Saturday, October 14, 2006

Drinking a River

Congratulations to ABM for taking second place in the "I Love This Dog Photo Contest" sponsored by Fredericksburg Animal Hospital, Schering-Plough, Dog Manners Behavior and Obedience, and Fredericksburg Parks & Recreation. A photograph of an embalmed puppy in a bundle of fabric flowers took first.
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Oct. 14:

Coexistence for snakes and dogs

Andrew McAfee of Fredericksburg has been interested in snakes and their behavior since childhood. When asked, "Why snakes?" McAfee smiles and says: "It was a natural outgrowth of my childhood interest in dinosaurs. I got my first pet snake in the fourth grade and I've been hooked on reptiles ever since."

McAfee is often asked, "How do I rid my yard of snakes?" If you live in wooded areas and like flower beds and natural atmosphere, your dog will benefit from your knowing when and why snakes are most active.

McAfee explains: "The aspects of a garden that make them pleasing to people are often the same aspects that attract wildlife. Heavy plant growth, rockwork and moisture provide snakes the resources they seek: cover, basking areas, water and food."

McAfee continues: "Most snakes in our area are active from April to November. Peak activity depends on the snake species in question. Many water snakes are active in the daytime, not at night, and bask in full daylight by rivers and streams. Rat snakes are typically most active at dawn and dusk. Copperheads have an activity shift with the seasons, being daylight-active (diurnal) in the spring and fall and nocturnal during summer. This shift is attributable to the temperature differences between these seasons.

"In spring and fall, copperheads avoid the cold nights that make them sluggish. In summer they avoid the high heat of the day. This activity shift correlates to a diet shift. Copperheads eat nocturnal, warm-blooded (endothermic) rodents in the summer and diurnal, cold-blooded (ectothermic) frogs and lizards in the spring and fall."

Pet lovers' desire to drive snakes out of our yards may be an unrealistic goal. McAfee says: "Except for the racers, Virginia-area snakes are generally not in the habit of fleeing. They are not very fast, and motion draws the attention of predators. Snakes are more likely to hide. Noise and commotion may force snakes deeper into hiding, but probably not out into the open."

What kind of senses do snakes have? Will noise, vibrations or anti-snake products encourage snakes to flee our flower beds? McAfee offered little encouragement for the success of products to ward off snakes. He told me: "I have seen commercial snake repellents at the hardware store. These are typically some combination of sulfur and naphthalene. I don't know if these repellents work at repelling snakes, but your dog is at less risk from snakebite than it would be from ingesting naphthalene."

McAfee's best advice is: "Use reasonable precautions. Wear footwear in the yard, use a flashlight at night, don't reach blindly into holes or leaf litter. Pay attention to your dog's behavior in the yard. Most snakes have threat displays to prevent escalation and scare predators away. Unfortunately, some dogs may find these displays more intriguing than threatening. There's always a chance that a dog might step on a concealed snake and get bitten."

For dog owners who are determined to rid their outdoor surroundings of copperheads, McAfee advises supporting wildlife species that are the natural enemies of copperheads: kingsnakes and predatory birds such as hawks and owls.

Is there any way to get away from snakes? McAfee shook his head and laughed, saying, "You could move to Ireland." We both agreed that we intend to stay here in Virginia with our curious dogs. To keep pets safe in the big backyard, we must find ways to coexist with the snakes, which were here before us and which show no signs of giving up their homeland.

The secret to a well-behaved dog and to a safe dog are one and the same: supervise, supervise and supervise some more. Where your dog goes, your watchful eye and your good judgment must go with him.

4 Comments:

Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton outlet stores, air max, cheap uggs, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton handbags, christian louboutin, gucci outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, uggs outlet, louboutin, oakley sunglasses cheap, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online sale, jordan shoes, nike free, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, longchamp handbags, air max, tory burch outlet, prada outlet, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet, kate spade outlet, louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, ugg outlet, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton outlet, nike shoes, tiffany and co, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, ugg boots clearance, prada handbags, louboutin outlet, rolex watches, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren, burberry outlet

March 01, 2016 10:19 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

polo lacoste, hollister, ray ban pas cher, longchamp, vanessa bruno, coach outlet store online, air jordan, coach outlet, nike roshe run pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren, true religion jeans, converse pas cher, air max, vans pas cher, sac guess, true religion jeans, nike free pas cher, nike tn, oakley pas cher, timberland, new balance pas cher, nike air max, nike blazer, nike free, coach purses, north face, true religion outlet, abercrombie and fitch, kate spade handbags, louboutin, hogan outlet, nike roshe, lululemon outlet online, air max, michael kors, ralph lauren, michael kors uk, sac hermes, mulberry, north face, sac longchamp pas cher, true religion outlet, replica handbags, michael kors pas cher, michael kors outlet, nike air force, hollister, sac burberry, air max pas cher

March 01, 2016 10:21 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

mcm handbags, mont blanc, insanity workout, iphone 6s plus cases, beats by dre, lululemon outlet, longchamp, iphone 6 plus cases, p90x, vans shoes, air max, valentino shoes, birkin bag, louboutin, ghd, reebok outlet, herve leger, s6 case, timberland boots, iphone cases, nike trainers, soccer jerseys, ferragamo shoes, babyliss pro, wedding dresses, north face outlet, soccer shoes, celine handbags, asics running shoes, ipad cases, hollister clothing store, ralph lauren, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, bottega veneta, abercrombie and fitch, north face jackets, jimmy choo outlet, giuseppe zanotti, iphone 5s cases, nike huaraches, iphone 6 cases, iphone 6s cases, instyler, oakley, mac cosmetics, new balance shoes, chi flat iron, nike roshe run, hollister

March 01, 2016 10:23 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

juicy couture, abercrombie, ugg, pandora jewelry, moncler, swarovski, vans, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, ugg, ugg, moncler, ray ban, karen millen, sac louis vuitton, moncler, barbour, rolex watches, gucci, air max, canada goose, sac lancel, links of london, toms shoes, hollister, thomas sabo, swarovski crystal, converse, canada goose, coach outlet store online, supra shoes, louis vuitton uk, sac louis vuitton, canada goose uk, moncler, canada goose, converse shoes, montre homme, marc jacobs, barbour, canada goose outlet, moncler, pandora charms, canada goose jackets, ugg boots, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, wedding dresses, ugg pas cher, pandora charms

March 01, 2016 10:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home