Sunday, August 25, 2013

What If You Saw This ...

by Leann

Fun time at the rental house this week. What would you do if THIS showed up on the steps outside the back door?
We had this visitor and this is exactly what he looked like--and he was about three feet long. What did I do? I screamed like I was auditioning for Scary Movie 20. See, my precious and fearless dog thought this would be something she'd like to play with. All I can say is, thank goodness for the obedience training she's had. Sit and stay works very well with her, very well indeed.

My husband happened to be home--which was lucky for me. I am not a snake whisperer. I was bitten by a snake as a child. It was a harmless one, but it hung on to the webbing between my thumb and index finger. I needed help to get the thing to let go. Childhood horrors tend to come rushing back when facing a three foot snake that's shaking its tail like a rattler.

We knew it wasn't a rattlesnake, of course, but because we feared the dog might be harmed, my husband killed the snake. Afterward I rushed to the computer and looked for images that matched this reptile and I learned it is an Eastern king snake. But then I was sad to learn that he was harmless to humans and that these snakes are immune to the venom of poisonous snakes. In fact, they eat rattlesnakes and cottonmouths. Great. We'd murdered our protector!

I was bummed about it for the rest of the day until, low and behold, I went to let the dog out and there was another one waiting at the door--maybe hoping Rosie wanted to play. Needless to say, we are leaving this one alone. Yes, we will be checking the porch carefully before we let the dog out. And no, I do not want to know how many more snakes are living under those outdoor backstairs or what meals have lured them there. Add that to the list of things I never want to know about this place.

Ever had an encounter with a snake? I'm sure there are plenty of you out there.

22 comments:

char said...

Last year I was held captive on my front porch by a harmless garter snake who was sunning him/herself on the concrete stoop. The snake didn't move when the storm door shut. I had to go back into the house and get something to hit the railing with so the snake would slither back under the bushes. About a month ago, we moved to Sunnyvale CA and now I have to worry about little lizards.

Aurian said...

O man, stories like this makes me happy that I live in Holland, where there are no dangerous snakes. Only innocent garden snakes, and I am very very happy never to have encountered one, as I am totally phobic about snakes.

Leann Sweeney said...

Yes, Char, now I have to carefully check all around the outside back steps before I let the dog out. I am just so glad she is under voice command--unlike the rest of this neighborhood where dogs run in the street all day long and bark all night. In Texas, if your dog was outside, it had to be leashed or on your property and under voice command. This is a new world for me! :-)

Leann Sweeney said...

This snake looks scary but is not dangerous. The snakes we dealt with Texas WERE. Cottonmouths, water moccasins and rattle snakes. After a big storm with flooding (which happened a lot) we had to be very careful. My husband once had to kill a cottonmouth in our front ditch. Those are aggressive, mean snakes!

Debbie S said...

I've only seen the garden snakes, I did see a 5 foot long snake slithering across a path at Devil's Tower...that was unnerving. A friend in Texas introduced me to an elderly gentleman who showed us a box of tails that he had from rattlers that he had killed over the years. I think I'll stick with the garden snakes.

Leann Sweeney said...

I guess you could call this snake a type of "garden snake" since it hangs around, doesn't hurt people and eats varmints. :-)

Book Dragon said...

shoot first, ask questions later...I would have done the same thing! IF I knew it was a type of garden snake, I wouldn't have a problem moving him to a safer-for-me spot.

Leann Sweeney said...

He is a pretty scary looking snake but from now on, I will leave these snakes alone.

Melinda said...

Having been bitten by a rattlesnake summer of 2011, I understand your fear. Every year, since I have moved to this house 6 years ago, I have had atleast one, some years more, rattlesnake 'encounters', but none so up close and personal as summer 2011. My part of Tucson, Arizona has tons of rattlers. Bless your heart!
On an evening news report last week, a bacteria associated with Lyme was reported called 'Myamotoi'. It is rare, but it was advised that all who have had Lyme, AND have lingering effects, should get checked for this to get treatment, if needed. It was on 20/20 or Dateline, or the evening news, or similar.

CherylR said...

A rattlesnake was curled up at the base of the olive tree in our front yard. We called animal control who came out and killed it. They told us the only snakes they dispose of are the poisonous ones. That was the first and hopefully last one I have ever seen. Having coyotes on our back hill is more than enough drama for me.

Leann Sweeney said...

Oh, Melinda. How scary! Did you have any lingering effects from the bite? That would be so scary! Thanks for the info on the Lyme. I am going to hunt for information and take it to my doctor. Now, if they have a treatment that doesn't cause a million side effects, I will be thrilled.

Leann Sweeney said...

Sounds like you live in the wilderness! We will have all sorts of wildlife in our new neighborhood and I heard today that snakes are part of it. Have to educate myself about the good ones and the poisonous ones.

Book Dragon said...

Maybe make flashcards with pictures to have by the exits? You could double check that way and not kill anymore that help you.

I do know there are two that have the same coloring stripes but different colors are touching the black...maybe the yellow. One way good, one way bad.

Leann Sweeney said...

There are supposedly rattlesnakes here. I know what THEY look like so maybe I'll take my black and white friend the kingsnake over to the new place to take care of any problems! :-)

Heather Blake Webber said...

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Leann Sweeney said...

EXACTLY! That was my reaction. :-)

Vicki said...

Snakes have absolutely no interest in humans. And they prefer to avoid us as much as possible. I'm glad you have learned that rat snakes are good snakes and have decided to let them live. I hate to tell you that you probably already have a number of rat snakes living on your new property so you don't need to try and catch the snake living at the rental house. Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there. I'm always glad to see the non-venomous ones since it means there is something out there eating the pesty mice, voles, etc.

My husband walked in our kitchen one night and found a rat snake on the floor. He took a picture, then put it in a bucket and went to get the camera to take another picture. When he got back, the bucket was empty and the snake wasn't to be found. That did creep me out for a few days even though I knew it was JUST a rat snake. But I got over it and the snake hasn't been seen in the house since then. We still don't know HOW he got in the house.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Vicki. I do not ever want to kill ANYTHING, but because it was a situation with my precious dog who was on a sit-stay command (she is such a good, obedient dog) after we saw the snake we felt we had to protect her. Afterward I had time to educate myself. And I was kind of happy to see the second snake the next day--through the window, of course. :-)

Melinda said...

Re: myamotoi, the treatment is yet another antibiotic, but not the regular ones. Re: the snake...he got the bone on the right side of my knee. I'd lost weight due to stress (down to 110 on 5'7"), so he got more bone than meat. He BARELY missed blood flow. Somewhere in the Bible it says that those who are Christians will not be hurt by serpents (only THE serpent apparently). Guess that's true. However, in the run away, I did a full body slam on the ground with my knee first, and, it was apparently in as much shock as me because, tho' it did swell, probably from the ground slam, it didn't enlarge until hours later and then it literally blew up in size within minutes. Some days I think I could sell tickets to watch my life enfold. Goofball stuff. Nightmares for weeks! The snake was hanging on the 6' wooden fence gate when I opened it...and we both did a visual at eye level. He came down on himself and bit my knee...and then I swung the gate away and ran...falling over the chaise lounge and almost blacking out. As I looked to my left, he was on the other side of the chair...also on the ground...looking back at me. There I was, up and running again. Shudder. It took the EMT's a bit to calm me down after they said I'd be okay. In answer to your question, nightmares and knee pain were all that lingered. I am now 'one at peace with the little critters'. Some other critter swiped the head off of one of them, so I haven't seen any lately. Just another day....hope your days fare better than mine!

Leann Sweeney said...

What a horrible experience. I don't think I'd be okay with snakes after that!

Melinda said...

One day I was leaving my house, driving out the dirt road, and there were 4 quail walking across the road who stopped in the middle and for whom I stopped. Golly gee, when I looked closer, I saw that they were flanking a rattlesnake helping it to cross without incident. Once they ALL got to the other side, the Quail waited until Mr./Ms. Snake's tail was clear and then they just calmly went on their merry way. I've bunches of wildlife stories.
Leann, I just published a poem on Kate's blog that I thought you might appreciate in memory of the loss of your four legged kids. May you be blessed. P.S. I hope we are not all invoking more snake problems with all our talk!!! I've had enough for a lifetime!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Melinda. I would say those are some lucky quail. A certain fairy tale comes to mind about crossing a river ... can't remember what animals were involved. A fox maybe? Anyway, once one helpful animal assisted the fox across the river, the fox ate it! That's what they do. :-) Beautiful poem! Thanks so much and I haven't seen a snake since the second came around--probably looking for the one my husband killed. Now I feel guilty! :-(