Thursday, September 13, 2007

Snakes in a House…

And not on a plane where they belong! (Okay, it was a single snake, but still!!)

I came home from work Tuesday and started down to the basement to release the hounds, and as I began going down the stairs, I noticed something black and rope-like lying on the top stair. I stopped and stared closer at it, and sure enough, it began to move.

Brain automatically engages the Flight controller, and I go fleeing back up to the dining room to the laptop and start search for how to identify snakes that live in North Georgia. Damn connection was slow, which may have been a perception related to my heightened state of panic, so I grabbed a phone and a phone book to start the frantic hunt for exterminators…which are not listed under “Exterminators,” but only under “Pest Control,” and I was having a hard time remembering how to spell “pest.”

I’m punching numbers with one hand and walking back to check on the snake…who has started down the stairs! Where the poodles are crated!! Aiiiiiiiiiiii!! So, I poke him with the stick that goes in the sliding glass door track until he decides to give up on the downward route and starts back up the stairs…towards me, of course.

He slithers into a corner at the top of the stairs, behind the giant Tiki God that lives there. (I know—why on earth do I have a giant Tiki God in my den? 1. Because it looked cool, and 2. 75% off at Target last year. Enough said?) He’s curled up behind the Tiki, which is fine by me, because I know EXACTLY where he is now.

I finally get a guy on the phone, who is trying very hard to control his laughter at me, (who, in turn, is trying very hard to contain the rising note of hysteria in her voice). He tells me, based on my description, that there are no poisonous snakes that fit this snake’s description that live in Northern Georgia. I bit my tongue and did not blurt out, “what if it’s an import!?,” because I wanted to retain some small shred of dignity.

He’s telling me about why the snake is there, that it’s not just visiting, that it’s looking for food…and what does he think 3 poodles are? And, that the snake is just as scared of me as I am of it. Whatever. Actually, I’m sure that is true, because logically, I am a billion times the size of the snake, but it’s still a snake. In. My. House. Between me and my poodles…and the brooms and any other weaponry I might use for home defense.

The exterminator dude thinks it’s a king snake, which eats other snakes, small lizards, rodents, etc. I’ve not seen any signs of rodentia, and I’m sure we’d know it if we had mice, because the poodles would be on high alerts, so I’m betting he was chasing one of the blue-tailed skinks that live out by the pool.

He tells me if I can open a door nearest the snake, it will leave, because that’s what it wants to do more than anything else, cross it’s little reptilian heart and hope to die...and exactly what I want it to do more than anything else as well. So, while snake is hiding behind the Tiki, I set up this elaborate habitrail to keep it from going back down the stairs or into the den…essential a snake chute, like a bronco chute, to guide it on a path of enlightenment out the wide open sliding glass door.

So, I get the habitrail built, move the Tiki, and find the snake all curled up and jammed as far back in the corner as it could possibly get. It must rough to try and keep your back to the wall when you’re built like a snake. I do feel kind of sorry for him, because it’s starting to border on the surreal…snakes, Tiki gods, barking dogs who want to go out now!, crazed woman with a stick. Yep, he’s gonna need to see a good snake therapist (Snake Doctor?! Bwhaaahaa!) when he gets out of my house.

(And, no, killing him was never an option, unless he was poisonous. I’m all about “natural” pest control, etc., so I wanted him to go out and eat small rodents before they decide to take up residence in my house. I’m not keen on him eating the skinks, because the skinks eat bugs, which is why I’m constantly fishing them out of the pool and admonishing them not to drown. But, if the skink is not fast enough, then let natural selection take its course.)

So, I wait...and wait...and wait. I sort of relapse the process by poking him with a stick to see if he will hurry up and get going, but that sends him back into retreat and bundle mode. He finally uncurls and tries to climb up the corner behind him, and quickly figures out that won't work. So, he starts gliding along the baseboard towards the open door.

He's following the baseboard under the edge of the vertical blinds, and I'm anxiously awaiting him to come out on the other side. And, he doesn't. I'm confused at this point, thinking how in the hell did he climb up the vertical blinds, so I poke them with the stick, ready to jump waaay back in case he falls down and is really pissed. No snake.

I move the blinds out of the way, and he's gone. Poof! I know that I did not imagine said snake, because I had the presence of mind to take its picture...unless you guys don't see anything in the picture other than the dust bunnies in the corner. Then, I notice that there is about an inch-inch and a half gap where the baseboard should meet the molding for the door frame. Sure enough, there's a hole there and that's where he must have gone. Maybe it's where he came in, too.

We've blocked the hole with a piece of wood temporarily, and I've been kind of angsting that maybe the hole doesn't go to the outside, so he's going to starve to death between the walls...which could be bad, karmically, and possibly bad in the stinky decomposing way as well. The Man said he saw there was an opening outside, and I'm planning on believing that, so I can sleep and also so I won't do something stupid like pry the baseboard off.

Anyway, here's my photographic evidence, and just humor me if all you see is dust bunnies, and don't laugh about the size of the snake...all snakes are hugely magnified in accordance to your panic level. Trust me.

Snake in the corner!

Snake habitrail...notice where the vertical blinds meet the wall? That's where the gap is.
(And, isn't the Tiki God cool? The Man was lucky that, at 75% off, I didn't buy an entire army of them.)


Lin said...

I'm sorry, I was laughing at your zoological predicament. Snapes!
Nemesis, the little black cat, used to catch snakes and bring them into the garage. I would catch her crouching over her toy, the snake all wadded up with its tail over it's eyes. Joseph had a huge manure shovel, and I would sweep the snake into the shovel with a broom and make HIM take it far, far away. Max next door had an outdoor dog feeder, which attracted mice, which attracted the snakes (garter I think). Max moved and the mice moved, but I still see a snake now and again.
I was watering the flowerbed in the back corner the other day, and something caught my peripheral vision. It was a small snake wiggling hell-for-leather right past my foot, heading for the safety of the bushes. I levitated! It streaked, and eveybody survived.
But what about the mushrooms? Did they eat well?

J said...

"What if it's an import!" That line just killed me!

Anonymous said...

Wow what a great way to keep the mother in law away.

Poodlebugz said...

No, not my mother-in-law. She would have dealt with the snake in a no-nonsense fashion, without all the leaping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that I did. She's an amazing person.

Now, keeping my own mother away...that's a different story! :)