Snakes have always been a part and parcel of my life. Somehow, they always get inside my house, make themselves right at home, and then quietly leave. I once had a cat that made my life miserable by bringing in live snakes, bats, and mice. I once saw the neighbour’s cat making a beeline for my neighbour’s house with a wriggling live snake in her mouth. I doubled up with laughter imagining the look on my plump neighbour’s face when she saw the treat her pet had brought for her. And today, a small snake got into the chicken run.
We have a small run attached to a well-protected coop. The girls use the coop to lay their eggs and the entire flock (only three chickens) sleeps there at night. Once the birds are in for the night, I secure the coop well. Every morning, I open the door of the coop and let them out into their run. Today, they seemed to be more excited than usual and I couldn’t figure out why. I removed the door of the coop and they enthusiastically spilled out of it. “Hey, what’s up?” I asked, amused. “What’s the excitement?”
They ignored me, rushed to a corner of the run, and fell on something with excited clucks. Curious, I peeped into the run and was horrified to see the small snake. Worried for the chickens’ safety, I shrieked, “Come away from it! Let it go out through the crack!” The hapless creature tried to wriggle out through the crack, but the chooks were not in the mood to let it go. Three overexcited beaks pecked it all over its body and pulled it back into the run again. By now, I had stopped worrying for the chickens’ safety. I just wanted to save the little snake’s life.
I had only one option left—open the run fully and let the entire flock out into the garden. I hoped that, once in the open, the snake might escape. When I opened the run, the snake shot out into the garden with the rooster and his girlfriends close on its heels. Unfortunately, the rooster was on the creature before it could escape. He picked the wriggling snake up in his beak and started running all over the garden while his girlfriends ran after him clamouring for their share.
Unwilling to share his prey with them, he began running round and round the house with the two girls on his heels. The girls gave up after two rounds, but the rooster took five more rounds before it finally entered his chicken brain that neither his feathered friends nor his human audience were interested in taking his prey away from him.
We watched him play with the snake for some time. I then realized with horror that I had to get the kid to school. The kid, least interested in going to school, was watching the rooster with his mouth wide open. “What are you doing here?” I yelled. “Go and finish your breakfast. Get dressed! And do it fast!”
When I got back from school, I noticed that the chooks were on the mango tree. The corpse was nowhere in sight. Somehow, I can’t believe the rooster ate it all. Where did the corpse disappear? The neighbour’s cats were roaming all over the garden at that time, but cats are not interested in corpses. For all we know, it could be somewhere in the garden, just waiting to be found.
Note: I wish I had taken a photo of the rooster with the snake in his beak, but I was too shocked to even think of it.