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

124 thoughts on “Taking It to New Heights

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  1. 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

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    1. 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!

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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. 🙂

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    1. 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!

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  5. 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.

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    1. Hahaha! Cayman, if I lived in your neighborhood, I would come over and move it for you. I have removed bullsnakes for friends before!
      I will have to buy a pith helmet….
      Thanks!

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      1. When I first read this, I thought you were referring to moving my house. I am such a dork. And I LOVE those pith helmets! If only I loved the responsibilites that go along with sporting one of those things.

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  6. 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.

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  7. “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! 🙂

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  8. 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 🙂

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  9. 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.

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      1. 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!

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  10. 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

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  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.

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