Snakes creep me out. Big time. Even little garden snakes. To my mind, this is proof of evolution, because I've got an inbred distaste for creatures that used to kill my distant ancestors.
Also, I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains (California), where rattlesnakes abounded. So hearing their unmistakable sound as a kid while crawling over some rocks also serves to explain my current Yikes! whenever I see a slithery form with no legs.
Yesterday one of those forms also had almost no body – just a few inches of what obviously once was a much lengthier snake sticking out of the intake on our pond pump.
That elicited a Yuck! when I pulled the pump up, wondering why it had stopped working. I refused to touch it, making Laurel get some gloves and extract the hunk of snake from the pump.
Unfortunately, that wasn't all of the snake, since the pump still wouldn't work. There was no evident way to take it apart, so we called DeSantis Landscaping, who installed the pump, and Ben came over this morning to have a look.
Making us feel very special, he said that he'd never seen a snake in a pump. Lots of frogs, but no snakes.
He managed to extract it in bits and pieces, using his Leatherman tool. Guess I could have done that myself, but I was glad to watch Ben doing his own Yuck'ing (real men like Ben and me can be scared of snakes).
Being as fond of Google as I'm repelled by snakes, I was curious how many hits "pond pump snake" would turn up on the search engine.
I couldn't see a single reference to a snake being sucked into a pump (quite a few about snakes in a pond) so we indeed experienced a pretty unusual situation.
Somehow the snake made it through a mesh screen and another filter before ending up in the pump enclosure. Easier to understand, though, is it's motivation: fish eating.
Currently there's eight small koi and goldfish in the pond. Laurel has caught several snakes in the act.
Once she was standing by the pond and noticed a snake darting around in the water like it was hunting. Then it grabbed a fish and jumped out of the pond, right at her feet. Laurel put her foot on it and yelled "Let go!"
It did. The goldfish survived after being thrown back into the pond, with a marvelous Jonah-like tale to tell the grandkids.
Laurel hasn't killed any snakes. (We leave that to the pump.) When she finds them sneaking around the pond, she transports them a good distance away. The people who advised "don't kill" to a Yahoo Answers question on this subject will be pleased with us.
This guy went so far as to install an electric fence sort of apparatus around his koi/goldfish pond. Not a bad idea, but it wouldn't work for our more natural in-ground water feature.
Hopefully the word will spread around the snake community about poor old Joe, who met a nasty end after swimming around looking for a tasty fish meal.
I can definitely testify that the end I saw sticking out of the pump looked way nasty.