The dogs, of course, relented as soon as they saw the stick because they'd much rather let Daddy handle perplexing dilemmas. I suspected one of their bouncy balls was beneath the hot tub, so as soon as it became apparent there wasn't a varmint I needed to deal with, I stooped down for further inspection. Immediately I recoiled when I saw what appeared to be a coral snake. And by appeared I mean it was a remnant. A remnant right in front of the bouncy blue ball. I have never encountered a coral snake but, growing up in the country and being a full-on yard rat, I was always warned to keep my good eye out for the "red meets yellow bad for fellow" elapid. (Never mind the water moccasins, rattlesnakes, or copperheads ... just watch out for the coral snake.) I knew the snakes prefer underground/undercover locations, are fairly elusive, and aren't prone to strike since they're not a traditional viper and must stay attached to the prey in order for the venom to inject.
Still, I was a bit ooged out because, let's face it, my environment is ideal for a coral snake (obvz), and all I could think was "Did my dogs shred a coral snake and live to tell the story?" Apparently that's the case. I did make the mistake of telling my mother this story over the weekend and of course, this has moved all the way up to her #1 Worry List Item. In fact, it did inspire me to do a bit more research and while I certainly don't want to be flippant, I do think I'm probably OK. I have been doing a bit of gardening so am just remaining more aware and taking precautions like
Here's the Wikipedia entry on coral snakes. I found it interesting, and always enjoy learning something new and confirming facts along the way. In fact, I think that's what should be the epitaph on my grave, "He was all about confirming facts."