Archive | October 2018

Sneaky Snakes

Well, it looks like the greenhouse will have a winter resident, if I can keep it warm enough. I got in a snake today. A really nice Army recruiter drove him all the way from Gaylord. He’d (the snake, not the soldier) had been living in the basement of the place where they rent. The landlord put down sticky traps for mice. The snake got stuck.
This amazing young man not only drove him here, but he also spent hours with cotton swabs and vegetable oil getting him free from the trap. Realizing that he couldn’t just toss him outside this late in the year and believing that as a wild animal (reptile?) he should be returned to the wild. I have no idea how many people he called before someone pointed him in my direction, but I’m sure it was a lot.
The snake is now lazing in a warm bath in a temporary cage in my studio. I’ll build him his own terrarium habitat tomorrow (just like the turtle, just like the toad). That will give him a more natural space, albeit with a hot rock and all you can eat buffet.
The reason I hope to put him in the greenhouse is not just to preserve space space in my studio…..Jimmy hates snakes. Early in our marriage I was unaware of that fact.
Levi was about 7 when I bought him a ribbon snake at the pet store. (Think garter snake, but semi aquatic). He lived in a terrarium in his room, but was an amazing escape artist. I can not tell you the hours I spent on my hands and knees searching for that snake. We had purchased him while Jimmy was on a 6 month deployment. He never said a word when he cam home and met said snake.
He had been home for several weeks when I went upstairs one afternoon and saw that the cage was sans snake. I looked about for awhile and discovered that somehow the snake had slithered up the curtain (honest I had NO idea that they could do that) and was sunning himself in the open window.
I calmly went to snatch him up, but there was a tiny gap in the screen. The snake quickly slipped through it and was making a second story escape attempt. I managed to grab just the end of his tail. Now I faced a problem. With most of the snake hanging out the window and no way to pull him backwards through the gap against the lay of his scales, I couldn’t get him back in. If I tried to remove the screen one handed, it could squish the snake.
So I did what anyone would do.
I called downstairs to my husband who was watching television, and told him to get a towel from the bathroom and then stand outside under Levi’s window. Now you have to understand, we’d only been married about 8 years and most of that time was spent with him on deployments. He still TRUSTED me.
When he got under the window, I told him to hold the towel open and catch. I still remember his trusting, though somewhat confused face looking up at his beloved wife. I let go of the tail.
What happened next was a juggling act of such frenzy as to be worthy of Barnum and Baily’s big red tent. I didn’t see the end as I was closing the window, but I thought I heard screams. I calmly came downstairs, collected the towel with the snake bundled (rather tightly) in the towel and returned him to his terrarium.
By the time I found my husband again, he was sitting in the chair, drink in hand and staring blankly at the wall. A shiver rippled through his body as I asked him what was wrong.
“I thought I was going to die” he said.” All I could see was that anaconda lunging for my throat and ripping it out. As God is my witness, there was murder in its eyes. It had its teeth bared!”
“It’ a 10 inch ribbon snake”, I replied. “They don’t have teeth and your son carries it around in his pocket”
He shuddered again and got up to pour another drink. “Anaconda, I say. Anaconda!” He left the room.
Later, as I was putting Levi to bed, I noticed copious amounts of duct tape wrapped around the terrarium and a brick weighing down the lid. I have no idea where he found a brick in Navy housing, but the snake stayed put till it died (Likely of obesity) a few years later. We never replaced him. The terrarium went on to hold a succession of toads, lizards and frogs, but never another snake.
Even after all these 30 odd years, the man still wants to know every detail of why I want him got bring me a towel. Trust is a funny thing. I guess it’s kinda conditional around here.