An uninvited guest (not for the squeamish)

We had an uninvited guest in our backyard this week.  An un-welcome guest. And gross. It was a surprising visit because our yard is fenced in on all sides and we have a back wall tall enough to prevent this type of animals from climbing over (it doesn’t stop squirrels or lizards from raiding my garden). So the hypothesis is, this animal managed to get in by climbing the bushes by the wall, and then stretched over to get in.

One afternoon earlier this week, I went in our backyard to take the kids’ pool clothes and towels out to dry after their swimming lesson. Something unusual caught my attention in the corner of my eye. There was something weird looking under my tomato plants so I walked over. That’s when I saw this (reminder: not for the squeamish!):

Unidentified snake with black head, pink belly and brown spots on back

Unidentified snake with black head, pink belly and brown spots on back

This unidentified at least three-foot long snake had a very black head (you can see it in the middle of the photo), a very bright pink belly, and a back covered with brown spots. It didn’t move and just stared at me. As for me, my first thought was, how the hell did it get in here and what am I supposed to do? Sorry, but I’m not touching that stuff, especially when I have no idea what type of snake it is. Living in San Diego, I’ve seen rattlesnakes and rosy boas in the wild before, but never something like this.

Fortunately, I remembered from visiting our local fire station with my son a few months ago that they take care of snake removal, so I called 911 to get help. I was told to lock all pets and kids indoors, and to keep a careful eye on the snake, in case it decided to take a stroll along our yard. That kept the kids busy for a while.

The firefighters were at our house in less than 10 minutes and you can imagine how excited the kids were to see them. It’s not every day you have a firetruck park on your street. So the question is, how many firefighters does it take to remove a snake? Apparently, three and here’s the proof:

Firefighters remove a snake from our backyard

Firefighters remove a snake from our backyard

The firefighters were as surprised as me by the snake’s appearance and didn’t know what it was either (a Google search later on that night didn’t solve the mystery). The snake managed to slither through the netting I have put to keep the pests away from my tomatoes (it doesn’t work, by the way) not once, but twice, so it took a while for the three men to cut through the netting and free the snake.

And what do you think that little sucker did as soon as it was freed? It zoomed over the back wall and disappeared. What??? NOOOOOO!!! I thought the firefighters would jump over and get him but they came back inside and said they were done! Apparently, they judged the snake to be friendly and not a danger to people, so they let it go.

The only thing I hope is, that darn snake learned its lesson and won’t come back. I think it spent some time eating my tomatoes, and for this reason, it’s definitely not welcome again, unless it comes back to eat the darn squirrels that are eating my tomatoes too.

Never a dull moment at our house.

Have you ever had an uninvited guest in your yard or house? If so, how did you get rid of it?

26 responses to “An uninvited guest (not for the squeamish)

  1. Funny you should post this today. I was at our cabin yesterday. The screen door wasn’t latched all the way. Sitting at the kitchen table, something caught the corner of my eye. A chipmunk! I said, “eek!” He said, “eek!” He flew out the door and my dog spent the next hour searching the house for our uninvited guest.

    • Oh, I’d be unpleasantly surprised by such visit too. I’ve seen the squirrels dare coming all the way to our sliding window when they know very well I just want to strangle them. But there’s no way I’d want one of those critters running around everywhere in my house.

      • I was relieved when the bugger showed himself out. We close the cabin for the winter and I’m pretty sure a chipmunk or squirrel set up housekeeping. He/she made a lovely nest in the comforter on the bed. Ruined! And, ignored a box of kleenex on the nightstand but shredded the paper lampshade. Argh!

      • Oh, lovely… At least it didn’t get stuck somewhere between the walls!

  2. So happy you and family were fine…wild animals are wonderful…when they stay in the wild. :)
    Many years ago, we lived in a small town in Connecticut and had lots of blueberry bushes and a big vegetable garden. There was a raccoon who came to visit one early morning (sounds like the beginning of a children’s picture book, doesn’t it?) and he knocked over the garbage can and crawled in…he had been coming around at night and eating the newly sprouting corn and causing our dog to go wild in the house…I ran out and flipped over the can and slammed the cover on and called the animal rescue people who came and took him away…hopefully to release him in a less populated area. :)

    • Good for you! I’d been afraid the racoon would jump on me (like in the movie Elf when Will Ferrell tries to say hi to one of them). I remember the many, many possums I saw while living in CT. I was awfully frightened the first time I saw one crawl outside. Coming from the suburbs of Paris, I’d never seen something that big so close to civilization!

    • And living in San Diego, we’re used to sharing our space with nature. I see coyotes walk up and down our neighborhood in broad daylight as if they owned the place!

  3. Oh no! So it’s still around – poor you!
    In answer to your question there is something in our ceiling which is either a rat or a possum. I have called it Rasputin.

  4. Lizards, all the time. Our cat used to catch them.

    • Wait, were the lizards in South Africa or in England? Do you have lizards in England? I’m asking because my mom has lizards just East of Paris, and I had no idea lizards could live that much up North.

  5. Maybe his belly turned pink from eating your tomatoes? ;)

    Hope he doesn’t make a repeat visit.

    • I’m kind of worried every time I go outside now, quickly glancing across the yard to make sure it’s not there. And I thought all I had to worry about was spiders… Someone mentioned the snake may be albino and that’s why I can’t identify it. I think they might be right. All I know is, I don’t want to see it ever again!

  6. Ick! That’s a weird looking snake. Yes, we’ve had an uninvited guest in our garage. We went out and there was this big garden snake. I about freaked. I see them all the time in the garden, but don’t think they’re so cool when they start in on “my” territory.

    • Argh, this is one of my fears! I often leave the side door open in the garage in the summer, especially in the evening to cool the place down. I’m always worried I’ll step on a snake whenever I need to go in the garage, even though I’ve never seen a snake in the garage or the backyard. Well, until this one showed up. One thing that grosses me out is spiders, and if they invade my territory (including anywhere close to the house and inside), they have to die. Black widows like to make their messy webs around the kids’ toys and our garden furniture. I can’t stand them!

  7. Black widows! Bless you! They can be fatal, especially to children . . .
    I wonder if your snake is unidentifiable because it is albino.
    But to answer your question, yes I have faced off a few critters in my day. :)
    It’s sort of a continuing saga, at the following 4 places:
    Have fun! :)

    • You’re probably right about the snake being albino. Now only a snake expert will be able to tell me what it could be. I see you’ve had your share of critters and raccoons. We have raccoons here too but I’ve never seen one in my yard, fortunately. We did have a baby skunk once, and that was as scary as it was cute.

  8. We had a baboon in the garden once, years ago, after it had escaped from the local safari park….
    it was a huge male and had wandered off across the tree tops to someone else’s garden by the time anyone arrived with sleeping pelleted guns!

  9. the baboons escaped in troops I seem to remember until the keepers got wise to their methods…..

  10. Good that the firefighters came by so quickly.
    I do like snakes, but I would freak if I unexpectedly found one in the garden.

    We’ve only had an invasion of frogs. They took a trip from the river at the back of our house to the one at the front. In their THOUSANDS. We had the window ajar in our bedroom and the noise was incredibly loud.
    A few days later I was going through the washing in the basket in the cellar and a frog jumped up at me. I almost became incontinent. Almost. ;-)

    A few days after that we found a dead frog under the bed in the bedroom and then a few more (all dead) in the cellar. We finally discovered where they had got in and have been able to close the hole. Since then no more dead froggies and (relatively) clean pants. ;-)

    I hope your snake stays away – no matter how friendly it was!

    • Oh, frogs in the house, that would freak me out! Especially because their jumping is so unpredictable. We have lots of frogs behind the house, since we live right next to the San Diego River, and from Spring to Fall they are quite noisy at night, croaking their love songs. But surprisingly, I’ve never seen a single frog when I walked by the river.

  11. Pingback: There’s a snake in the yard – the sequel | Perfecting Motherhood

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