Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snake Tales

There's been some talk on Vee's blog about having a dislike of snakes (even cartoon snakes on a calendar :) and that made me think of some of our family's adventures with snakes through the years.  So if you're up for a few snake stories, read on.

About ten o'clock one night several years ago -- we hadn't been in this house long -- my daughter went outside to tell some company good-bye and she almost stepped on a snake.  My husband went out to investigate, using his cell phone for light (we can never find a working flashlight around here), and found the snake in our front yard.   It was a copperhead!  If you've never seen a copperhead, they are easily recognizable -- the first one I ever saw in person was in Georgia and I knew what it was immediately.  So my husband killed it -- probably with a hoe -- and we left it on the front walk to show my boys the next day (one way you can tell that I am a mother of boys).

The next day we showed everybody the copperhead that my daughter almost stepped on, and then I went about my business and forgot about it.  That evening I thought, "I've got to dispose of that dead snake first thing in the morning." So the NEXT morning I got up and went outside to do just that. Well, the snake was lying in the exact same position as it had been the day before, but there was absolutely NOTHING left of that snake but the skeleton, picked perfectly clean!  Now, there's no bird, cat, dog, coyote, or other little animal that could do that. The only creatures that could have done such a tidy, precise job were ants, and around here that's probably fire ants.  To think that they totally removed that snake in under 12 hours -- to me that was almost more scary than the copperhead itself!

* * * * * * * *

Fast forward to this past year.  One night I'm talking to my daughter while I'm working in the laundry room.  She and I, my oldest son and his friend were the only ones home, but we were expecting Son #2.

Suddenly she says to me, "I think I heard the garage door go up, he's home!"  But he never walked in, so I sent her to look.  In just a minute she came quietly back in from the garage, locked the door, and whispered to me: "There's somebody in the garage!"  She could hear them shuffling quietly.  I get my son, we frantically look for an elusive flashlight, we collect what weapons we can (a machete, shovel, whatever we could find) and we go out to investigate.  There are not that many places a person could hide, but my garage was very junky and had leaf debris on the floor, AND it did not have a working light. son keeps looking, my daughter and I staying closer to the door.  All of a sudden he goes "Get out! Get out now!"  I'm wondering if he saw a skunk (they are VERY prevalent here), but we get back in the house and he says it was snakes -- copperheads! He doesn't know how many.  What my daughter heard was the snake slithering around through the debris.

Well, when there are copperheads in your garage, you cannot just go to bed and ignore it.  He and his friend first put on big boots, one got a hoe the other a machete, and I drove the car around and shone the lights into the garage so maybe they could see a little better.  Let me tell you, when you are in a dark, cluttered garage looking for a venomous snake, your adrenalin is pumping.  They finally found it, but it took them several tries to kill it, finally chopping its head off.  There was only one snake, thankfully.  As we all stood in the driveway looking down at the source of our fear, now decapitated, the severed head suddenly opened its mouth wide, which was SOO EERIE!  It did it again.  Even though I knew it was dead, I still screamed. The next morning, after showing my husband what kind of havoc goes on when he's not here, we promptly disposed of the body (I did not want to have another show of efficiency from the ants).
Notice his distinctive markings
I have to add here that we did see another copperhead in the same vicinity a few days later, which we also killed.  I was very worried that the lovely couple had left a nest behind, but I found out that copperheads don't lay eggs, they have live birth.  It was a relief to know a bunch of little copperhead babies were not waiting to be born!

(I do know that snakes are still God's creatures and serve good purposes in the environment, but I have to say that copperheads in and around my house are not a safe situation for people or pets.  Also, I have seen plenty of other ones out on my walks, so they are definitely not in short supply around here.)

* * * * * * * * *
One more story:

One night we were at dinner and an argument broke out.  My husband was trying to remain calm but he was very frustrated with one of my children (no, I don't remember which one), and he jumped up from the table and strode out to the garage.  The kids and I just sat at the table quietly -- as you do when there's just been a bit of a scene -- and we hear the garage door go up (we don't have an automatic opener, you raise the door manually).  Immediately after that we heard my husband yell.  I tell the kids, "Just sit here and be quiet and give Dad some space"  because I think he's just yelling in frustration, like "ARGGGHHHHH!"  But he keeps on yelling, and finally we realize he's saying something:  "Bring me a bucket!"  ????????  We rush to check on him and find out that as he was raising the garage door, a snake fell on his head!!  He wants the bucket to catch the snake.  Thankfully, it was a harmless snake and we let it go somewhere away from the house.  We laughed and laughed, but I would not have been laughing if that snake had fallen on me!
Texas rat snake that fell on my husband
These are not all of my stories.  There was another snake in the garage a week later, there was the time a snake was INSIDE the house in the living room . . . . you get the idea.  And to this day, I am very careful to move away from the garage door when I open or close it.  One good thing came from these snake tales:  the garage got cleaned up and my husband installed a motion-detector light in there so now as soon as I go out to the garage there is light.  Hallelujah!


  1. Read your snake tales with fascination. Not having lived in proximity to snakes I don't know how I would handle these scenarios myself. They don't freak me in principle but in practice they might! What I am afraid do freak me Big Time are the critters with 8 legs. I can deal with them if need be so long as they are small but not without a freaky fit if they catch me by surprise and as for the big ones - you can probably hear me in Texas! I know this is silly and they are all God's creatures etc but I just can't stand them!

  2. Oh my goodness!!! I think I might have died if a snake had fallen on me!!! Really. ~shudders~

    You have quite the repertoire of snake stories! But I agree with you about the need to end their lives. When they invade YOUR space, they have stepped (or...slithered?) over the line.

    I have a couple of snake tales myself. Maybe I'll tell them sometime.

  3. Where do you live? Because there is no way that I could ever live in your state. Freaky stories! Especially the rat snake on your poor husband's head!

    1. Vee, I live in Texas and I agree the environment can be quite hostile sometimes!


I love to hear from you! Thanks for leaving a comment :) I've turned off anonymous comments due to spam. If you would like to leave a comment and can't, send me an email.