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Close Call

This photo needs a little explaining. It was taken around the time when Rat L. Slink first slithered up this way and hadn't ventured past the lower steps. Early one morning (the exif data is still on FL time, 3hours late...forgot to reset the camera), still asleep, I heard an unusual commotion from the chipmunks outside. Should have gotten up, but decided to sleep in. A little after 7 a.m., I noticed that the snake had made its way up around the water tank and was harassing the fully aware 'munks. For the next hour and a half it stayed in a general area of about 15 by 10 feet on the rocks around the tank, while I dutifully followed around with the camera. Seemed unusual for it to be so active. In that period, there were brief encounters with the 'munks...and that's when this particular shot was taken....with this little guy actually flying through the air in retreat. Need a faster focusing lens...somewhat out of focus. The lens is about a 10 year old 80-200mm Nikkor. Though the 'munk survived unscathed, it likely learned a valuable lesson.

At around 8:30 a.m., Rat L. made his way back up under the water tank, and I saw what all the earlier commotion was about. Evidently he had ambushed one of our furry friends, and for some reason waited till now to partake in the spoils. Rigor mortis had set in, which seemed to make the next 55 minute head-to-tail swallow-fest all the more gruesome...conveniently finishing 5 minutes before I had to go on duty. This was a pretty big stiff chipmunk. At some point, I may put up a few dinner shots....haven't decided yet. Think I should post some?

It took Rat L. two full days before he could get back in his favorite hole under a concrete step with that big bulge in his middle. I suspect he's still there, possibly molting. Two years ago, he spent 13 days in the molt process, and left me the discarded skin. If he's truly there, I'm expecting him to emerge sometime around this coming Saturday, the 23rd. We'll see.

Nikon D70
1/640s f/4.0 at 116.0mm iso200 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
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Sharon Gamache 21-Jun-2008 13:57
Glad to have the story to go with the picture. I too would like to see the rest of the shots that go with your story.
Snakes gotta eat too.
Guest 05-Oct-2007 15:48
i prefer the escape but others may find the eating interesting or instructive..suzanne
mary wolf 23-Sep-2006 20:06
wow, great picture and good story. sure, post the dinner shots, nature is great