Thursday, June 05, 2008

Reptiles in the garden

Me: Look at this plant!

Friend on garden tour with me: Wow.

Me: The leaves look like they're made of scales. What do you want to bet that it's got snake in its name?

Friend: Or alligator!

We asked our hosts, and sure enough, it's Microsorium musifolium, Alligator Fern.*

Cool! I think I would have used snake, though.

Speaking of which, I spotted a big rat snake sneaking under the chicken coop yesterday. (Actually he was just sitting there, but he had a very sneaky air about him.) I ran for the camera, but he had slithered away by the time I got back.

We've been using golf balls as laying enticements. They say, "lay your egg here, this spot is great" in language that chickens almost can't help but agree with.

Lately though, the golf balls have disappeared. That snake had a suspiciously round lump near the end of its tail. And a stomach ache, I imagine.


* Also known as Crocodile Fern. You will also see the botanical name as Microsorum musifolium (without the last "i" in the first word).


Wayne said...

That's one that I haven't seen around here. Is it a drywoods or moistwoods fern? We've got the christmas ferns, the southern ladyferns, the grape ferns (of several species) but not this one.

Very handsome!

Jen said...

That is a beautiful plant. I want it!

Dave said...

So which came first - the chicken, the egg, or the golf ball?

NCmountainwoman said...

I love the fern! I've never heard of baiting the hens with golf balls. Wouldn't you think a rat snake would know not to eat it? Bet he was surprised when the shell did not crack.

City said...

I imagine the golf balls will take care of the snake problem.

That would be like a human trying to pass an ottoman.


Annie in Austin said...

The alligator fern looks great, Rurality.

Did the snake really eat the golf ball? I thought that only happened in cartoons!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

edifice rex said...

OMG! I kinda feel bad for the snake. there is no way he can pass that golf think?

Pamela said...

I almost feel sorry for the snake.
certainly that will kill it.

karl said...

that'll teach em. eating your eggs. i bet you find a dead snake wedged between two branches trying to break that golf ball.

Rurality said...

Wayne, it's not native, it's a tropical fern. I got the impression that they moved the pot indoors in the winter.

Jen, it was very impessive!

Dave, good question!

NCMW, the golf balls work great for letting hens know where you want them to lay, most of the time. It is funny that snakes can't tell them from real eggs either though.

City, ouch is right. I thought the same thing.

Anniein Austin, I think so! I don't think a real egg would have been that far down the snake's body without having been crushed first.

Annie in Blount County (heh), I would tend to doubt that he could.

Pamela, yeah I think so too.

Karl I do feel sorry for the snake. I doubt we'll see him again though.

I found this link about snakes and golf balls.

It really did not dawn on me until later on that the lump in the snake was probably one of the missing golf balls. I should have tried to catch him before running for the camera, but it just didn't occur to me at the time.

Rurality said...

Holy cow. Just found another link. They sold those golf balls (from the previous link) for $1400 on ebay!

Dang, now I only need to catch that snake, find some vet to operate, get worldwide media attention... :)

nina said...

The whole snake golfball thing blows my mind!
How can it be they can't tell the difference? I thought they had some temperature sensors? Is that cobras?