By Ashley Fortney and Marla Anderson
A few days ago while picking up our pan traps we happened to flush the same Mallard of her nest again. You may remember that we found this nest a few weeks ago while we were setting up traps in that area. Although, I felt bad about scaring the mallard off her nest for the second time I figured that I would at least take this opportunity to see if there were any ducklings. Ever so sneakily I peaked into the nest and what did I see…?
They were not ducklings yet but a bullsnake was lying right on top of the eggs as if he was warming them. A little stunned by this unexpected sight I slowly realized that I should probably grab him. I mean finding bullsnakes is one of the things we are out here to do. So reaching in I quickly grabbed him. The snake was very unhappy that I removed him from his excellent location and hissed at me the whole way back to the truck. It took us a long time to measure, weigh and take blood from the snake as he kept wiggling and trying to get away. Eventually the whole process was finished but now the question was do we put him back where we found him?
When we find other snakes we always release them where we catch them. Therefore, we decided that it was not our place to interfere anymore with nature and we would put him back right beside the nest. Luckily, when we went back the female mallard was still off the eggs so we didn’t end up flushing her off them again. Also, luckily, the snake was so happy to escape us that when we let him go he just slithered off into the grass and did not disturb the nest either. I still wonder how he ended up there? Was he sitting there just waiting for the mallard to get of the eggs or was she sitting on him?