Taking It to New Heights

While typing away in my little corner of the sunroom, my dog Roxy started a barking fit in the garage. I assumed the door was wide open and a bird had flown in. Have you ever noticed that an entire wall can be open, but a bird will insist on trying to fly through a closed window?

Roxy only barks at animals. This is not helpful to me since it is unlikely that I will be taken down by a rabid squirrel. At 15 pounds soaking wet, I wouldn’t expect her to be much protection, but she could at least bark a warning when a human enters the yard. Instead, I have looked up from my computer to find her playing with a neighborhood landscaper.

When her tirade didn’t end, I shut my laptop and ran to the garage. Roxy wagged her tail and looked at me and barked, then looked under the pile of kid’s toys and barked, and then looked back at me again and barked. I channeled Timmy from Lassie. “What is it girl?”

I wondered if one of those rabid squirrels was hiding under the mess. I moved a box and heard a rustling sound. While crouching down, I peered through the mound. My first thought was, “Will it attack me like the raccoon in Elf?” My second thought was, “We really need to clean our garage.” Then I spotted its familiar markings.

It was a snake! I moved a skateboard to examine its head. Bullsnakes look a lot like rattlesnakes only bulls are a lot bigger and rattlers have triangular heads. It slithered towards an open space and kept on slithering and slithering. It was a long bullsnake.

I reached out and snatched it by the tail. Roxy hung back.

“Hey there little fella!” I said while watching its demeanor to see that it was cool with being picked up. The bullsnake was at least a five footer, but it didn’t struggle to get away. It seemed to like this new view of the world after experiencing it from one inch off the ground.

I wanted to get my camera from inside the house, so I scanned the garage for a box to put him (her?) in.  I set the bullsnake inside a dorm room organizer. The snake shot through one of the small decorative holes in the plastic box and got stuck. I ran to the tool cabinet and grabbed a wire cutter, but it writhed while flipping itself over and squeezed through.

I grabbed it again.

Then, I said what any Wild Rider would say. “Okay. You’re coming inside.” With one hand, I brought my new huge snake friend into the house and found my phone. I stepped back outside and with the other flipped on the camera.

Watch Roxy. She cracks me up!

With my Bichon trotting alongside, I carried the snake around the house away from the garage. It still seemed pretty content with being handled. I wasn’t worried about getting bit. They don’t have fangs, but snap at their prey with a flexible jaw, and then swallow.

After telling Roxy to “stay,” I released the bullsnake. Since they eat their weight in mice and prey on rattlesnakes, I love having them in my yard. One week later, I saw it basking on a rock in that same garden.

You will be happy to know that I spent Sunday afternoon cleaning out the garage. I filled two garbage cans! Now, that I have eliminated the hiding places, Roxy is less likely to corner any snakes or rabid squirrels. I can always count on her to warn me if she does. “Right girl?”

Are you afraid of snakes? Is there an animal you would never touch?

Photos and video taken with a Motorola Droid Razr phone

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About susielindau

I am a Boulder, Colorado writer and artist who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride!
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123 Responses to Taking It to New Heights

  1. Pingback: Freshly Pegged – Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

  2. bronxboy55 says:

    “Hey there, little fella”? No, really. I can almost understand swimming with icebergs, but this is going to give me nightmares.

    Like

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  5. I was impressed when you picked that sucker up but then you took it in the house while you got the camera!!!! That absolutely cracked me up. I’ve never seen a snake that size outside of a zoo and would have been completely freaked out. Harmless or not … it was a whopper.

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      It was a whopper! I would rather pick up the large ones than the small ones. I had to get a picture for you; I didn’t have a choice. Hahaha!
      That was definitely not the first time I have had a snake in my house. :)
      Thanks Patricia!

      Like

  6. A slithering tale… what a great watchdog you have! Love your blog btw… I will be back!

    Like

  7. Marianne says:

    OH my goodness. You not only picked it up, but went to get your camera too! Kudos!

    Like

  8. The Hook says:

    Snakes suck!
    Great work, Susie!

    Like

  9. You picked up a snake? Multiple times. ::shudder::
    I’m glad Roxy told you it was there.

    Like

  10. The Guat says:

    Holy crap! I can’t believe you grabbed a snake. Not once, but twice. And brought it inside.Dude. You are a Wild Rider. :)

    Like

  11. Wow. Very cool photos, Susie! I’m not afraid of snakes, or any animal, unless it’s inches away and wants to eat me. ;) Phobias are wacky, though. A friend of mine can’t even look at a photo of a snake without screaming.

    Like

  12. I don’t care much for snakes. What it amounts to is not enough trust in myself to distinguish good snake from bad snake. If someone has one as a pet and they are holding it, I would touch it. Just not out in the open, wild.
    Yeah, one I won’t touch? – alligator or crocodile!
    Scott

    Like

  13. Yikes – I know good snakes must survive. We had bull snakes in the hay barnes as kids for eating rodents, etc. — but — you are far braver than I am. I’m glad there’s a you on the planet. Roxie is even braver than I am.

    Like

  14. Karista says:

    Hahaha!!! Love this Susie! Roxy is completely adorable and I love that she’d rather have the snake than a biscuit!

    Like

  15. Debra Kristi says:

    We’ve had several California King snakes in the back yard. They look very similar. Never in the garage though. Found a baby bunny in there once! And I had a baby rattler on the side of the garage. It’s almost like wild kingdom over here. That was pretty impressive. I was nervous for you, holding him by the tail like that.

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      Hee hee! He was a pretty mellow snake.
      Yours sound scary! Amazing a baby bunny even survives around your part of the world.
      Thanks Debra!

      Like

      • Debra Kristi says:

        OMG! My yard is a bunny farm! We took out a tree earlier this year and had to let the mulch sit for 3 to 6 months they told us. There are so many rabbit holes in that spot. It’s crazy! The things are so brave they come right up to our back door now to eat our grass. But the baby bunny was hiding under the Christmas tree that time. So cute!

        Like

  16. It really pained me to ‘like’ this. I HATE snakes…and not only would I have NOT touched it, I’d have run screaming…and never gone back in there again, lol. You are much braver than I am, Susie! :)

    Like

  17. John Hardy Bell says:

    Just when I think my respect level for you had topped out… wow. You are an INSANELY brave woman! I’m a pretty big guy who isn’t afraid of much, but had I been in your shoes I would have ran into the house shrieking! Once that stopped I would have been on the phone with Billy the Exterminator ASAP! Great post :)

    Like

  18. Oh my god!! You’re entirely too brave, I screamed from the safety of my couch when you said that you’d found a snake! I love your sweet little bichon, Roxy!! Such a lovely little pup!! xx Give him a biscuit for me!

    Like

  19. “Have you ever noticed that an entire wall can be open, but a bird will insist on trying to fly through a closed window?” LOL – that feels like the story of my life! But anyway, aside from that little diversion, I love that you are such a chilled out friend of snakes! :)

    Like

  20. Aack!!! you touched a snake!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  21. I had a bull snake encounter this past week too! But mine was a baby and I found him under a rock I was moving. Didn’t think to get my camera, though when I was writing my blog post about it later I wished I had, LOL.

    Like

  22. jmgoyder says:

    Wow so you are a snake whisperer too!

    Like

  23. unfetteredbs says:

    nice.. I love that you stopped to get your camera for us.. awesome

    Like

  24. Cayman Thorn says:

    Susie, You’ve got to host “Wild Kingdom 2K”…seriously. If that wouldn’t been me, I would’ve snatched up Roxy and posted a For Sale sign in the front yard. Nice catch and release story.

    Like

  25. 4amWriter says:

    I heart snakes. As a kid, I would search for them in our rock wall, which is where they nested. We have lots of garter snakes where I live. Harmless, but bad-tempered. Although I did manage to move a garter snake out of my garage so it wouldn’t get smooshed by the tractor.

    I’ll touch any wild animal when given the chance!

    Love that bull snake. :)

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      You are too cool! The garter snakes here are so fast and I think they would nip. We would’ve had a lot of fun growing up together! I was always looking for reptiles and amphibians. We even tried to catch rabbits under a box! Like a rabbit would be curious enough to step underneath…. pssshh!
      Thanks so much!

      Like

  26. That snake would scare the ever-livin’ reptile phobic in me! Yikes!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Like

  27. Peter Germany says:

    We don’t have anything cool like that here. I’ve lived in the middle of farm land and never seen as much as a slow worm, let alone an adder. Saying that I doubt either is any where near as cool as that!

    Like

  28. zendictive says:

    wow, what a tale…and awesome tale (~_~)

    Like

  29. tomwisk says:

    Used to have a garter snake that lived under my window when I lived in a basement. He/she took care of whatever they take care of. Had a good sized spider in the window whose web snagged all the wee beasties that made it through the screen. I wasn’t below making an ass of myself chasing flies to plant in the web.

    Like

  30. You picked up a 5 foot snake? And released it in close proximity to your 12 pound dog? I’m not sure which is crazier.

    I’m not afraid of snakes – like I don’t freak out or anything when I encounter them – but I definitely do not want to pick them up. I usually just try to guide them away from me and my house/garage with a rake or shovel.

    My husband on the other hand – he screams like a little girl. He’s a big burly guy, but he’s terrified of snakes. We had a little garter snake in our house one time and he was standing up on the couch screaming, “Get it out of here.” I wish I’d have thought to get my phone to take a video of that. Of course I wouldn’t have lived to tell this story if I had videoed him, but it was really funny.

    Kudos to you on your snake removal.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      Oh my God! That video would have gone viral! You should set up the shot, but make sure to set up an account with YouTube so you get paid per visit! You could make a ton of money!
      There is no way a bull can take down more than a baby rabbit. Thank God we don’t have pythons….. :)
      Thanks Patricia!

      Like

  31. Loving your post – snakes do not scare me. Spiders on the other hand creep me out! Roxy is a good gatekeeper:)

    Like

  32. Wow, that’s a big snake! Makes the one we had in our garden look like a baby but ours was in the process of eating a huge frog and that didn’t seem at all fair, it would have taken a week, so Phil through them both over the fence and the frog got away. We’ll never know if it survived.

    Like

  33. Hi Susie, we don’t have many snakes around here so I’m quite lucky in that regard. If we did, I don’t think I’d touch one – only because I have the feeling that all snakes like to coil around things and crush them, and I don’t fancy that happening to me. It would take a while for a snake TO coil around me, but that’s by the by!
    Great post!

    Like

  34. Catie Rhodes says:

    What a pretty snake.

    I grew up in East Texas where there are 4 types of poisonous snakes–cottonmouth, coral, copperhead, and timber rattler. I learned early on to look for the triangle head or for the red/yellow formation to identify the poisonous ones. I still won’t touch any of them. Good on you for being so brave!

    I know I say this every time, but I just love Roxy. I know you do, too.

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      I do love Roxy!
      It must have been unnerving to be around so many poisonous snakes. We went camping one time in Wyoming and a nearby field was filled with rattlers. I couldn’t get my kids out of there fast enough!
      Thanks Catie!

      Like

  35. Emma says:

    I hate snakes. I’m absolutely terrified of them.

    Like

  36. Coleen Patrick says:

    Roxy is a great dog–tiny, but still able to warn you about the guest in your garage!
    I wouldn’t want to touch a snake, but if I knew for sure it wasn’t dangerous then I think I could put it back outside where it belongs. I think. :)

    Like

  37. mj monaghan says:

    Wow, I’m not a fan of snakes. I had to “dispose” of three rattlesnakes at our house in Northern Cal. One IN the garage, coiled up; one by the gate, coiled up before the front door; and one in the backyard. And my wife is TERRIFIED of snakes. She would be creeped out just looking at your video.

    Like

  38. CC MacKenzie says:

    No way! No, no, no way would I touch it. Nope. Never. You’ve got a backbone of titanium, woman!

    Aww, I love Roxy, she’s a very good girl and did as she was told. You did say ‘awesome’, lol! I got into trouble for saying ‘wicked’ recently.

    Like

  39. tedstrutz says:

    Channeling Timmy… I love that! I have always been impressed with your video skills, not to mention dancing, and now Snake Wrangling too! Glad Roxy has a new friend.

    Like

  40. Angelia Sims says:

    Holy cow! You have a pet snake. I just don’t think I could do it. You are a hero. Hey Roxy, I’d take the biscuit. :-)

    Like

  41. I love snakes. That’s a pretty serious looking one. Once we were walking in the woods and a snake was in the path. The dog walked over and stood on it trying to figure out what we were looking at. When we finally got him to move, the snake just calmly slithered away.

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      He was probably cold. If you picked him up, he probably would have reacted to the warmth of your hand.
      I would have to know what kind it was. I don’t think I would pick up any random snake. You live in a part of the world that most likely harbors quite a few poisonous ones!

      Like

  42. Rodents are sky-high on my Do Not Touch list and slithery snakes almost as long as I am tall (short) aren’t exactly the kinds of critters that are on my bonding “to do” list. I’s definitely go with the biscuit over the snake.

    Like

  43. Stacy Green says:

    Holy crap! I hate snacks no matter how docile. You’re lucky Roxy didn’t attack. Mine definitely would have. Glad it wasn’t poisonous, and that it all turned out well!

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      Thanks Stacy!
      Roxy is a mouser and has no problem attacking anything that size, but snakes are something she plays with. I found a dead baby snake in the basement that she had thrown around.
      Thanks Stacy!

      Like

  44. Audrey says:

    Crazy! We only have tiny garter snakes out here, I can’t imagine running into that big guy. Glad that he’s on your side and eats the rattlesnakes though, that’s a friend to keep close by! And Roxie sounds like the perfect snake alarm. :)

    Like

  45. John says:

    Snakes creep me out as do spiders. I’d have grabbed a broom and scooted the snake outside then closed the door. You are so brave! And I’m a chicken apparently… ;)

    Like

  46. gardenlilie says:

    You surprise me and then you don’t. Of course you’re not afraid of snakes and the video proves it. Smiles. I think if you get used to the critters you do get over it. At my grandmother’s house in the summertime we got exposed to everything: cats, cows, horses, fish, snakes, frogs, crabs, worms, minnows…on and on. Now, well I don’t like spiders or snakes or red ants! Red ants bite! My daughter at age four was standing under a tree and then came to me and I saw the fiery red devils crawling on her. Later at the doctor’s she said, “ants bite me!” I’ll never forget that line. :)

    Like

  47. JWo says:

    Holy crap, I think I would have fainted if that thing came out from under something in my garage and Savannah would have run away. She’s smart and friendly but not very brave.

    Big thumbs up to you…

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      Thanks JWo! They are great to have lurking around the yard since they eat so much vermin. The bigger the better! Hahaha!
      I have another post to blog about snakes. I picked up one in the yard that wrapped around my leg for warmth!

      Like

      • JWo says:

        Oh dear Lord… I would have pee myself (or worse) if a snake did that to me. Not only do you see ghosts but you pick up snakes… You just might be the perfect woman. hahaha…

        Like

  48. El Guapo says:

    At 6 seconds into the video, you catch the snakes head for a moment, and it’s just going back and forth, looking around.
    I’d love to hear the story the snake told its buddies when it got home!

    Like

  49. nelle says:

    Cute pooch. Snake, ayeeee. I don’t do snakes well, rofl. A grass snake, mkay. One five feet? @_______>>> vamoose = me.

    Like

  50. If that had been in the UK Susie, the street would have been evacuated and the Prime Minister would have got involved! Handsome beast though.

    Like

  51. Kudos to Roxy for alerting you to a potential threat. You mentioned Lassie. Do you remember Rin-Tin-Tin?… same era and similar story lines but a German Shepard?
    I like your cool, calm demeanor and recognition of the fact that bull snakes are beneficial. You handled that snake like a professional.
    To your questions:
    I’m not afraid of snakes if I can see and identify them, but had a scare once when walking once through a brier patch while a teenager. I’m making my way along a steep, rocky slope when I heard a thrashing sound followed by distinct trill of a rattler. Needless to say I made a hasty exit.
    I’ll handle most creatures though I have an aversion to those with pungent odors and related hygiene problems.
    I look forward to your stories and this is no exception, Susie. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      I would have gone the other direction from the rattle too!
      We have them out here and I think there was one in the garden, but bullsnakes mimic their rattle with their throats and can flatten their heads to look triangular!
      I did wash my hands afterwards!
      Thanks Rich!

      Like

  52. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Susie,

    Once my parents finally figured out that I was allergic to every animal with fur, snakes became the pets of choice in our house, or, more specifically, in my room. I’ve had Garters, Corn, King, Bull and Indigo snakes and loved them all dearly. I was so glad to see you were not one of the legion of folks that think snakes are icky or slimy and I appreciated your knowledge of their value around the garden. By the way, from what I could see, you have a beautiful garden. Loved the pictures and the video. Very nice day there. Still a good thing you cleaned out the garage. Easier to see the rattlers and less places for them to hide. (But you knew that already.) Thanks for the jaunt down memory lane.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      That is so cool Doug! Your parents were too! I don’t think my mom would have allowed any snakes in our house, but you can imagine that I don’t draw the line anywhere!
      The latest craze is pygmy goats! Can you imagine what they would do to hardwood floors?

      Like

  53. I was right there with you until you grabbed the snake by its tail. You sound so calm on the video! I would be freaking out. Even a small snake would make me hyperventilate.

    Like

  54. OMG did Roxy chose snake to biscuit..but why not i see where she is getting the ideas from…and the way that snake slithered …yikes
    Susie :shock:
    But what a fun video
    Only you ( and nat geo,animal planet guys) will lift a snake like that and take pics and make video.. :)
    i hate slithers and cockroaches, rats,bats….long long list…

    Like

  55. Chris says:

    Whoa-you are much braver than I am. We have lots of snakes, mostly black snakes and water snakes and I welcome them because they do chomp on mice, but I prefer not to step on them, find them coiled in my porch plants or watch them slither through the graters to live under the house. Very impressed by Roxy’s obedience.

    Like

    • susielindau says:

      Roxy is a good dog! Bull snakes are generally pretty docile. Well at least the ones I have encountered. I saw one a couple of years ago that hissed at me and then practically flew away! I don’t think it would have been happy being handled.
      Thanks Chris!

      Like

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