One fine sunny day I slid on my sandals and headed to my car. In the middle of the sidewalk our cat, MacGyver was playing with something. Nothing unusual here, the cats were always playing with lizards. It was rare to find a lizard that still had its tail around our house. But this playmate was of the slithering, colorful variety. It was a snake and it had lovely red, black and yellow bands.
We live in Florida so snakes are common. We have numerous varieties of both venomous and non here, but this looked like a Coral Snake so I was worried about Mack. I snatched him off the sidewalk and ran him into the house, threw on some closed toed shoes and grabbed a shovel.
I returned to the sidewalk to see Mr. Snake slither into my African Iris bed while I called Bob on the phone and blurted out to him, “Bob, quick, is it black before red, you’re dead? Or red touching yellow he’s a friendly fellow?”
Poor Bob, he’s used to me being a little on the excitable side. One time I almost deafened him on the phone when during a conversation a colorful Painted Bunting visited our bird feeder. When I screamed in delight at this rare sight he just calmly asked, “Something new on the feeder?” But sorry, I’ve digressed.
This time Bob was seriously concerned that maybe I had been bitten by a snake and he had to calm me down to find out that it was just a near snake versus cat incident. “Oh, sorry,” I said, “Mack was playing with a snake and it’s in the flower bed. Nobody’s been hurt.”
But my grandchildren play in our yard and I needed to know what was potentially living here. Coral Snakes and Scarlet King Snakes look a lot alike, but only the Coral Snake is poisonous. This turned out to be a Coral Snake of about 18 inches long, so I wanted it dead. I took the flathead shovel and just went to town on the African Iris. I never was sure that I got the coral snake, but I can tell you the Iris were never the same.