The Suburban Snake Wrangler

A new tv show I am thinking about pitching to Animal Planet. Starring me! =)
What do you think? You think anyone would watch it? J/K
I stepped out of my sister-in-law, Amy’s house yesterday with my youngest when she starts hyperventilating and squealing in almost a whisper. I jerk around and am amazed at what I casually passed by, so caught up in my own thoughts that I miss this creature.

My first thought is that it can’t be real. Snakes don’t grow that big in our neighborhood. They are born and usually get squashed by cars or run over by lawnmowers or bashed in with shovels. So I literally look around thinking someone put a fake snake on the porch.
Then I come to my senses and realize that no one is going to believe me and grab my camera. Amy is trying to figure out in her hysteria what in the heck she is going to do. So, I turn to her and tell her to get me some work gloves that there is no problem, I can catch that snake.
We have many baby snakes in our yard and my husband has taught me and my kids what characteristics to look for when trying to figure out if a snake is venomous or not. I went through the check list. #1 – Is the end of his head rounded or pointy? Ok – really round. #2 – Are his eyes shaped like a cat; slanting out or are they ovals? Ok – oval. So my snake is not venomous. He has teeth and he can bite but I won’t die from venom, just from a heart attack from being freaked out of my wits.
I am really not sure what came over me but as long as I have been a mother there really isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to protect my children and this just proved it to me.
Amy came back out with work gloves and a huge shovel.
“Amy, what is that for?”
“You are going to kill it! I killed a baby one last week with this shovel.”
“Amy, I’m not going to kill the snake, I’m going to capture it and release it away from here. He is a big dude and will eat up rats and rodents and little snakes and whatever cause I am not killing it. I don’t think I can.”
So I put on the gloves and make my way to the other side of the porch where his tail is wrapped around the post. Amy grabs my youngest and pulls him inside and holds on for dear life to him with the door cacked open. He is squirming wanting to be outside with me but Amy refuses to let him go saying that he might not need protection but she needs to hold on to someone cause she is scared to death.
So I gently grab his tail and unwind his body from the post and banister and pull him to the concrete so that he will stretch straight out. In my mind I’m thinking he needs to be tryng to go the other way so I can come up behind him and grab his head so I can clamp his mouth shut so he can’t sink his teeth into me.
He is a wiggly sucker and I am working as quickly as I can trying to decide if I will be fast enough to grab his head or if he will just turn around and strike when I am moving.
So I add one more step to my plan. I step on his neck right under his head so he can’t turn around and then I grab his head and clamp his mouth shut.

My boy wiggles out of Amy’s arms and comes over asking if he can feel it while Amy goes looking for a bag to put it in and comes out with a Walmart bag but then realizes that using something so small, she might have to help me so she goes back in and comes out with a large kitchen trash bag and loops it over the rocking chair and steps back inside.

“Sorry, Tara, but I am not helping you put that in the bag.”

I drop the tail into the bag and then quickly release the head while twisting the bag around and around.  Well, the snake did not necessarily enjoy this and starts striking the bag and my first thought and I guess Amy’s at the same time is that he is going to get out and he is going to be a little peeved at us.  So she goes and gets a second trash bag and actually helps me put the first inside the second and I twist and tie it up.

“Wow, Amy.  Can you believe I just did that?  I have never in my life done anything like that before!”

“WHAT!?!  I THOUGHT YOU’VE DONE THIS BEFORE.  WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE YOU THINKING TO GRAB IT?”

“I’ve seen it done on tv and it seemed pretty straightforward and easy to do so I just did it.”

My thoughts then turn to; where in the world am I going to take this snake.  Maybe I should just kill it because we live in a big neighborhood filled with little kids and what if he finds his way back to another house?

While holding the snake out the window on my drive one street over to my house, I am still contemplating what I should do with the snake.  I still don’t think I personally can kill it but I can find a big burly man to do it for me.  I pull into my driveway and my next door neighbor is coming home for lunch so I call him over to make the decision for me.

Upon describing the snake, he tells me that it sounds like a black snake and if he is as large as I claim, he is doing really well eating rodents and other snakes around the area and we really don’t want to kill him.  Okay, fine.  Decision made for me.  Now what.

He gets the bag and I follow him over to the pond a few houses down and we walk around to the backside away from the houses and he untwists the two bags and shakes the bag to get the snake out.  The snake calmly slithers away into the tall grass and as he is disappearing into his new home I ask, “How long do you think that snake is?”

“Easily 3 feet if not more.  A big snake.”

“Thank you for confirming that because nobody is going to believe it when I tell them.  My husband especially will think that me being a female, and probably hysterical at the time, exaggerated the length.  But you are my witness that my mind did not turn a worm wrangling into a giant snake wrangling out of fear.”

It was hours later and my hands were still shaking and I am still asking myself one question.  “What in the world were you thinking, Tara?!”

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