By Ashley Fortney and Marla Anderson
Rumor had it that a big bullsnake was seen on the day use beach a couple weeks ago, so we headed that way in hopes of catching it. It was a hot summers day as we hiked around sweep netting for bees and looking for this elusive bullsnakes. The beach was packed with families. People everywhere: swimming, sunbathing, and children building sandcastles in the sand. While Ashley searched along the beach I headed up to the lawn above. Sweep net in hand, for bees, and searching the base of all the bushes and trees for snakes I thought, “There is no way a snake will be here among this crowd”.
I was just about to give up when a man came up and asked what we were looking for. “Bees … and snakes” I replied hoping that he wouldn’t run away at the thought of snakes. It turned out however, he wasn’t afraid of snakes at all. In fact he had previously worked in the Grasslands tracking them. Thinking he might have worked with Ashley we wandered towards the sandy part of the beach where she was still searching. When Ashley saw us coming she headed our way. With Ashley leaning against the retaining wall on the beach and us on the grassy lawn above stood discussing snake tracking and other research. It turned out that this park goer and Ashley had worked on the same projects but in different years. After talking for about ten minutes I looked down to where Ashley was leaning against the retaining wall.
“Right There!” I shouted pointing to where Ashley was resting her arms.
“What?” Said Ashley thinking I had spotted a bee.
I reached down to grab what looked like the body of a bullsnake tucked under the retaining wall. As I grabbed for the snake on my side of the wall the bullsnake dropped the other half of its body down on Ashley’s side.
It was huge! The longest snake we’ve found yet. Trying to feed it through the wall without harming it we eventually managed to get the snake out. By this time all the kids on the beach, who had seen us pull this giant snake from the wall, came running.
Surrounded by onlookers we showed them the snake. Explaining that it wasn’t dangerous we let the kids have a good look. It was an exciting day for us but I bet it was for the park goers too.
What amazes me most about all this is how all the events lined up to let us find this large snake. If it wasn’t for running into this man, who worked on the same projects as Ashley then heading over to where Ashley was and her leaning in that exact spot where a snake was hiding; we would have never found this bullsnake.