“There’s a snake in the yard!” These are words I thought I’d never hear again. After we had an uninvited guest in our backyard last summer and the firefighters took care of it (if you call letting the snake get away taking care of it…), I thought it’d be the end of it.
And yet, Son #1 said those exact words yesterday afternoon. I thought he saw something else but when I looked outside, reality set in. Yep, there was a darn snake by the back wall in our yard, dangling from the netting I put up to prevent the squirrels from getting in to eat my produce. Here’s what the snake looked like. You can see its long pink tail. The rest of its body was all tangled in the netting at the top left of the picture. Yes, there’s a lot of netting. Believe it or not, some squirrels still manage to get through.
When the firefighters came last year, they couldn’t identify the snake but said it was “kind” and non-aggressive. Eventually I found out from the snake expert at the San Diego Natural History Museum it was a red coachwhip, a non-venomous, shy snake that lives in the Southern US. As soon as I saw the color and patterns of this snake, I knew it was another red coachwhip.
Of course my kids were quite concerned. Not much about the thought of a snake in the yard, but rather that it could die right there if we did nothing. That made me proud. I thought of calling 911 again and have the firefighters take care of it. Heck, I could enjoy a few good looking guys at my house, especially if it means I don’t have to touch a snake. But did I really want to tie up three firefighters and a firetruck for a long time?
What convinced me was how tangled his head was. There was no way this guy would hurt me if I freed him by starting at the tail and going up bit by bit. So I took the plunge.
I grabbed my thick garden gloves. I can be brave but I’m not stupid. I know even non-venomous snakes can bite pretty hard. I grabbed a pair of scissors and I got to work, cutting the plastic netting little by little, being careful not to cut the snake’s skin. When I was about halfway up the body, I managed to flip the tail to the other side of the wall. I continued cutting while the snake stayed there without moving one bit. When I got closer to the head, he was getting antsy to get away. He twisted his body a few times the wrong way, which tightened the netting. I had to turn him around a few times to undo the damage and continue cutting.
Suddenly, it was free. It slowly slithered under the bushes on the other side of the wall, probably wondering what the hell happened to him. My kids managed to have a good look at him before he disappeared. It took me just about 30 minutes in the summer sun to do this.
I turned around to look at my kids and I screamed: “I freed a 4-foot long snake and we both survived! I am AWESOME!!!” I have never done anything like this in my life before (and I hope I don’t have to again) but it felt great to help out. Now I can only hope this guy is going to eat some of the critters that eat my produce to thank me for his freedom.
This adventure is definitely going in our jar of “good things that happened in 2013”. It feels good to wear the Supermom cape once in a while. Just don’t ask me to kill any spiders.