It was a cold wet December day when we set off on our pre-Christmas lunch walk. We had cleared only four stiles (Katrina was keeping count) and maybe half a mile when we met Sid. He was curled up in a livid pink heap, ice cold and immobile until Jules gave him a gentle prod with her stick. At this, he reared his head and opened his little reptilian mouth and gave us an angry show of fangs.
Sid was obviously no native snake but a good guess at a North American Corn Snake (knowledge gained via an obsessed-with-creatures-six-year-old-grandson) put minds at rest that he was fairly harmless. It was also obvious that he would not survive long in the very cold weather and something must be done.
So it was that four women and a snake ended up in a veterinary hospital somewhere near Huddersfield. Sid had perked up during the ride thanks to being swaddled in a leg- warmer made from a recycled charity shop jumper – orders for this fashion item being taken. On arrival at the hospital he was considerably more active and ever so slightly warmer.
He was taken by a wonderful nurse to be slowly defrosted and his rescuers bid him a very emotional goodbye, even the one who is terrified of serpents!
A call to the vet at about 5pm revealed Sid was making good progress and looking forward to a nice mouse when it was defrosted. Visiting times were flexible and we were urged to call next day for further reports. Meanwhile said grandson was getting quite excited at the possibility of having a new friend – one who shared the same name in fact!
I would love to continue this festive tale of peace and goodwill to all creatures great, small and slithery in a similar tone but alas dear friends, that is not to be. A call next day was met with the sad news that Sid had “taken a turn for the worse” during the night and in the early hours of Friday 13th the vet had decided that on humane grounds this beautiful creature should be put to rest.
We can only hope we did the right thing for Sid and that if there is an afterlife he is now somewhere warm with a plentiful supply of fresh, not frozen, mice. May he rest in peace.