A Brisbane/Queensland homeowner walked into the bathroom, flipped on the light switch and saw a very large snake dangling from the light fixture on the ceiling. This happened only weeks after another homeowner in Morayfield, North of Brisbane, discovered a large 12 foot-long snake resting on a bed in a spare room. This doesn’t just happen in Australia! Snakes in America are actually very good climbers, too, slithering up inside walls. While having one drop out of a light fixture in the ceiling is rare, it does happen. Finding a snake on an upstairs bathroom floor or bedroom is more common. Snakes also tend to congregate in basements or inside walls during the cold winter months, alarming homeowners. Whether you discover a snake hanging from a light fixture, a den of snakes in the basement, or a snake on the floor, garage or driveway, you are safest when you have Allstate Animal Control send a trusted local contractor to your home or business to get rid of the snakes. Snake bites must always be taken extremely seriously, because most people aren’t aware if they have been bitten by a venomous snake or not.
Cherie hated the boredom and pettiness of junior high, she hated life at home as her parents prepared for a divorce, she hated the boys who made fun of her (it was junior high, after all), and she hated her brother for just being her brother. She loved to do one thing, and one thing only, and that was to practice cello in the quiet little music rehearsal rooms at school.
Those music rooms were solace. They were silent, no one else could hear her or judge her. And, instead of worrying about how she looked or what she was doing, she could just lose herself in the deep soothing tones of the cello.
She was good, too. She’d started learning how to play the cello when she was five, and worked hard at it. By the time she was in fifth grade, she was entering competitions and doing well. Cherie knew that some of the kids at school mocked her for being an orchestra geek, and one who played a huge stringed instrument that she lugged back and forth between home and school. But, she couldn’t bear to even consider giving it up to avoid negative attention. It was too wonderful, and some day, school would be behind her, the mean kids would have either gotten nicer with age or lived out their lives in pettiness, and she would always have the cello.
So, she played, and closed her eyes and enjoyed making such wonderful sounds. As she finished the last piece of music, she opened her eyes. In the middle of the music room, in front of her chair, a small snake lay stretched out. There was a snake in the music room.
What was worse was the boy who was next in line to use the music room was peering in teh tiny rectangular hole, with his eyes as wide as they could go. Cherie could tell he was terrified there was a snake in the music room. Slowly, his eyes moved and met hers solemnly, wondering what he was going to do.
Slowly, she slipped out from behind the cello, and crept toward the snake. She could tell it was just a harmless garden snake, they’d seen plenty of those at her grandparent’s farm, and she bent down and scooped it up. She glanced back up at the boy in the window and couldn’t help but smile at his soundless cries. The room was, after all, sound proof. He ran off as she packed up her stuff one-handed, the other hand tightly gripping the squirming snake. By the time she left the music room, a whole group of junior high boys were standing at the end of the hall, watching how she handled this snake in the music room. She calmly walked past them and headed to the office, aware they were trailing after her, whispering. She walked into the office, startling the secretary at the desk, let her know she’d found a snake in the music room, and went outside, dropping the snake in the bushes. She turned around, cheeks burning, ready for the boys to mock her. They stared at her, and then one of them whooped, punching his fist in the air. They all cheered and clapped and called her name. She wasn’t at all like the other girls, and they were impressed.
The smell of snakes in the basement just about knocked me over when we first walked downstairs. I was hit by an overpowering stench of musk, dead things and snake feces. The den of garter snakes grew over the winter, as snakes tended to congregate in the warmth of this particular basement. I bravely went down the steps into the basement and took a few pictures to post online, and wondered how on earth I was going to adequately describe the sites and smells that accosted me in that basement.
As a recent college grad with a degree in Communications, I was grateful to get a part-time job at our local radio station reporting the news. It wasn’t great, but it was a start, and I was willing to do whatever it took to make it into a full-time position that actually paid the bills. As it was, I worked part-time for the station, and held down two other part-time jobs as a waitress and at an office supply store. Student loans take a lot of work to pay off, especially in this economy. Even though the radio job paid the least, I was determined to stick it out in the hopes I would actually use my degree for something good.
As the radio station had a serious lack of funds, most of my stories were generated and fact-checked via the telephone or internet within my tiny cubicle at the station. One of my friends is a realtor who stumbled into what he thought was a good story, so he called me up, and I convinced my editor to let me go out to the site and get some good pictures as well as the story. If I could generate more traffic to the station’s web site with graphic pictures, we might generate more revenue, and I’d be a step closer to a full-time gig.
My friend was stuck with the unenviable task of selling this home that had snakes in the basement. As winter set in, the owners noticed more and more snakes in the house, and were horrified when they discovered an entire snake den in the basement. It was supposedly mostly garter snakes, but there was a possibility of one or two additional species down there. Not to mention the fact that garter snakes are one of the smelliest species, since they emit a musky odor and tend to have more watery and stinky feces.
The horrific pictures I took, as well as the graphic descriptions of the smell and sounds of a large den of snakes in the basement made for a wonderful on-line story, and my editor actually used it in the radio news broadcasts. That was three years ago, and people still look up that story! That was the beginning of many interesting news articles I wrote for the station, and thanks to those snakes in the basement, I have a full-time news job and was able to quit the restaurant and office supply store. I’m even up for the editor’s position once he leaves. It was worth it, even though I still have nightmares of that smelly, slithering, raspy mess. Hopefully I never have to experience that again.
Charlotte knew to expect new adventures when she married her husband, and moved out of the city, across a couple of states, and into the old farm house he had talked about for months, but a snake in the house wasn’t foremost in her expectations. The decision to change her lifestyle hadn’t been as hard as she might have thought. She was deeply in love with Michael, and he loved her just as deeply, and she viewed his more rural lifestyle as an exciting adventure. She’d always loved getting out of the city, preferring hiking and camping trips to sitting on a chair in a beach resort somewhere. So, this wasn’t a scary change for her.
Until the morning she saw the snake in the house, that is.
Although they lived on farm land, they weren’t farmers. Michael had a law degree and had joined a small, local firm. Charlotte had already decided to spend her days fixing up the house, starting a smallish garden from which she could sell a few vegetables at the farmers market, and working on a book that had been rattling around inside her head for a few years. She didn’t miss her high-stress job in a big-city office one teeny, tiny bit.
Her husband had left for the office early that morning, and Charlotte padded into the kitchen to get a small breakfast before repainting the dining room. The paint and supplies were already sitting in the empty room, waiting for her. But, as she walked into the kitchen, she squinted at the odd shape sitting on the stove. From her point of view, it looked as if her husband had left a scarf or something lying across a couple of the burners. That was odd, since it was nice weather outside. Then, the scarf moved.
Charlotte moved closer, still unsure as to what that was moving ever so slowly over the top of the range. Finally, she realized, she had a snake in the house. And, this sucker was big. She couldn’t tell how long it was, exactly, but it was longer than her arm.
Charlotte could keep her cool under pressure, so she just left the room and called her husband, who assured her he didn’t think there were any poisonous snakes in the area, but she’d better call the police, just to make sure. After nearly two hours, a lone policewoman knocked on the door, and said she understood there was a possible animal problem in the home. She paled when Charlotte said they had a snake in the house, and outright walked out of the room once she laid eyes on the thing.
After getting no help from the police, Charlotte got the number for Allstate Animal Control. The animal control expert got the snake out of the house and Charlotte got back to her day. But, she admits that, to this day, the stove is the first thing she inspects whenever she walks into the kitchen.
Ahhh, life is good. I’ve got people who get rid of snakes for me. They keep me safe under this beautiful glass house, where no birds can get at me. I have all the food and water I want, and even get plenty of cheese from time to time. When I feel like a good run, I jump in this wheel thing and just go at it with total abandon. Yup, life is pretty . . .
What was that?! A hiss? Coming from where?? No, I couldn’t’ be. My people got rid of the snakes, didn’t they? Unless they didn’t plug up all the holes leading into the house. Ohhhhh, no. It is a snake. I kind of see it now – its ugly little head gliding along the floor, long ugly body following. If I stay real still, it probably won’t see me. Can’t get up here on this high table, anyway, right? Maybe? Perhaps if I run behind my food bowl and wheel it won’t notice me up here.
Move along! Nothing to eat here. Aaaaeeeee, it knows I’m here! And, here it comes. Run! BONK! Stupid glass house. Pant, pant, run! BONK! Aaargh! What to do?? Where to hide?? Jump! Jump! Freeze.
It’s closer, closer. It’s just staring at me. It knows I can’t run. Just . . . can’t . . . stop . . . shaking. I back into the corner and sit back on my hind legs, and go still. If I have to face death, I will look it right in the eyes.
BONK! I shake my head and stare. What just happened? I grin. Well, as much as a mouse can grin. The stupid snake is kind of swaying a little. He hit the glass pretty hard and I was safe inside. Just to test my theory, I bounce a little and wiggle my nose at him. THWAP! That stupid snake hit his head even harder this time. Hilarious!! This day just went from awful to awesome.
I shimmy on up to the glass wall, right up in front of his little beady eyes. “You look so mad, you could just shed your skin right there.” Okay, as taunts go, that was kind of lame, but I’m just warming up. “Aaaah, don’t get your tail in a twist.”
I jumped up into my running place. “Look at me! I’m a meal on a wheel!” I ran even quicker. “Now, I’m fast food!”
“Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week – too bad you won’t be. Try the chicken. I mean, really, try the chicken cuz mouse ain’t on the menu.”
Just then, my people come home. I squeak to get their attention, and eventually the big man comes running over. He grabbed that sucker right behind its head and got rid of that snake. I just hope they plug up all the holes this time so he can’t get back in. Maybe, if he does, I’ll have some new and better material next time.
“But, Daddy, there’s a snake in my room, I know it.”
I hated that I couldn’t be sure she was wrong. My daughter had been terrified for two days ever since my wife saw a snake in our bathroom. It was gone by the time she’d gotten me, and we didn’t know where it was, or if it was even still in the house.
For a while, we’d suspected something like this. I’d found a shed snake skin in one of the downstairs closets, and we’d been hearing noises in the walls for some time now. The rustling noise in the wall behind my bed was often loud enough to wake me up, and now we were finding evidence of a snake. My wife described what she’d seen to me, and we were pretty sure that it wasn’t one of the couple poisonous snake. But, I wasn’t comfortable with “pretty sure,” and the thought of a snake, even a non-venomous one, biting my wife or my daughter had me pretty upset. It was keeping my daughter awake at night now, too.
“Shhh, pumpkin. Don’t worry, I’m going to get rid of the snake.”
“I can’t sleep, Daddy, I’m too scared.”
“I know, I know, but you don’t need to be scared. Mommy and Daddy are home and we are protecting you. The snake is more scared of us and doesn’t want to hurt us. It’s probably just here to eat mice or rats.”
I winced. I could’ve kicked myself. My daughter didn’t know the rustling sound in the walls was likely a family of mice or rats, or some other creature that first attracted the snake into the house. I knew snakes couldn’t force their way into a home. They used holes chewed by other animals, and then just followed their food. I’d already checked around our foundation and in our basement. We didn’t have a nest of snakes, so far as I could tell. It was probably just the one, chasing down a meal. But my daughter didn’t need to know that. Fortunately, she hadn’t picked up on my last comment. She was more focused on staying awake to make sure the snake didn’t get her, and I assumed she had snake nightmares when she did fall asleep, poor little girl.
I’d searched around the house and tried to find any openings. I’d found a few very small holes, probably made by chipmunks or mice, but I was inexperienced at this kind of thing. It was time to find out how to get rid of snakes, and whatever else had attracted it. I wanted my daughter to be able to easily fall asleep at night, I didn’t want my wife to be unpleasantly surprised by a live snake on the bathroom floor again, and I wanted to be able to sleep the whole night through with no rustling noises in the walls. Time to get a professional. Enough was enough!