April 26, 2011

Herpetology 101




Why are online degrees offered for every major except the one I want?

I've decided that I going to be herpetologist and/or a snake wrangler.

This is a natural career choice given that my back yard appears to be a snake sanctuary...or a breeding ground...or some nightmarish combination of the two.

My husband spent a significant portion of Easter Sunday trying to catch a four foot black snake that had somehow slithered its way into our pool enclosure. After the snake lunged at him, my husband opened the screen door and directed it towards our neighbor's yard.

Yesterday afternoon I came home to find another slightly smaller black snake swimming in our pool. I called my husband at work and made him come home and catch it. He let all the kids show their friends before letting the snake loose in the woods about a mile from our house.

Today I glanced out the window and saw the biggest one yet dangling from one of our newly planted bushes. By the time my husband responded to the second emergency phone call in as many days, it was gone.

"I feel like Indiana Jones," I told him. "And not in a good way."


This afternoon, I interrogated everyone at the bus stop. No one has had as many snakes as me, but everyone in my neighborhood has had at least one encounter with a Black Racer in the past two weeks. One lady's husband ran over two while mowing his lawn last weekend. Another woman found one curled up on her front porch. The poor man across the street (who is probably more afraid of snakes than me, if that's possible), went out for a morning swim the other day and had one lunge at him from inside the jacuzzi. I seriously would have died.

When it comes to scary reptiles, I've decided to count my blessings. And never go outside again.

48 comments

Our family said...

That's HORRIBLE and would give me nightmares. I will cross Florida off the list of states I would be willing to live in. Yikes!

Nikki said...

ewww, ewww, ewww, *shivers*

*also my verification word is: trumina, which if you think about it could be a new word for "terrified of creepy black slithery slimy snakes" - I mean, if you really think about it ;)

Babydreams2011 said...

I read your blog but don't usually post. I live in Central FL too and have the same problem.. Well HAD! Plant MARIGOLDS! Snakes don't like the smell of them and it will keep them out your yard put potted ones in your pool area and you should be OK there as well. Worked for us! Good luck!

Samurai Mom said...

With every post you remind me why I will never live in Florida.

Brooks said...

It could be worse... google "snake house in idaho". My friend, Amber bought a house that was some kind of snake hibernation ground. Super gross, but it'll help you count your blessings...

Anonymous said...

maybe they are trying to get to the "visitors" living in your attic. Snakes like to eat varmits, right????

Bethany said...
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Bethany said...

Oh, how horrendous.
My brother told me about black snakes while serving a mission (in Ohio)... they just chill in trees by rivers and wait for something yummo to come their way. Then they drop into the river.
...
I am not a fan of that, much.

www.bethanesque.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Get a nice pet...a mongoose. No more snakes.

Maria said...

We actually just watched a very cool Nova where they talked about how scientists are studying venom from various creatures and creating life-saving drugs. They said that thanks to snakes thousands of lives of people with high-blood pressure are being saved. Maybe you could start your own study. I probably would buy a mongoose and feign an allergy to the outdoors myself. My children were fasinated by the Nova show until they started chasing down spiders and begged us to turn it off.

Jen said...

I may have nightmares tonight. Snakes don't really bother me but so many in such a short time...YUCK.

Anonymous said...

hi, native floridian that follows your blog, the snake in your picture is a non venemous eastern indigo and is a threatened species, there are only 4 snakes in all of north america that are venemous

Itchin' Stitchin' said...

I totally screamed at my TV the other night when Conan O'Brien had a snake on the show and they were having trouble controlling it. I would inform my husband that we would move if I kept seeing snakes in my yard.

Rachel said...

Anonymous, it's probably a pic off the internet...

Eww! That's nasty! I hate creepy, crawly, slimy, snakes!

Crystal said...

Not cool. We live in NC and have had several copperheads in our backyard. My dogs try to save us by eating them, which results in mostly vet bills, but its the thought that counts right :)
Sounds like your just super "lucky". We put moth balls around our property (outside our fence) but moth balls can be harmful to pets and kids...it did work though.
Good luck.

Lindsey said...

Moth balls. Throw them in the bushes and around the outside of your screen porch. I guess snakes don't like the smell of them. We do it and I rarely see a snake and we seriously live in the sticks. TRY IT :)

Catherine Dabels said...

Okay. You have solidified the fact, for me, that I will NEVER EVER EVER live in Florida.

Man, I hate snakes. And snakes in my pool would just be the end.

Yvette said...

"I hate snakes Jacques, I hate em".

That's the main line my kids know from the film and quote it regularly. But seriously I would freak out. I'm glad I live in AZ where the nastiest thing I see near my house anyway is a scorpion. It can be eliminated by the bottom of my shoe quite quickly.

LDS said...

*shudder* I am officially terrified of Florida. It's times like this when I want to flee back home to New Zealand, where we have ZERO snakes in the entire country.

The Poolman said...

Nice looking snake. I hope you made sure he has a good, new home.

Mal said...

I like the mongoose idea. Rikitikitavi! The marigolds seem to be a good suggestion too. My mother-in-law (who lived in the Bay area of California for much of her married life) planted marigolds in her garden to keep out pests. Insects, spiders, etc. They just don't like them. My favorite suggestion though is the example set by your neighbor with the lawnmower...

Lynn said...

I would be completely terrified. They've got to make some kind of snake repellent to keep snakes away! I'm all for a diversity of creatures crawling on this planet, just as long as certain ones don't crawl anywhere near me!

Anonymous said...

Not cool. If I got a memo every morning telling me where the snakes will be today I would be alright. It is when I am walking through my yard and one magically "appears" that I shriek... Nice.
Liz

Anna said...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!

How awful! Thank you for your post b/c I know now to never live in FL. I don't care if they're poisonous or not or whatever, I do NOT want snakes camping out in MY backyard! Perhaps get a pet mongoose?

Anna said...

@Brooks I heard about that Idaho snake house! So freaking freaky!! I wasn't far from where we lived. ...::shudder::

Elise said...

YIKES!!! I would be freaking out too- and this is coming from a person who grew up with a garder snake that we caught in my backyard as a pet. The thing about Racers is although they aren't posionious, they are aggressive when they feel threatened and bite. Too bad they don't have some repellant you can use so they stay off your property, but stay close enough to scare away other pets- like MICE!!!

Elise said...

PESTS...not pets ;)

Mom said...

How scary for you! When my brother was on his mission in Thailand they were warned about snakes called "Two-steps" because that is exactly how many steps you got before you were dead because they were so venomous. I'm not a fan of snakes...maybe it's that whole Garden of Eden thing.
Sandy
www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

s.davis.23 said...

My boyfriend would have a heart attack if we lived near you. He's scared to death of snakes and rarely will go hiking with me. Because Im am pregnant with his child, if I threaten to go alone, this is the only way. You are one tough mama :)

Renny said...

This is why I will never live in Florida. That and the alligators. seriously not worth it when there are plenty of other snakeless alligatorless beaches in the world.

Aubrey said...

Officially not moving to Florida. I hate snakes, I don't know what I would do... actually I do, I wouldn't go anywhere either.

Kristen said...

A friend of mine has been renting a house where they are literally coming out of the heat vents in the house every day. Although I don't want them in my yard, in my house would be much worse!

Anonymous said...

You may want to call someone, this is mating time for the black racer, and since you have seen many they may be laying eggs in your pool area or yard! See what wiki said: Mating takes place in the spring, from April until early June. Around a month later the female will lay anywhere from 3 to 30 eggs in a hidden nest site such as a hollow log, an abandoned rodent burrow, or under a rock. The 8-10" (20-26 cm) long juvenile racers hatch in the early fall. Maturity is reached in approximately 2 years. Racers have been known to lay their eggs in communal sites, where a number of snakes, even those from other species, all lay their eggs together.

Chris Tani and Princess Brielle said...

AHH scary! But on the bright side, maybe it is your gift for being the meanest mom. The universe is just trying to help you in your role by pushing you towards loving and majoring in snakes. What says "Meanest Mom" more than living in a snake breeding ground?

Megan said...
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tracy @ womanonwire.com said...

I love your blog. You often make me laugh out loud.

Not that you want to hear this, but it could be worse. I lived in Hyderabad, India a few years ago and a mom with small children found a cobra curled up on her front steps one morning.

Laura said...

Ugh, creepy. Maybe you can change your religion from LDS to Snake Handler. I bet it wouldn't cost as much as a degree.

Vicky said...

I just got one out of the pool enclosure day before yesterday and then found another one (larger) out back looking for lizards. Seriously, they're harmless but if you're really worried about 'em then get the toddler on it...sounds like he'll eat anything!

mom24orsinis said...

As if I didn't have enough bad dreams about your LAST snake post...I'm afraid to take my feet off my couch cause I'm sure there must be snakes under there now...

have you put up the "for sale" sign yet???

Rebecca said...

I am so never moving to Florida.

Kjo said...

Snakes. Just. Ewwwww!! Brings back bad, BAD memories for me.
I would definitely go with the marigold idea (i just hope you dont find any while you're planting them) OR you could get a very large basket & a flute and become a snake charmer!
Good Luck!

Naenay1012 said...

What about putting moth balls aroung the outside of your pool enclosure? I have heard that that keeps them away....

Sant Family said...

Yeah... you have my sympathies. We recently moved to Louisiana and I feel the same way - I will never go outside again (and it's too hot anyway).

I had a good ole boy neighbor tell me that he killed the snakes and hung their eviscerated bodies on the bushes in the yard. That attracts hawks which eat snakes and they start to stay away.

I do not know if that works or not. I never tried it. But since black snakes eat lizards I would kill them. Relocation never works.

And at least they aren't venomous. We had a baby water moccasin join our kids in the pool one day. VERY SCARY!

Sant Family said...

Florida Native is wrong. The LSU Herpetology department says there are seven species of venomous snakes in Louisiana alone. (Maybe grouping rattlers, etc?)

Molly said...

You are literally living my husbands dream. Snakes in the backyard. He is subconsciously jealous of you. Have fun!

Tricia ~~ Handmade Whimzy said...

It's not just Florida this year. It's Texas too. Every time I go outside to work in my flower beads, I see/or accidentally pick up a brown snake. Then I become hysterical and start screaming and crying. My neighbors think I'm crazier now than they did before.

I finally had to force my son to help me plant my annuals just so that I could get them in the ground. He mostly spent the whole time looking under bushes for snakes and smacking the ground with a big stick.
And with all of that, I'm the only one who keeps encountering the stupid aweful things.
I've decided not to go outside anymore this summer either.

Stupid snacks. I HATE them.

Traci said...

OMG I am moving to Ft. Myers in a couple of months! Are they everywhere in FL or just the orlando area? I'm already losing sleep over thinking about critters with too many legs now I have to worry about snakes too. AHHHHHHHH!

Julie said...

After reading your post I thought of how lucky we are that we haven't seen a snake, roach or spider in quite a while (we live in the Florida Panhandle). I think you must have jinxed me though. Thanks a lot! I went home yesterday and when my garage door opened I saw what looked like a big stick on the floor. I put my car in park and hopped out to check it out before I pulled in and it was so not a stick. It was a snake! Of course, my husband wasn't home or even on his way so I had to deal with it on my own. The snake finally slithered out of the garage and into our backyard. It was at least 4 feet long! If the snake would have went another direction I probably would have just let it go, not because I wanted to, but because I was too scared to get very close. I immediately thought of my 4-year old daughter playing in the backyard and also about my dog being out there so I grabbed a shovel and went after it. My heart was pounding so hard, I started sweating and all of my muscles tensed up. I managed to kill it and left it for my husband to clean up. Now, today I feel like I threw my neck and my back out because of how tense I was, and also from whacking that darn snake 40-50 times. At least this snake wasn't inside my house like we had happen a few years ago. Here's hoping that neither one of us see any snakes for a very, very long time, and when we do, hopefully they will be in an enclosure at the zoo. ;)