.

She is, we’re told, old for a bullsnake. Almost 30.

The story goes: the previous owner of the place was driving down a dirt road on Indian land near the Arizona – New Mexico border. A baby snake went slithering across the road; the jeep barely missed it. The guy jumped out, caught the snake, and brought it home in a coffee can.

He built a six-foot-long, two-level cage in an enclosed potting shed next to the house. One whole wall of the cage is a south-facing window. 

The day we did our walk-through inspection, the guy asked us if we’d like to keep her. We had dogs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Why not a snake?

Indeed. Why not a snake?

She’s about eight feet long. Maybe longer. She’s alert, especially when she’s hungry. She’ll come up to where you’re standing and see what you have for her. Or maybe she thinks you’re the food.

Jim feeds her a rat, a big one, every three to four weeks. She usually eats it in a matter of minutes. I can’t watch. Once the rat screamed.

I’m not planning to introduce Baby to our neighbor. Unless, of course, the neighbor comes knocking on our door bearing a Bible. In which case, I might take her out to the potting shed.

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