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When I am outside and my sons hear me scream, they come running.  Fast.  Not in any way, shape, or form out of concern for my well-being.  No, they just come to see what kind of snake I have seen or nearly stepped on this time.  We live in the woods and seeing snakes in the grass, usually garter snakes, is a regular occurrence.

Seeing my snake-reaction-scream-dance is what I believe prompted my youngest son to begin this game.  Here’s a patch of grass, or should I say patchy grass… (No chemical lawn treatments here.)

Look a little closer…

My son strategically places this miniature, rubber alligator in the grass near the flower beds, on the stone row, or wherever I am working in the yard – anyplace that he knows I will come across it and be startled by it.

It’s silly.  I know there are no alligators in our neck of the woods and this one is very fake-looking.  My son’s old enough to know better, but I’m actually flattered, that as a near-teenager, he is still interested in getting a reaction out of his mother.  Even if it is the fear-induced, screaming, dancing reaction.  It’s the element of surprise, seeing  something abnormal and unexpected in the grass, that gets me every time.

This is how I found the little ‘gator today.  And this time, I just laughed.

It had a robin’s egg shell in its mouth.  I wonder if the robin’s egg belonged to the mate of the Red, Red Robin, who still continues to awaken us every morning by pecking at his reflection in our window.  He found the egg shell on the ground and it was empty.  No baby birds were harmed in the production of this prank.

I am grateful to my son for using the rubber ‘gator to literally keep me on my toes, and for making me laugh, after I have stopped screaming and jumping.

Blogging from the land of real snakes and rubber alligators,

Herpetephobically yours,


P.S.  Something très French and delicious on my next post, far away from the snakes and ‘gators!