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Just stuff (things on my mind that aren't to do with writing)

Snake in the house


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?

Any thoughts?

Picture from Stephen Courtney on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grass_snake#mediaviewer/File:Grass_snake_head.jpg, via Creative Commons.

About elainecanham

I started blogging because I'm a writer, and I thought I ought to. Now I realise that I blog because I lwant to; even when I can't think of much to say. I do a lot of work for local businesses - get in touch if you like my style.


36 thoughts on “Snake in the house

  1. I don’t think I can better any of the previous suggestions Elaine. I’ve been reading about rats and monkeys so it seems there is something afoot… Maybe Pet Detective would be good. Or George of the jungle… I think Larry it’s an excellent name.

    Posted by olganm | September 14, 2014, 9:26 am
  2. With a husband and a pencil, and a vicar on a motor bike, the snake won’t have a leg to stand on.

    Posted by Bruce Goodman | September 13, 2014, 6:33 pm
  3. How exotic! I am living with a mouse at the moment because Lily thought I needed lessons in catching them. Am failing dismally so far. It comes out at night and looks at me then shoots back under the chair. I am going to get a humane trap which is one of the things I never thought I would need, having a cat. Quite glad she doesn’t bring any snakes in, though i do like them

    Posted by Jools | September 13, 2014, 5:28 pm
  4. Would you believe my husband and I had almost the same experience just yesterday? Only we noticed our front porch tenant because a dead bird.. Yes, he’s thin and black and (probably) a garden snake and yes he seems to be living in a little gap in the woodwork down a step from the front porch. We did not attempt to pick it up with a pencil though, opting instead to shriek, run inside and slam the door shut lest we end up with a snakes on plane-esque drama in our living room 😣

    Posted by Sally | September 13, 2014, 3:12 pm
  5. How about Larry gets a companion, falls madly in love with him/her, has children and doesn’t have any more time to scare random callers? I hear family life can be quite hectic -I speak from experience!

    Posted by Nicholas C. Rossis | September 13, 2014, 1:56 pm
    • Nooooo! No snake shenanigans here. Larry can go off to the compost heap and do his wooing. I must admit I’m slightly worried about what happens if he gets too big down that hole and can’t get out again…

      Posted by elainecanham | September 13, 2014, 2:20 pm
  6. I have a terrible headache this morning, and now it’s worse because I just laughed my ass off at your snake. Worth it, though. Is there anything on that bloody island that will eat you? I’ve heard so many people tell me just what you have in this post, that they’ve never dealt with any dangerous creatures. Since we live on a lake in the backwoods of NJ now, I don’t walk out of my house without encountering something that could potentially kill me, if I messed with it. This time of year it’s black bears. They’re eating from our garbage to put on weight, since they’re about to go into hibernation.
    I have to turn on the light and sneak out my front door to make sure we’re alone before I let the dogs out if it’s around sunrise and they have to tinkle. Penny is big, but a black bears are still bigger… a little.
    In fact, the first year I lived here (when we had just moved from Manhattan, and only people will kill you in Manhattan) I was stupid enough to clean out my fridge one night, and leave the remains outside for the garbage men for more than one night. Amongst the old and inedible, I had thrown out a box of freezer burned fudgesicles. Our friendly neighborhood bear came by and ate all the cleaned out food, including the fudgesicles, which it appeared he had used one single claw to open the paper wrapping, licked out the insides, and then discarded both paper and stick when he was finished.
    He’s a discerning bear.

    Posted by naptimethoughts | September 13, 2014, 1:24 pm
    • Bears! I’ve seen them in the wild in the Rockies and that was quite an invigorating experience. But no, there’s nothing really dangerous here, except humans. Or possibly the Loch Ness Monster. Or that mysterious ghostly puma in Devon…

      Posted by elainecanham | September 13, 2014, 1:33 pm
    • We like our bear, he’s really very tidy for a garbage eating bear, and leaves the trash neatly in a circe around the can. I wouldn’t call it invigorating to come face to face with him in the wee hours of the morning, though.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | September 13, 2014, 10:51 pm
    • I was in the washroom in Jasper national park and thought I heard someone calling my name. Finished cleaning my teety and then opened the door to see a black bear galumphing away into the trees. It had been him at the door. And the moral is…don’t skimp on brushing.

      Posted by elainecanham | September 13, 2014, 11:25 pm
    • Have you read Bill Bryson on bears? probably the most brutally funny description there is about what he would do if he met some. It’s in his book A walk in the woods, and I laughed myself breathless over it. I quite like the sound of yours, but I’m not sure I’d want to meet him in person.

      Posted by elainecanham | September 13, 2014, 11:36 pm
    • How did you know that Bill Bryson is one of my very favorite writers. My favorite is The Life and Times of the Tunderbolt Kid– His autobiography. I nearly peed myself.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | September 16, 2014, 9:53 pm
    • My favourite is Notes From a Small Island, partly because he talks about his time working on English newspapers, which was so accurate and so funny, I really did think I was going to die laughing at one point.. The only one I didn’t much care for was his Australian one, because he didn’t seem to have much of an opportunity to observe people, which he is best at.

      Posted by elainecanham | September 16, 2014, 10:17 pm
    • I agree- I just read notes from a Small Island recently. I liked it too, but I think he was writing primarily to a British audience on that venture. There were some pieces that I didn’t quite get. I totally agree about the Australian book– it was short, and I can’t remember the name. That’s how much I liked it. In a Sunburned Country, I think… Eh, I don’t remember. He wrote a book of short stories- I’m a stranger here myself- that had me laughing till I cried too.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | September 16, 2014, 10:30 pm
    • The only one I didn’t really like, besides his Australian adventure, was A Short History of Nearly Everything. I was really excited about it too. Major let down for me.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | September 16, 2014, 10:32 pm
    • I quite liked that one, I suppose because it had a few mad vicars and eccentric English inventors, that I’d already heard of but didn’t know much about

      Posted by elainecanham | September 17, 2014, 12:06 am
    • Yes, I know how you love mad vicars. Neither Here Nor There was a great one too. I nearly died during his bus ride, right in the beginning, to see the Northern Lights. He wrote two on America, I think, and one I liked better than the other. Notes from a big country and made in America. Made in America is the one I liked better, I think. It’s the one where he travels around the country on backroads and meets the people who live on our back roads… Anyone can make them funny, but Bryson was absolutely hysterical.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | September 17, 2014, 12:16 am
    • Yes, I loved that too. Especially when he goes down south and keeps meeting women with beehive hairdos and butterfly glasses who say, ‘Kin ah hep yew?’ Notes from a big country was just a collection of his columns for the Mail on Sunday, and ok, but not particularly satisfying.

      Posted by elainecanham | September 17, 2014, 12:23 am
    • Since I don’t get his columns, it was all new to me. And I suppose it’s funnier when you have to live around those lovely bee-hived people.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | September 17, 2014, 1:51 am
  7. You’ll just have to invest in a penny whistle and a basket. Sit upon the threshold cross legged and charm the wee beastie out.Endearments often work when charming me.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Posted by davidprosser | September 13, 2014, 12:50 pm
  8. Maybe it’ll get rid of some peskier animals like insects. Though I’m not sure snakes eat bugs.

    Posted by Charles Yallowitz | September 13, 2014, 12:16 pm
  9. “Any thoughts?”

    You could start by giving it a name. It would be okay to use a gender-neutral name like Pat or Lynn because the hassle of determining its sex wouldn’t be worth it, right?

    Posted by lbwoodgate | September 13, 2014, 11:21 am

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