Snake wrangler


Black rat snake

OK, I got your attention. Actually, I’m no wrangler. I have had a six-foot black snake (rat, I think) living in my office for about two weeks. How did I know?

One, I saw him. Or, should I say, the back half of him, slithering past some boxes I have yet to unpack. I didn’t panic. But I did try to find him. No luck.

Two, I’ve been picking up after him for some time. I could be a snake tracker.

I’m not afraid of black snakes. When I was 12 or so, I killed one. (I wouldn’t do it today, of course, knowing what I know.) Back then, our gardener, Lee, was terrified of snakes. He came across one in our old wooden garage and began screaming and kicking up a fuss (in my childhood memory). In fact, that’s what I told my mother. “He screamed like a little girl.” Only I WAS a little girl, and I didn’t scream. I picked up a hoe and cut the snake’s head off. I felt that someone needed to, if only to stop the dance of Lee.

Aside … about two years ago, while shopping at the local supermarket, Mom  and I ran into Lee. I wouldn’t have recognized him, but she did. We chatted for a few minutes, without me really understanding who he was. “That was Lee,” my mother said, pushing the cart on. “You killed a snake for him, didn’t you?”

In the meantime, I’ve seen black snakes, I’ve stepped on black snakes in tall grass, and now I’m living with one. But I’ve never had a confrontation.

The other day I was moving some equipment. When I went back for the electric cords, there was a shedded snake skin on top. It was pretty cool. But it hadn’t been there two minutes before.

I didn’t want to surprise this black snake. They can turn on you fast.

I tried freezing him out, by turning up the AC in my cottage office (one big room) and leaving the front door open. No go. I probably put him into early hibernation.

So, I went to the store the other day and bought some moth balls. They smell a lot like snake repellant, and were highly recommended by my next door neighbor. I threw a few moth balls way back behind some bookshelves. I think this area was the snake’s crib.

Then, it rained.

So, I’ll never know which of the two exactly got this black snake moving.

But I do know that I spent all Sunday afternoon waiting. I had it all planned out in my mind — I’d hear the slight crinkle of some paper somewhere, and then I’d watch the black snake slide out.

You know what? It took three hours and happened exactly like that. I heard the black snake drop to the floor (it’s a sound you can imagine!), and then head for the door. It took a full two minutes for him to leave. He was in no hurry. I waited until the last little skinny wiggle of his tail was over the transom and shut the door.

I’d had no idea how nervous I’d been for two weeks. I had found myself confined to about four square feet of working space just to avoid The Surprise.

And now I have my office back.

Moth balls. And water. Much cheaper than animal control services.

Yet moth balls shouldn’t be taken lightly. Napthalene is a serious poison.

Read more about moth balls as pesticides.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Johnson
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 19:43:51

    You are too much. I always look for another blog from you as I enjoy them so! One question – did the snake come in when you opened the door for it or is there a secret entrance…it might use again?!

    Reply

  2. Susan
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 20:42:26

    No secret entrance, thank God. I left the door open while having a party at the cottage. I seem to have gained both a gecko and the snake … they both cohabited for two weeks. Neither would leave. Doesn’t that seem strange that the gecko wouldn’t want to get away? Anyway, they both left the same day. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Trackback: 12-2-2007 Dream Fragment John Gets Bit By A Snake « John Jr's WordPress Blog

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