Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 11, 2012

Snake Season

It is very emotional for me to read, interpret and understand my fathers letters every day so today I stepped away from the World War II era and went on to ponder something something that scares me senseless, snakes.

It is snake season in the High Desert. I hate snakes! I know, I know, why live in the desert? Well that is another story. Living in rural desert can have its drawbacks,one of them is snakes.

Snake I wrestled Can you identify this snake? Can you tell the difference between this one and the last in this post?

I have had way too many encounters with them. There are so many I cannot remember the exact number we have had to deal with. I try to block those memories out of my mind. I just realized I should have been carving numbers on my really big stick. My Hubby took the knife away from me when I tired to cut off my finger though.

I had a Jack Russell, named Sydney when I first moved in to this house in 1997. I have an acre and a half of land two miles up a dirt road. I only have neighbors on two sides of me. The other two face untamed desert. Sydney and I were going in the house one day and she found one next to the front door. I saw her get bit. The snake was just a baby, but to me it was huge. After she was hit I grabbed her and got my big dog, Boy Dog in the house. I then had to deal with the monster outside of the front door.

My heart was beating so loud I could here nothing else. I grabbed a shovel, a big rock, and a Valium. I felt like I needed one of those suits that they dress dog trainers in to teach them to attack, including a helmet, cause can’t snakes spit?

What I consider a snake suit

Click here to learn more Military Attack Dog Taining

The snake was still there when I went outside to face it. Every time I looked at the snake I scream in a loud girly voice I did not know I had. Sccrrreeeaaamminnngggg like a girl I put the shovel in front of my legs so it would not strike me, they can jump right? I raised the huge rock I had picked up above my head and threw it. You have to understand in my mind I did not think the rock would actually kill the snake. But it did. Squished it, dead. It was a rattlesnake, a baby.

Back to the dog, it only seemed to have taken 10 minutes for me to deal with the monster in the yard but the dogs face was already five times (OK only two or three) its normal size. That was the day I learned where the emergency vet was. A thousand dollars and two days later I was able to bring her home. I thought or I should say I prayed that it was just a fluke and there to be no more, but I was wrong.

This snake is eating a bird. From our yard.

Sydney got bit two more times. Once by another baby rattlesnake and she would corner a four foot gardener snake under the shed and have a stand off with it for over three hours until it bit her and she finally came out. That first year was the worst. I believe now that the house had been empty for so long they were breeding somewhere in the yard. My husband and I were dating long distance and he was only here on the weekends so I had all week to worry about snakes. I am a rock collector so I have a lot of rocks around the yard. The week after the first incident any time the dogs went out, I went out first with a really big stick and hit all the rocks. Did I mention I have an acre and a half? I had to start 20 minutes before the dogs needed to go out. I lived in fear for quite a while, well I still do

I researched how to keep snakes out of the yard and came across a piece of advice saying that if you piled all your dog poo up against your fence it would be like marking their territory, and they snakes would not to cross it. Did I mention I have an acre and a half of land? I got more dogs. A total of five and I would rake that poo against the fence. Did it work? I never had another adult snake in my yard, now that I think about it my friends stopped coming around that time too.

I have had plenty baby snakes in the yard. I have to assume baby snakes are not very wise. Two things you need to know about baby snakes. One, they are dumb and do not know what dog poo is and two, when they strike they will give the victim their whole load of venom in the first strike. An adult snake learns to conserves his venom in case it needs it to strike multiple times. I really hate that I know this.

Same snake eating a bird, from our back yard

Then there was the dry year. I had four snakes within two weeks then another two that summer. This was the year I learned to snake wrestle.

Of course it always seems like my husband is never home when I find a snake intruding on my land. Here is my technique.

1. Locate said snake before the dogs find it. This is the most important part, but it can be done.

2. Do not panic when you see the snake, keep your emotions under control and calmly get the dogs in the house. In a high sweet voice call the dogs, make it a game so they will not catch on. Once they are safely in the house lock the door, and lock the dead bolt. (I just know the little devils can open doors.) Don’t forget to close the doggie door. I did that once and the dogs came running out like we were playing a game.

3. Take a shot of booze if you drink, or Valium if you have them.

4. Breathe

5. Grab the Gofer thing

6. Put on the snake gloves (there is no way in hell I am touching that snake)

7. Put on the snake boots so it will not bite your ankle, with the really thick socks.

8. Take another shot….. Good thing I don’t drink, breathe!

9. Grab the snake container. Which is a large plastic tub.

10. Locate the offending snake.

11. Scream like a girl now that the dogs are safe. And jump around like a fool.

12. Get the grabber and the snake box ready.

13. Scream like a girl and do more of that freaked out girl hopping.

14. Grab Snake, throw in box, drop gofer thing, and use both hands to keep the top on, so said snake does not get out, they have super powers right?  Do in one fluid motion while screaming like a girl, and jumping like a fool.

15. Take the snake and container and put it out in front of the garage with a huge rock on the lid so the snake cannot get out (because they DO have superhuman strength.)

16. Wait for hubby to get home to identify and relocate snake.

17. Have a nervous breakdown and hug dogs whose lives you just saved crying tears of joy.

Another snake I wrestled

That is all fine and dandy until you find one five foot up in a tree. Yep! Scared the poo out of me and I might have wet my pants a little. I was walking the dogs and I noticed the birds were making a ruckus up one of the pine trees. I got real close and was looking up to where the birds were on the top of the tree. I then brought my gaze down and at eye level was a really big freaking California Night Snake, eye level, wrapped around the trunk. I remained calm until I got the kids (dogs) in the house and then screamed like a girl. Thank Goodness my hubby was home. I watched from the locked sun room while he dealt with it. I will never forget how big that thing was. Seems like it was six foot long and when hubby grabbed it, it kind of jumped off the tree trying to get away from him. Boy was I scared for his life and of course I screamed like a girl.

I think I am moving to Ireland, I hear there are no snakes there.
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/NewsEvents/irelandsnakes.cfm

This one was seen on the street. You cannot really tell but that is a big sucker!

CAN YOU NAME THIS SNAKE?

For now I will walk softly, cautiously, and carry a big stick.

The above is intended for entertainment purposes and in no way intended to be a guide to catching snakes. Do not attempt this at home. Snakes are dangerous, deadly and downright scary. I also do not condone killing snakes but I had to take the dead snake to the vet to be identified,  and there was no way I was going to the vet with a live snake in the car.

Copyright notsofancynancy 2012

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Responses

  1. I love this post! Snakes scare the crap out of me! Snakes and scorpions…do you battle those too? I actually love the”for entertainment purposes only” warning, too. It’s funny to read it because of course it’s not meant to be a guide, but doesn’t that tiny voice in your head command you to add it anyway just in case?

    I just found your blog and I really enjoy it. The stories you share must stay alive! My grandfather fought in WWII and Korea, and the little he did talk about changed my outlook on a lot of things. Please keep it up, even when it’s hard for you. Hope you don’t mind if I recommend you to a few friends 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments. When dealing with snakes you do what you have to do, then you scream like a girl! I have to laugh at myself. Yes we have scorpions and tarantulas but those do not scare me like the damn snakes.

      My father did not talk about the war. There are things my sisters and brother remember but I do not. I am getting older and my memory is not so great so maybe I have just forgotten. I need to get this story told, it is important to me. So although I know part of my parents story I am learning that things may have been different than I was told (tease lol) I do so want to honor him and the men he served with.

      You might want to read “Flocked,” If you enjoyed “Snake Season,” It makes me laugh at myself every time I read it. I still cannot believe it happened.

      Thanks for the referrals! Awesome!

  2. You have to take a snake to the vet? I used to live in Texas and my friends and I never went out without a loaded gun. I have seen too many rattlers shot too close to me to worry about taking it to a vet! Yes, I screamed like a girl! =P Many many times! I would giggle with glee when I saw them gather on the road to soak up the sun during the night and watch cars drive over them, thunk thunk thunk! Not to mention the tarantulas! I did like the scorpions though. I thought they were cool!
    Loved your story and I feel your pain, dear friend! I love and miss the desert! I remember vacationing in Wisconsin one year. My brother and I were fishing in a boat on a flowage. We drifted to shore, I looked up and it was mating season for snakes. There were zillions hanging from the tree above my head!! Talk about screaming like a girl!! Probably more like a banshee!! We couldn’t get outa there fast enough!!! I still cringe when I think about it!!
    Sorry, but I have no sympathy for snakes!

    • hahaha Linda you make me laugh! I did not know what kind of snake she got bit by so they asked to bring it. We have two different kinds of rattle snakes and do you think they would take the same kind of anti-venom? (snake spit) No! so they wanted me to bring the snake in to identify it. It almost pushed me over the edge. In fact the vet made me sit down because he was afraid I was going to pass out. Once they took the dog back, I fell apart.

      My hubby will not let me have a gun….cause I would have to shoot him!!! JK

      Thanks as always for your support!

  3. HATE SNAKES!!!!! However I prefer them over spiders! LOL Thankfully the ranch we are on doesn’t have any snakes except the average garden kind that aren’t dangerous. I was very thankful to learn this fact after moving here! I am really enjoying your blog so far! Thank you for sharing all of this with us!

    • For some reason spiders do not scare me. I only scream like a girl, when I am actually dealing with it, especially if I have to kill it. I do not like killing things. I don’t like dead things. They also make me scream like a girl. But nothing to me has been more frightening than snakes.

      Thanks for stopping by! and taking the time to read my blog! I hope you enjoy it.

  4. My husband can really relate to this. I, on the other hand, manage to handle snakes very calmly. However, scorpions and house centipedes (the white ones the run like the wind) give me the willies. Go figure.

    • LOL Your husband screams like a girl? You cracked me up. My husband has such a deep voice that I laugh at the vision. Thanks for taking time out to read it!

  5. And here I was thinking that living in the desert would be nice and quiet. Now I’m so glad I live in the city, on the other side of the ocean, far far away from all those snakes. All I have ever had to deal with was a cockroach in the garage.
    Anyway, this post was fun to read.

    • All nice in quite in the desert until one of those snakes come around and then all you hear is a lot of screaming that sounds like a girl! lol

      Thank for taking the time to let me know you liked it!
      God Bless

  6. yes, I know what you mean…

    • Wow, I really wish you didn’t. It is quite comical after the fact. Thanks for reading!

  7. Laughing my head off!

    • Yeah! I like to make people laugh! You should check out my post named Flocked. It makes me laugh just thinking about it! Thanks for taking the time to let me know you liked it!

  8. Man, I could envision everything as you described it. We ended up taking our dogs to rattlesnake avoidance training, because we kept coming across them in our forays out to BLM land. I actually like snakes, but I also am terrified that my dogs will get bit. I used to live in North Carolina, and that state is literally crawling with things that bite…black widows, brown recluses, fire ants, red velvet ants, and of course lots of poisonous snakes. I’ve always rescued huskies, and thankfully no snake bites yet (knock on everything!) but there’ve been plenty of other encounters, that had either me or my husband screaming with a high-pitched “eeeeeeee”-sound. We’re moving back to desert country again, and I plan on taking them to the training program again, since it has been a couple of years since the training.

    • I use to work at a rattle snake avoidance, but the man who ran them and had the snakes passed away. Two of the dogs I have now had been through it. If you look at my Sunday post, that is Mohave. When he went through it each time he got near the snake he would run in front of the handler. The day we met a snake he almost knocked me down trying to get away from it. Well worth the money to put them through it. When we had all five they all went through the class.

      Does your training use real snakes?

      • Yes, they did. They had these little clear plastic space helmets for the snakes to wear, that allowed them to breathe. The training was a three prong approach, before “The Test.” The handlers put shock collars on the dogs, and led them up: first) to a snake that had it’s rattles taped, and allowed them to sniff it, then gave the dogs a good shocking. Second) The snake was able to give a rattle, and the dog again got shocked when it sniffed it. Third) the snake was hidden under some straw, and when the dog sniffed, he got a shock. They did this twice before making them run through a gamut with a big ass 4-5 ft rattler. The dog HAD to show that he intentionally avoided the snake.

      • That is exactly how we did it. Although I do not like the shocking part of the test the end result is all that matters. I have had several instances after the avoidance clinic where the dogs alerted on a snake in the yard rather than got near the snake they just stayed out of striking distance and barked. Yes it is a good thing when you live in the desert.

  9. P.S. LOVE the boots!!!

  10. Woah, scary biscuits! We’ve had a couple of snakes here, not poisonous ones (yet) thankfully. I thought dealing with a few scorpions and a couple of snakes in Greece was bad, I take my hat off to you for handling the situation so well, screaming like a girl is all part of the process according to my book! 😉

    • It is funny to me that I did not even think I had that high pitched squeal and I have only heard it when I see snakes and have to touch dead things, that freaks me out too!!! hahahahaha It makes me laugh now but not at the time!! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I hate snakes, but I find them to be intriguing photo subjects. Although, I photograph garter snakes…

    • I don’t know why but garter snakes make me scream like a girl. hahahaha

      • I’d take my garter snakes over a rattler any day of the week! You are very brave!

      • I would take your garter snakes over my rattlers too! Please? lol

  12. This really made me laugh (and cringe inside at the thought of my dogs and snakes). Luckily we only have adders to worry about here in the UK. Thanks for “liking” my blog as well!

    • Thanks for taking the time to read Snake Season. It is a crazy time here in the California Desert. Most days I don’t see snakes, and for that I am grateful. If we can’t laugh at ourselves who can we laugh at!

  13. I’ll remember to call you next time we get a snake in our yard. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often here.

    • I am so glad to hear that and that sure was a big one, thank goodness it was not a rattler

  14. Aw, poor Sydney! I grew up in Thailand with all sorts of crazy snakes. We had one dog, Flower, who was the BEST snake killer on the planet. She would grab the snake by the tail and whip it back and forth, beating its head against the concrete until it died. As far as I know, she never got bit. But it sure is scary to have to worry about stepping on snakes all the time! I know the feeling…and I’m glad your dog was okay :).

    • Thanks

      Sydney was a feisty one! I am glad we have not had a snake bit since her! It is very scary. Thanks for taking time to read my blog!

  15. Great post. So informative that I’m now quite certain I want to stay in foggy suburbia. But I love the desert too.

    • Hahahaha Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment! I LOVE the desert!

  16. Wow. Just wow. So impressed with your bravery. I’d be too scared to wrestle a snake.

    • It never gets any easier! I am almost afraid to go outside this time of the year. BTW Beautiful Aussie!

      • Thanks! He’s a keeper but sometimes we think he needs a job. Those herding breeds like to stay busy all of the time.

      • Oh yes they certainly do! lol Gotta have a job. Our dogs job is to keep the birds out of the yard. They are all small dogs so it is quite cute. Max’s job is squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits out of the yard. They keep quite busy. lol

  17. I vote for Ireland.

  18. You are hilarious, what a fun read.

  19. Thanks for this great post. I’m not scared of snakes just careful my husband on the other hand will not even go close to one. I enjoyed this very much. Take care and God Bless you.

  20. You’ve hit on my absolute nightmare scenario and you have to go through it all the time. Well done you!

    • Yea Me! I pray you never have to go through it and added this note to the prayer, “Please don’t make me go through it again either.” lol I hope HE hears me.

  21. Why are we scared of snakes? They only take little bites!
    We lived in Bonita, Arizona for a while, and, there I grew to dislike snakes. Especially rattlers. But they are good eatin’.

    • Just found this reply hidden in the comments. Believe it or not my dad roasted a few rattlers over a campfire, or so I was told. lol

  22. Will show this blog to my son. We live in the UK and he has been spooked when out on the golf course by a grass snake (we only have one poisonous snake and that is pretty rare and not very poisonous!). Liked the blog!
    Mike
    Reynard Collectables, UK

    • Yes he may want carry the recommended items in case he comes upon another. I love you only have one not so bad snake. thank for stopping by! Glad you liked the blog.

  23. I just returned from a vacation in South Utah, but went in April before snakes were around. I know that snakes are beneficial and I like them (from a safe distance), but not sure how I would cope with experiences like yours. I believe in living in peace with wildlife, as long as they stay a reasonable distance from my house! They have all that desert to hang out in – why show up in your yard!

    • I know right? I use to like snakes “from a distance” too but after the first, and second rattlesnake bite I somehow decided I don’t like them anymore. I don’t want to even see them at a zoo anymore.

      • I am fortunate enough to live in a state where there is only one kind of venomous snake, so I and my pets are not so much at risk. We have never come across a Michigan Rattler, and I hope it stays that way!

  24. Omg I would not even go out I am so scared of snakes!

    • Therein lies the need for the valium, or booze if you drink it! lol Thanks for the comment

  25. You can thank St. Patrick for the lack of snakes in Ireland–according to legend, anyway.

    I’m leery of rattlesnakes. We have them in my part of California, but rarely see them where I live. One town over, though, dogs regularly get bit. Expense aside, I’m just glad your dog was well enough to live to fight (and get bit!) again.

    • If you have to deal with them on a regular basis….. well no, it never gets any easier. I am really glad you don’t have to deal with them.

  26. Nancy, your site looks very interesting and I intend to stop back and read some more. Thank you for stopping by my blog and liking my quote by the Rev. Martin Niemoeller. I hope you’ll stop by again.
    Tori McRae

    • Thanks for stopping by! I am glad you like my blog

  27. Lmao@snake suit and girl hopping.

    If you want to reconsider Ireland, there are no snakes here in Hawaii, either 🙂

    • Good to know I have more than one choice! lol Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Great blog.
    Following.

  29. A great read. I like snakes and enjoy trying to catch them when I can. With the venemous types, I pick them up with a stick and put them in a box and let my kids see them so they know exactly which ones to avoid. I’m trying, with mixed success, to get my four girls not to be deathly afraid of snakes, but to respect them.

    • Ah ha! one of those! When I was young Dad did the same and I had no problem handling them or lizards, Chickens maybe (I have always had a fear of chickens) but not reptiles. I even had rats at one time, Gross! Then I grew into a woman and now I scream like a girl. I can figure it out! lol

      • Yes, indeed, one of “those.”

        A fear of chickens, eh? I can understand a fear of snakes, but chickens is a new one.

      • I know right? does not matter alive or dead (unless cooked or cut up) those suckers scare me. I had a BF once who use to put the whole dead naked chicken on his hand and chase me around. That might of done it but those live ones, Yikes! I avoid them like the plague.

  30. I think snakes get a bad rap. They’re just out there doing their thing like every other living thing on the planet. Of course one should be aware of the ones that can ruin your day, but most of them are pretty cool. My daughter has a pet Anaconda and sometimes when I visit her, there’s Jack (the snake) wrapped around her shoulder.

    • I use to not have a problem with them until my dog got bit, and then she got bit again.

  31. 2 of my uncles taught me as a youth how to handle snakes and weapons. In Valdosta GA if the copperheads got far enough up out of the creek bed to get into the hen house – no more chicken or eggs! Erl never thought about moving that hen house. From about 70 yards I learned how to put a 22 in head of a copperhead. I don’t recommend screaming at a copperhead nor capturing any snake without professional assistance, but thick boots in snake terriority are golden. Your second snake pic is clear a viper, though the head of the serpant in the first pic isn’t as clear to me, both are prolly rattlesnakes, and FYI research shows the youngest snakes don’t een squeeze off a load of poison from a successful bite because their timining isn’t yet “right”. If you ever get to the National Zoo in Wash DC look for the gaboon vipers exhibit. Then ask me for 2 true stories about gaboon vipers. Lord knows, TheDigitalDad does not like snakes.

    • I wish my hubby would buy me a gun to shoot the darn things, but he is afraid I might shoot him. Some day’s he looks like a snake. lol If I thought my dogs would be safe I would gladly leave the darn things alone. But we have an acre of land and if I don’t know where the darn things went the dogs would never be allowed outside. lol The non-rattle snakes in the pictures are California Night Snakes, non-poisonous. I looked up the Gaboon Vipers and am looking forward to your stories about them. Yuck they even look scary. they looks like rattlesnakes on steroids! Yikes! I do not like snakes Sam I am, I do not like them and am not a fan, I do not like them Sam I am.

  32. I know this is not funny to you, being afraid of snakes, but I laughed out loud. A great post! I am, in fact, a snake lover, used to have a small (5 foot boa) and later in life a mated pair of pythons (seven footers). They ARE very intelligent creatures and while they do not have superpowers, they do know how to use their heads. My mated pair escaped one day while I was at work and my poor neighbors called the job screaming come get these snakes! One alone could not get the top off the display case where I kept them, so they twined together and used thier combined strength. They pushed off the heavy top and broke the living room window to escape. They were a formidable couple and when she died from a virus, he followed her within a week. They taught me many things about snakes. When they slept, he would sleep on top of her to protect her from danger. When they ate, he let her eat first………if he forgot, she would knock him into next week! They mate for life, this breed and are almost like people in some of the things they do.

  33. Excellently written!

  34. I laughed my way through most of your post, except the part where your sweet dog was bit, but must admit I cannot tolerate snakes!

    • I cannot tolerate them either, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I hope I see none this year.

  35. Hilarious post, well written! The photo captions are the best. We’ve considered moving to Arizona but not sure how we’d deal with reptiles like those nasty buggers. A long-handled shovel, probably, or something like it. Or a shotgun. And then skin, cook and eat. That’d learn ’em!

    • My dad use to eat the buggers and guess what he said they tasted like? Chicken! lol Thanks for stopping by and leaving the great comment!

      ps Arizona is awesome, snakes or no snakes! lol


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