Another important sign of spring! A little garter snake, basking in the sun.
I've always loved garter snakes. A garter snake was my very first gift from a boy. We were ten and on a school field trip. My friend found a little green garter snake. He gave it to me. We decided the best place to keep him from the eyes of the teacher would be in my lunch box. So we stuffed some grass and the snake into my lunchbox.
----------When I got home from school that afternoon, I was excitedly telling my mother about the field trip. Before I got to the best part, she opened my lunch box to clean it. She screamed and dropped the box on the floor, spilling out the grass and the snake. My mother insisted I take the snake (whom I had already named Jake) outside and set it free.
----------The lunch box smelled terrible! Apparently Jake did not like the enclosure and being tossed around as I carried the box. He had secreted his famous foul smell. That was the end of my favorite lunch box.
----------Perhaps if I had introduced Jake under better circumstances, my mother might have let me keep him as a pet. But I doubt it. She was not fond of snakes or lizards and certainly didn't want them in the house. I made certain that my own children had snakes, lizards, salamanders, polywogs, and turtles as pets. We kept them for observation and then released them. Afterwards, the children were certain they could identify the very reptile or amphibian they had released when we came upon them in the wild.