There’s a snake in the yard – the sequel

“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.

Red coachwhip snake in our backyard

Red coachwhip snake in our backyard

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?

Red coachwhip snake

Red coachwhip snake

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.

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19 responses to “There’s a snake in the yard – the sequel

  1. I am in awe of you. I honestly don’t thing I’d have the nerve to do that. I can handle a lot, but snakes? They creep me out too much. What a great role model you were for your sons. I hope I never face a similar situation!

  2. Whoa! You are awesome! But you’re right, even remaking my video from scratch sounds more fun than freeing snakes. You have definitely earned your super cape. Just don’t get caught in wind tunnels or engines (like from the Impossibles; capes were a hazard)

  3. You ARE a super hero. Snakes give me the Heebie Jeebies. But I am glad that you helped him get away.

    My post today does NOT make me a Poster Child for Animal Welfare. We had a fat rat in our attic. We caught it in a trap. It’s dead. Dispatched to Rat Heaven. If it’s lucky, it’ll be reincarnated as a pampered Cat.

    • I know there are a lot of snakes in Florida, so I don’t know how you deal with them. As for rats, I’d deal them a death sentence too. They carry way too many diseases and can reproduce way too fast to have them around.

      • Most of the snakes I’ve seen here are black racers that scoot away the moment they sense a human being in the vicinity.

        We did have a baby snake in the house once. Eww!!! BFF caught it in a bucket and released it outside.

        I hope that never happens again.

        As for the rat, I apologized to his remains for killing him. But I feel like you ~ they reproduce too fast to welcome them as housemates.

      • Oh, and you have alligators there too, which we don’t have here. Phew!

  4. Catherine Johnson

    What an awesome story! So proud of you for saving a snake. That was big!

  5. I am in awe of your courage. What a feat!

  6. You are brave. I totally admire that. I have a fear for snakes but knowing and learing about them helps me overcome those fears.

  7. Wow! You are Supermom! I honestly don’t know what I would have done in that situation, but I hope I would have the same mettle that you showed. I love that your boys were there to witness your animal rescue – Supermom, indeed.

    • I knew I could bite the bullet with this one and take care of it. I can’t say I would have been this brave with another snake or another critter! But I really think a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, and maternal instincts can kick in pretty quickly.

  8. I just enjoyed the way this story developed, the suspense – ‘hope she doesn’t get bitten’. More than that, I admire your courage, kindness and the thought that went into not wasting the time and resources of firemen. Something your little boys will understand one day with pride.

    • Trust me, as much as I would have loved someone else to take care of this snake and would have enjoyed a few good-looking firefighters at my house, I really pondered about making good use of their time. I want my kids to understand that you can step out of your comfort zone and still be OK. Now if the snake had bitten me, that would have been a completely different lesson!

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