If I Go Down, Call 911
These stories are all about encounters with snakes. I don’t like snakes. You’ll be hearing about 5 stories that will make you cringe and probably think, “What were they thinking”. I decided to put them all in one story because I don’t want to talk about them again.
The picture above will come into effect on Story #3. This is the screened-in patio at the house where I used to live. I spent 21 years there. The yellow recycling bin will be in play in that story.
When my Mother and I bought a house, there were springy plants planted in the ground behind our house. They were surrounded by railroad ties. The two were near each of our bedroom windows. There was a large patch of grass between them. It was always a pain when I mowed the lawn, because I would have to go around those railroad ties. I would maneuver the lawnmower up against the house and have to walk at an angle to cut the grass. The whole backyard, if you can call it that, sloped down to an area where water would collect if it rained a lot. One day when we were outside, we noticed that there was a snake in one of the plants. You might think that I tried to get it. That would have been the correct thing to do, right? You would be wrong. From a distance, my Mother was able to get it with the shovel, after I used a long stick to lift up the plant a little so she could get it. There were some guys on a roof on the street over from us watching the whole thing. We could hear them cheering. I don’t know how she ever did it.
My Mother and I were out doing yard work. It was brutal work, especially when it was in the 90s. The heat index would go up into the 100s. There were several times when I thought I would collapse. We were working on the south side of the house near the sidewalk that led up to the front door. We had a large black garbage bag filled with plants that we had removed and pine tree clippings. We left the bag on the sidewalk. We went over to the northern side of the house to either get the hose or make sure we had everything picked up. Once we got over there, we encountered a black snake. My Mother tried to toss the end of the shovel toward it. DON’T DO THIS!! Suddenly, the snake lurched toward her and was only inches from her. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen with a snake. She backed off fast. I was yelling. The snake left up against the house. We followed it at a safe distance. We wanted to see where it was going since we were working on the other side. It got to the south side and was going right for that garbage bag. We thought what would we do if it made it into that bag. Somehow we were able to shoo it away from there. It ended up in front of our neighbors screened porch. It was looking like it wanted to come back toward me. I watched it as my Mother gathered the bag up and moved it in the garage. I kept spraying wasp spray toward it to keep it back. I know you’re probably thinking, why wasp spray? It’s all we had that could propel liquid a far distance. Once she got the bag inside, I made it safely back in the garage and closed the door.
Our garbage company, Waste Management, switched to new bins. The new bins were huge. These were the ones where the truck picks them up with a mechanical arm. Because they were so big, they wouldn’t fit in our one car garage. We had to put them on the screened-in patio. I always put the recycling bin closet to the french doors since that got the most use. So the bins were halfway between the patio door and the french doors. Everything was fine until this one time. I put something in the recycling bin. I noticed the bin wasn’t lined up. I picked up the front to move it back into place. Then all of the sudden, I noticed a snake. My heart was pumping so fast that I thought it was going to jump out of my chest. I dropped the bin and moved over to the front of the patio. It wasn’t a black snake this time. It had some orange markings on it. It took me a few minutes to compose myself. I ran back inside to tell my Mother. I told her I was going to call Animal Services. Once I got on the phone, they knew it was me. They called me by name. I had called another time for another incident. They told me they would send someone out. We waited patiently. Yeah right!
I flagged down the Animal Services Officer. He came over and I told him where I had seen it. I was outside. I was not standing on the patio. I had propped open the door. He pulled the recycling bin back and started looking for it. He couldn’t find it at first. Then he found it wrapped around the wheel of the bin. He left and went to get a bucket and a towel. Once he got back, he said to me, “If I go down, call 911.” A little laughter obviously. He probably saw how scared I was. He was able to grab the snake and put it into a white bucket. He put it into his truck and drove off. I didn’t find out what type of snake it was. It was a small one, maybe 12 to 14 inches. My Mother wanted to see it but our neighbor came over and was talking to her. She had never done that before, so my Mother missed seeing it. It was probably for the good. We think it got in under the door. The screen door didn’t fit very well and there was a gap under the door.
Sometimes when I went to get the mail, I would always go out the screened-in patio door. I never paid attention to where I was walking. All of the sudden, I saw a black snake and I almost stepped on it. I put on the brakes and sorted of shuffled my feet trying to stop. It jumped and I got the heck out of there. I went down to the sidewalk and waited until I saw where it went. Then I went and got the mail and ran back inside.
Several times in the condo, I have seen a long black snake going from one side of the sidewalk to the other side and into the bushes. Luckily for me, I was looking out the window on the third floor of my condo. For once, I wasn’t afraid.
I hope I never have to come in contact with another snake. If I have to talk about it in the house, I can’t even say the word. I always refer to them as SN.
Until next time, happy reading.
Have you ever had a harrowing experience with a snake? Do you like snakes? Tell us your story.
Gosh, Matt! So impressed by all of these stories - and wow, your mum!!! I wonder how many venomous snakes you have over there?
There are only three snakes native to the UK, one of which is venomous. Grass snakes are around and about - I used to see one in the garden sometimes, but I haven't for years. Smooth snakes are extremely rare. Adders aren't all that common either - they're our only venomous species, and every summer you read perhaps one or two stories about small dogs being bitten and killed.
I've seen black snakes down here only a handful of times and, even though I know they're non-poisonous, I still don't like them. I sympathize! :)