This past weekend while in the Baltimore/Washington DC area we decided to go to the zoo. Not just any zoo…..the National Zoo, part of the Smithsonian system and therefore free to the public. This zoo is fabulous! It’s immense! Be prepared to walk a ways. It’s probably the best zoo I’ve ever experienced. The slowly sloping paths are large about three car widths, gently curving around the almost hidden animal enclosures with so any lush plantings you have to read the signs to figure out what’s in the next one. Artwork stud the landscape and the overall design of this zoo is well though out. Many of the locals jog or walk through the paths everyday enjoying the beautiful plantings and animal sounds.
My question is: If the animals are supposed to be on display, why did I have the bejeezes scared out of me by a three foot long black snake just slithering along languidly crossing the path in an area with many people? I thought these critters were supposed to stay in their cushy homes? I seemed to be the only one not too upset by this snake crossing the path. He just came out of the bushes on one side, slithered across at a relatively slow pace, or so I thought, for a snake, then proceeded to vanish into the brush on the opposite side.
How did I come to notice this? My grandson and I were waiting along the path because we had walked ahead to wait in the shade rather than in the bright sun after a long morning of walking when the snake appeared. The funny thing was that most people just skirted the little fellow and went on their way without even a nod or a scream. I on the other hand was sitting on the railing, hoping he couldn’t – wouldn’t climb the railing.
We watched as several dozen people just stepped over the snake, walked around the snake or almost stepped on the snake. My grandson thought it was great fun to watch people almost stepping on it because their surprised look was truly priceless when he warned them about our little slithering friend. Then without any fanfare the snake disappeared into the brush. Maybe the cheetahs have better food? Maybe the zebra doesn’t threaten the snake? Maybe this particular snake was on rodent patrol that day. Who knows? All I know is a snake was loose (probably a native but nevertheless loose) and snakes creep me out.
All’s well that ends well and the snake went on his way.