There was a snake at our front door yesterday. I’m tempted here to tell you it was a bloody great python coiled around one of the dogs, and that we had to battle it with an axe and a fire extinguisher. But no. It was black, about ten inches long and as thick as a telephone cable.
You have to know here, that we do not live in the Australian outback or the Nevada desert, where people (apparently) are always tripping over deadly vipers. We live in a shire county, where the deadliest thing I’ve ever seen was the vicar on a motorbike.
I was torn between running to get a camera and watching Steve try to pick it up with a pencil. It was only small, but I kept thinking of all the stories I’ve read about exotic snakes escaping from their owners. Perhaps it was like Krait the dust snake in Rikki Tikki Tavvi, and I would shortly have to rush my soon-to-be fatally twitching husband to A&E (which is now 20 miles away on account, the health trust says, of being more convenient).
But as we watched, the snake began to disappear into a hole, by the threshold, that is so small we’ve never noticed it before. Steve made one or two more attempts to get it, but it slipped through his fingers and completely disappeared. Later research revealed it to be a grass snake (natrix natrix) and completely harmless.
I’m still not very happy about the idea of having a snake, however small and harmless, for a lodger. Random callers here already get the full Hound of the Baskerville treatment from our dogs. What are they going to think, if in the middle of all this, some snake starts crawling out of the woodwork, too?
Picture from Stephen Courtney on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grass_snake#mediaviewer/File:Grass_snake_head.jpg, via Creative Commons.