My Top Three Domestic Snake Encounters

I am not afraid of snakes. Mostly.

It may be due to the parenting era which I’ll call the “Time of the Lizard” when the menagerie in my home was pushed into a population crisis by nine geckos and a chameleon. Reptiles are beautiful, interesting and – I found – super compelling to watch.

Nevertheless, my mostly brave snake interest is still sometimes accompanied by a chill spreading down the back of my neck, hidden though it might be by the brave look on my face.

My home is in a part of Connecticut that some would consider “out in the woods.” Though at a whopping five miles from an interstate, I am hardly remote. Nevertheless, snakes seem to have worked their way into a few of my favorite ‘round-the-house tales.

In true Letterman style, I will count back the top three.

Snake-150x1503. Snakes by the Washing Machine

I kept my out-in-the-woods home after my divorce about ten years ago. Suddenly charged with single parenting and full home management, I was also vividly aware that there were certain things that could go wrong for which I would suddenly be the sole responsible party.

The worst scenario I could envision would be a dog skunking. Perhaps due to my pleading with the powers that be, I have yet to have to need to deskunk a dog. For this I am grateful.

However, not far behind that what-are-you-going-to-do-now list of things I’d rather not have to deal with was wildlife in the house.

Sure enough, there it was. In the basement, right between me and the dryer. A snake.

I thought about leaving it, but then I’d never know where it had gone. The only practical solution, then, was to drop a five-gallon bucket on top of it.

Now at least I knew where it was. But it was still THERE!

Finally, slowly, slowly I wiggled a few sheet of newspapers between the bucket and floor and (alternately saying “Ew” and “Oh My God!” out loud, I flipped it over, and ran it out to the woods .

You don’t have to tell me how brave that was!

Black_rat_snake.sized_-233x3002. Saving a 3-Foot Snake with a Pair of Nail Scissors

A faint putrid odor was blowing up from the back yard on an otherwise gorgeous summer day. The birds were circling a former garden area out back.

“Hrm,” I thought. Those birds look like vultures.

Those birds were vultures.

On investigation, I found that they had been attracted by a large, dead rat snake which had gotten caught up in some old nylon bird netting that was caught in the weeds. I was sick. If given a choice, I’ll find a way to let a beetle outside before I’ll squish it inside. And here was a much larger animal that had been killed by carelessness. Uck.

As I was working to move it towards a more dignified end, a stirring in the weeds caught my eye.

There was another rat snake, just as large, and very much stuck in the same nylon fencing. It seemed the snakes could go forward through the gaps, stretching the fibers, but could not back out. This snake was on its way to the same demise.

“Not gonna happen,” I thought.

(This was one of those brave face, fear running down my back moments.)

I grabbed a large pair of garden loppers to free the snake, with long handles that would give allow me to leave a wide berth between my body and the snake. Nope. There was no way to work them under the nylon.

After much hand wringing and teeth grinding, I grabbed a pair of nail scissors from the house. Carefully calculating where the last cut would need to be made so I could jump back quickly, I clipped ever so carefully – again alternatively yelling “Ew” and “Oh My God!”

Adrenaline was looking for any way out of my body possible – my nerves were on fire. But I was determined to be “She Who Saves Snakes.”

Finally, on the critical snip I jumped back, and the snake slowly moved away. No threatening hiss. No, “thank you, Snake Saver.”

Yes, I am just that brave.

hoover-vacuum-for-kids-150x1501. Snakes in a Hoover

It was a classic Mom negotiation.

“Okay, you guys. I will get supper on the table. You vacuum the carpet.”

Since we were strapped for closet space, I kept my vacuum cleaner in the garage, just through the door from the family room. Made sense at the time.

My daughter – the older of the two kids – grabbed the vacuum while directing her younger brother to pick up the remainder of his toys.

All was going according to plan. I was blissfully filling serving bowls, and my kids were collaborating on cleaning. (If you are a mother you will understand this is a coup.)

The Hoover began to whir when suddenly the kids began screaming. “Snake!” “Snake!” “Awwwccck.”

I ran to the other room to find the Hoover on its side, still running, my two kids standing on the couch screaming, and three small snakes frantically wiggling across the carpet.

Snakes had been snoozing inside the Hoover.

Terror. Hilarity. Extrication via the bucket trick.

That was many years ago, and my kids are no longer small. But my memory of them screaming at the snakes makes me laugh to this day.

And the vacuum? I keep it inside the house now.

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