As an avid gardener, I’ve become accustomed to seeing the occasional wildlife in my garden. I’d come face to face with little rabbits who just want to munch on my radishes, or raccoons who like to make homes among my hydrangeas. I always like to do the best that I can when it comes to protecting my gardens. I had wire fencing installed around my vegetable garden to keep animals from using it as a salad bar, and I planted marigolds around the perimeters of my planting boxes because I’d heard that animals didn’t like the smell of them. And when the situation called for it, I would occasionally call for back up from a wildlife control worker, trapper, or pest control specialist. On one particular day, I was elbow deep in my dahlia’s, pruning and such, when I heard a faint hissing sound. I let out an exasperated sigh if I had broken another hose that meant that my flowers had been getting overwatered. I shoved my arm into the back of my dahlias and began to feel around for the broken hose. My hand brushed against something vaguely rubbery and cylindrical. I grasped onto it and gave it a yank, YOUCH!! I immediately recoiled and fell back onto my bum and ripped off my gloves. On the back of my hand were two bleeding pinpricks. I ripped off my other glove and pulled back the foliage and shoved my face right in, determined to find what had stabbed the back of my hand. Almost instantly, I took off running in the opposite direction. I had just shoved my face into a nest of sleeping (and now agitated) garden snakes. I ran all the way into my house where I grabbed my phone and immediately called the first wildlife company I could think of and demanded they drive down to my house immediately. Sure, I can handle the occasional cuddly little bunny rabbit. But a nest full of garden snakes? You’re out of your mind!
There’s nothing in this world that I hate more than snakes. I don’t care if they are outside, inside, in a cage at the zoo, or on someone’s arm. I DETEST THEM! They are disgusting and scary and potentially harmful! Now as a young homeowner, having a snake infestation is the very thing my nightmares are made of. Imagine if you hated snakes as much as I do. Now imagine how you would feel if one day you went out to enjoy your backyard to find a nest of snakes. Well this my friends is where my story starts.
I had just walked outside with my ice cold glass of lemonade, I was planning on spending a few hours in my backyard trying to unwind after a long day in the office. I had just settled into my lawn chair when I saw it. The snake. About two feet long and as thick as a glue stick. It was slithering through the grass just a few feet in front of me! I sat paralyzed for quite some time. I couldn’t believe my eyes! There it was. My worst fear come to life. I came to my senses and abruptly stood up, dropping my glass of lemonade as I stood. My glass shattered on to the ground, ice cubes and broken glass littered the ground. I didn’t care, I booked it inside as fast as my legs could take me.
After I had come to my senses and recovered from the initial trauma, I ventured out of my hiding place in the bathtub. I carefully crept up to the back door to see if my new little reptilian friend was still there. There he was, in exactly the same spot he was in before. I was just about to turn away when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. Another one. TWO SNAKES IN ONE DAY!!! My jaw dropped. This was too much for me to handle. I immediately ran to my computer and googled emergency snake control. I called the first number on the screen. He told me that he would be over within the hour.
As I anxiously awaited my superman’s arrival I began to panic and dream up these ridiculous situations. I literally sprinted to the door when he showed up. I all but dragged him to the backyard by his hair. He did a quick round of the backyard, checking out all of the good hiding places for snakes. Of course I was safe inside the house behind the door. When he had finished his inspection we went into the living room to POW- WOW. I don’t remember much after he dropped the bomb that I had a snake nest under the willow tree in my backyard. I just remember thinking of burning my house to the ground. Luckily my hero in leather boots had a plan. To be continued……
I’m no different than any other 17 year old girl. I go to school, hang out with my friends, go to the occasional party (where there’s parent supervision of course), and I work. Of course my job isn’t typical of a 17 year old. Most of my friends work in the fast food business, or even at a mall or some kind of clothing store. Now don’t get me wrong, I love food and I love clothes, but I would never want to work there. When people ask me about my job I usually tell them I’m a personal assistant for a private contractor. It’s just easier to say that instead of explaining what I actually do. I have the coolest job ever. It’s never boring, and it gives me the most insane stories to tell!
I’ve done everything from wrestling snakes, to saving baby birds! You get so much knowledge from a job like this. You learn all about problem solving. People always have problems like raccoons stuck in their chimneys, skunks in their window well, or even snakes under their porch! Can you even imagine your surprise if you walked out onto your porch one day to see a three foot long blow snake sitting on your porch?! Well, in my experience, not very many people would be very excited about that. Now you may be thinking, what kind of 17 year old girl finds this kind of job entertaining?
I’ve never been the kind of girl who screams when she sees a spider or a snake. I was the girl who was wrestling around with the guys and looking for snakes to take home for the weekend. Now, you would never classify me as the girl who works as a part time trapper. I wear high heels at least three times a week, I never leave the house without my eyebrows filled in. But after school you can catch me crawling under porches, into attics, and even down chimneys in order to catch invasive wildlife! In fact, my favorite part of the job is helping people restore their homes to the peaceful ways they were before the animals invaded. After all, no one wants to hear bats in the attic, raccoons in the chimney, or skunks under the house! Which is why I get so much joy in helping people solve all of their wildlife problems. After all, it’s just another day in the life for me.
We have a major snake infestation in our farm house. We bought it just about a year back, and we haven’t gone more than two days without finding some semblance of a snake somewhere. There are even a lot of times when we just find plain snakes; whether it’s when they crawl out from under the porch or slither up the stairs from the basement, we’ve found three dead in the attic and two dead behind the cupboards. Everywhere we turn it seems like there’s a snake just waiting to jump out at us.
We bought the ten-acre lot as a summer cabin that we could go visit, but so far all we’ve been able to do with it is renovate and exterminate. It was built on a faulty foundation which has resulted in some damage to the outer frame which is how I think the snakes have been getting in. Roughly a month after we bought it, we transferred the home onto a new foundation. The move shook a couple of snakes loose and we found several more living, dead, and just skins floating around the house. As we tore out walls and cupboards, we found several more snake skins and one 3-footer curled up into a corner. I’m amazed at how many have taken up to nest and infest this house.
We left the house sitting over the winter without any appliances in it, and no heating, hoping to freeze the snakes out. I’ve been over there a few times since it warmed up just to check things out and I haven’t seen anything new (or alive) in the house, and I wanted to know if it was possible that any snakes living inside of the building were frozen? Ideally, we’d like someone to come perform a quick inspection to tell us if we’re still infested by snakes, or if we can finish installing the appliances and finally make good use of our summer home.
History of Control: While controlling snakes on properties, we also often remove many field mice, and a much greater number of deer mice which are known to carry the Haunta Virus. These deer mice not only pose a possible threat to people that come into contact with them or their urine and feces (this can happen while sweeping, mowing the lawn, and leaf-blowing), but they, along with the field mice, are also drawing snakes to the property.
Snake Prevention – Levels of Control
- Insects are drawn from the dry, mountainous terrain to lush, moist landscape
- Spiders are drawn to those insects that are drawn to lush, moist landscape
- Voles are drawn to lush, green landscapes – drawn out of, or moving from, dry desert environments to feed on insects, spiders, and moist plant roots
- Field and Deer Mice are drawn to moist landscape to feed on bugs, insects, spiders, moths, etc.
- Rats are drawn to moist landscapes to feed on bugs, insects, spiders, etc.
- Snakes are drawn to moist landscapes to feed off of insects, voles, and mice; they are also drawn to shaded areas provided by plants, concrete cavities, and cracks in rock walls
- Habitat can be controlled by increasing the heights of bushes and trees and decreasing the length of grass and shrubbery
- Perimeter Control: a barrier can be created around the perimeter of the property and can help to prevent snakes and rodents from entering the property; however, setting traps around the barrier perimeter would also be a more organized, first-level form of control
- Home Control: includes installing traps and kill-boxes around the home; however, perimeter control would be a more successful and effective form of control.
Explanation: As we control insect, rodent, rat, mice, and vole populations and habitats, it will help to prevent snakes from being drawn to the property to feed
Running into a rattlesnake can be a frightening and dangerous situation. It’s important that you remember that we are living in rattlesnake territory and with the climbing temperatures, rattlesnakes are found more often in shaded areas. Rattlesnakes are beneficial to the environment and help to control rodent populations; they also will do their best to avoid any confrontation with larger predators, such as humans.
If you come into contact with a rattlesnake on your property, leave it alone and do NOT try to remove the animal yourself.
Here are a few tips for if you ever encounter a rattlesnake:
- Always be alert when walking/hiking in snake territory (shrubbery, tall grass, etc.) and keep any pets you have restrained. Avoid using headphones or other distracting materials that could prevent you from hearing a rattlesnake’s warning rattle.
- If you are unsure of the snake that you have stumbled upon, be cautious; it too could be dangerous.
- Back away from the snake slowly. Increase the space between you and the animal.
- Do not attempt to throw things at it, pick it up, or agitate the snake.
- If you encounter a snake, alert others of its location. Keep people, children, and pets away from that area.
- If you, a child, or a pet is bitten by the snake, try to remain calm and call 911 immediately. DO NOT try to suck out the poison.
- Keeping snakes out of your yard:
- Limit the number of places that could act as a shelter for snakes (brush, rocks, wood piles, junk piles, tall unmanaged grass, etc. Are all examples of common snake habitats).
- Control rodent populations by reducing the number of bird feeders and other food sources that attract rodents and therefore, snakes.
- Avoid scaring away harmless snakes such as blow snakes, gopher snakes, garter snakes, etc. The presence of these non-poisonous snakes can help control rodent populations and also deter the presence of rattlesnakes.
I’ve been a mailman for about thirty years now, and boy let me tell you about some of the things you see. And it’s not just the people, either! I’ve seen my fair share of home drama, yelling, throwing lamps, and storm outs; but it’s the encounters with animals that I’ll never forget. At this point I’m surprised they don’t train you in animal control as well as package identification! Beyond dogs and cats, I’ve seen raccoons, bats, mice, and a load of other wild animals.
The most common ones (for me at least) are the snakes, especially during the hotter months. They’ll lay themselves out on sidewalks, driveways, and even porches. When I was a Boy Scout I learned to identify most of the snakes in my area, so I can always tell whether or not they’re poisonous, but the people inside the house aren’t as capable. Once, when I was delivering a package that needed a signature, a big ol’ bull snake was out sunning himself on the porch. Well when the young miss from the house opened the door and got a look at him, she screamed so loud I just about dropped the package, then she fell unconscious right in front of me!
Another time, I was trying to deliver quite a large package but no one was answering the door so I opened the screen to leave a note with the date and time I came and a bat flew down and hit me square in the head! I guess it had been sleeping between the screen door and the front door and I had woken it up with my door bell ringing. I even got sprayed by a skunk once! I was walking down the steps after dropping off some mail and out of nowhere (but actually from under the stairs), a skunk sprayed everywhere. I guess I had spooked it from stomping around, who knows? All I know is after all of these years, I definitely consider myself a well-rounded expert on both mail delivery, and wildlife.
There are king snakes in my yard, and I am freaking out. I’m not a snake person to begin with; when I was little, my brother caught a garter snake and hid it under my pillow. After the moment I curled up for bed, reached under my pillow, and pulled out a snake, I have been petrified (who wouldn’t that terrify?). Needless to say, when my wife found a snake – it wasn’t a poisonous one – I refused to retrieve any wood from the pile without it being closely inspected first.
I thought I had devised a flawless plan to avoid any and all accidental snake confrontations, but apparently not. Yesterday, I went outside for wood like you do when you want to build a fire in November. I went through my routine check of walking around the woodpile and looking for any snakes that just might happen to be out and about which seemed unlikely because of the cold. When I didn’t find a trace of a snake, I reached into the woodpile to retrieve some wood. I reached for the lower pieces towards the back because they were drier, but when I pulled up a piece of wood, I got a whole lot more than expected. Luckily this time I saw the snake and never touched it, but after I calmed myself down and was able to look deeper into the area I found more than one.
This sent me over the edge; I didn’t even want garter snakes around, there was no way I would let king snakes into my yard! Or at least there was no way I would let the snakes STAY in my yard, especially not with my daughters playing out there all winter. No sir, no way, I was on the phone with a wildlife control company ASAP (I had considered removing them myself but then I remembered my crippling fear of them and decided this was best). They’ll be out here later this week to get rid of the king snakes, and hopefully for good.
When a contractor came to fix the duct work under my house and told me there were snakes in the crawlspace, I think I fainted. I know it’s stereotypical, a woman afraid of snakes, but I have good reason! When I was little I was bit by what I believed to be a rattlesnake. As a six year old, of course I didn’t look for a rattle or any other identifying mark, but I was sure that it was a rattlesnake (it was the only snake besides a Boa Constrictor that I could name). My mom rushed me to the hospital to receive an antidote where I was informed that the snake bite came from a garter snake and all I needed was a tetanus shot and a good night’s rest. Well in my young mind I almost died because of the serpent, and I still haven’t forgotten that feeling.
Any who, having this brought to my attention was like being electrocuted, I was absolutely stunned! Of course, living in New Mexico where there are 46 different species of snakes, I should probably have been prepared for this; and I thought I was too, but some fears never die I guess. Luckily, the contractor didn’t find an actual snake in the crawlspace, but he said there were 20-30 snake skins scattered all over down there. He politely requested that I have someone do an inspection for any snakes currently living under there before he goes to finish his work. 7 of the 46 snakes are poisonous so I don’t blame him for not wanted to take any chances. Like Indiana Jones, we both know better than to mess with snakes.
I have been having nightmares lately just picturing a snake slithering up from underneath my bed and wrapping itself around my legs; a reoccurring dream I’ve had ever since the incident I had when I was six. That’s not the only thing keeping me awake! As you might have figured out, the duct work in my house is having problems (hence the contractor), somewhere something came loose and now when the air turns on, you can hear a distinct, loud hum and the occasional rattle and banging. These just add to the haunting dreams I’m having so this is my cry for help. HELP ME, THERE ARE SNAKES IN THE CRAWLSPACE UNDER MY HOUSE. I CAN’T DEAL WITH THEM ON MY OWN. SOS, MAYDAY, HELP!
I was recently reminded of a time a few years back when I had an unexpected backseat driver. Reading an article about a large Boa Constrictor that had snuck its way on to a MTA bus and caught a ride into Brooklyn before the bus driver noticed him (no one said anything before that!). While I was chuckling at the image of Nagini from Harry Potter eating poor people on the bus, I remembered the story I’m going to share with you, but you can probably guess what it’s about.
Back in 2008, some buddies and I took a road trip up to Moab to do some camping, fishing, off-roading, and drinking; the perfect guys weekend. It gave us all the chance to get away from our kids, wives, and any other chaos in our lives (I love my wife, and my kids are my world, but I just needed three days to be me!), and man were we excited; it felt just like we were 17 again! As soon as we pulled into the KOA (I know it’s not very rugged but I’m not as young as I used to be) we left our stuff on site and took off again, we planned to do a few easy hikes to get all settled in, then fish in the morning. This all isn’t really important so I’ll skip to the end.
After our wild weekend, we were all burnt to a crisp, hungover, and ready to get home, three days can have a huge effect on you when you aren’t a teenager anymore. Well we managed to get almost all of our stuff back together and shoved (more or less) securely onto the top of my old Jeep Wrangler. I took the first shift since I hadn’t had nearly as much to drink as the others, and man am I thankful for that. It wasn’t 15 miles down the road when my friend Tim started yelling in the backseat, I nearly drove off the road! As I straightened my wheels and got back on track I turned around to find a two-foot snake sliding its way over the seat. Hitting the brakes I pulled over and threw out the unwanted backseat driver. I guess it had slept in someone’s hiking boot overnight and gotten thrown in the trunk, but whether it did or not ever since that day I ALWAYS check my backseat before I drive anywhere.