A very tough airport cat.

Builders,
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I walked into my hangar, and my neighbors cat Patches, a 12 year old, bony 5 pound female ran out the door with something in her mouth. My coffee had not yet saturated my brain, and my first thought was “Why is Patches stealing an air hose?” A moment later I got another glance and saw she had a snake in her mouth.

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I chased her across my yard, and under Grace’s Corvair van, pictured above.  I was relieved to see it wasn’t a water moccasin, but I had a struggle with a stick trying to get her to drop it.  By the time I did, the snake was beyond saving. Later careful inspection showed that it was an Indigo snake 48-50″ long. It’s mouth was clogged with white cat fur. Patches lives outside, but I have never seen her chase lizards nor birds. Evidently, something about this particular snake was personal.

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When I picked up the snake after the battle, I guessed it weighed about half of what Patches does, and it was four times longer, but evidently it wasn’t nearly as tough as an old airport cat from rural Florida.

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Related Stories:

Water moccasins or Beltway traffic? Back in Florida 

Environmental factors: Rain, Snakes, and Power Testing

An annual event on our calendar: Snake Season Returns

Snakes common enough to be a trip and fall hazard: Fun with Agkistrodon Piscivorus and Vern’s Aero-Trike
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About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to A very tough airport cat.

  1. ashleysc@broadstripe.net says:

    Hi William; My Grandfather’s barn cat, Jack (all his cats and dogs were named Jack), but this particular long skinny cat of the masculine persuasion must have known that I collected snakes. He would quite regularly bring me live snakes. He grabbed them just behind the head and dragged them between his legs. His records were a 4′ black snake and a 3′ milk snake. Milk snakes are constrictors. Jack also once brought back a weasel, but that was dead. Here’s to Jack, the cat! Cheers! Stu.

  2. Mike Whaley says:

    This saddens me to see. Indigos are very rare now and truly majestic creatures. They are legally protected because mankind has nearly developed this once-common snake out of existence, by turning the scrubland and forests into endless housing developments. They require a range measured in hundreds or thousands of acres, so it’s harder than ever to find unbroken habitat for them to thrive in. Those who aren’t fans of snakes in general may like to know that indigo snakes are one of the top predators in their ecosystem, and regularly eat cottonmouths and rattlesnakes, as well as rats, mice, rabbits, and almost anything else they can subdue. They get up to 8 feet long, and can take on larger prey than most snakes, but are normally very curious, docile and non-bitey if handled (though that is illegal in the wild without a permit). Like sharks in the ocean, having indigos around is a very good indicator of a healthy ecosystem. As this story shows, feral and outdoor cats are a major threat (to much wildlife), as are feral hogs and of course humans and cars. I’m glad the cat is okay, but sure wish the snake had survived too. You are lucky to live somewhere that still has indigos, that’s a rare blessing nowadays!

    • Mike, I understand your thoughts and that is why I tried to pry the snake out of the cats grip, but it was done already. At first I thought it was a common black snake, but close examination and referencing the University of Florida site showed it was sadly an indigo. 1999 I personally saw a 7′ indigo eat a 4 or 4/12′ rattle snake in the wild in a Florida state park. I was watching the rattlesnake and didn’t see the indigo until it struck. When we first moved to the airpark, we had a very large indio that showed up in the yard several times a year. I don’t harm non venomous snakes ever, and I only remove venomous ones from my immediate living space on the property, and as I am sure you know, moccasins are labeled ‘least concern ‘ on the scale of animal population

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