Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Snake Pit

As long time readers know, I have a swimming pool in the back yard, and when the weather turns hot and humid, there's nothing better than a dip in the cool, clear, blue waters.

The problem is that the waters are dark green and opaque. When I lost control of the chlorine and the pool went greenish, it was the same time that my knee put me on the hobble-with-a-cane list. I just let it slide until I could get back some mobility. I knew I'd have to get in there to scrub the pool free of accumulated muck.

Well, my knee is better, thanks to some injections into the joint and I really need the pool for cooling and exercise, so I began the cleaning process.

I knew this one would be different. For one thing, the pool had developed an ecosystem of its own. I had been watching the tadpoles grow, and in some cases, actually sprout legs. But in addition, I had seen a snake swimming in the pool. It was a very timid snake, and quite small. From the stripes on its back, I think it's a Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake, which is non-venomous and harmless. Still, it's not one I wanted to dive in a wrestle with.

Based on Shelly's recommendations, I finally decided to drain the pool for the first time in quite a number of years. The disruption of the ecosystem has triggered a number of changes, the most dramatic of which is the snakes.

Yes, multiple snakes. I have seen four, thus far. One of the larger ones has managed to escape on its own, but the others are trapped in the shrinking body of water. I think it has solved my little puzzle of why I have been seeing smaller numbers of tadpoles than I'd seen before. They keep swimming, looking for a way out, but they are much more frightened of my helpful net than they are of the shrinking pool. Just so long as they don't try to swim down the main drain and into the pump, I'll manage to get them free one way or another. Cute little things.


Bill Crider said...

Snakes, even harmless snakes, aren't cute. I share Indiana Jones's feeling about snakes.

Henry Melton said...

Well, Bill, the snakes aren't a problem anymore. I netted them, one by one, and sent them sailing off into the grass. I just hope they have sense to head for the pond.

No, the problem now is that I stupidly stopped the pump to check the catcher net for tadpoles. Since the water level is so much lower than before, the pump can't pull the water high enough in the intake. I hope I don't have to refill the pool, just to restart draining it.