Tag Archives: snake removal

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.

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?