Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Screamed Like a Little Girl

My horse trainer gets so much more work done when I'm not around, so I let her have at it while I headed back to the house to get some other duties and chores underway.  As I was bounding up the walkway and back steps, my eye caught sight of my foot coming down on top of a very large snake.  I jumped backwards and screamed. I must have screamed loud and long, because my vocal chords hurt afterward.  The trainer was yelling out from the arena, "What?  What happened?  What's going on?"

I said, "I almost stepped on a snake!"

I walked up closer to it and saw that it had no rattle on its tail.  Then I checked the head and saw that it wasn't a viper.  The trainer took me by surprise by marching right up to it and picking it up by its tail to drag it off away from the house.  It whipped around and hissed at her, so she dropped it.  I told her to leave it alone, because rattlesnakes aren't the only poisonous snakes around here.  But she was worried about it being headed toward my back door.  She tried picking it up again and it got even more aggressive toward her.

She ended up using a door mat to shoo it away from the house, and I got some pictures once it curled up under a bush.  I did some research, and I think it is a Sonoran Gopher Snake.  They have these markings and can grow to be up to 7-feet in length.  This one was about 3-feet.  What confused me was that it had a green tint to the background of its body.  The description said that these snakes will rear up, hiss and even strike if threatened, but they are non-venomous.

After I took pictures, I shooed it out from under the bush and it slithered along the foundation of my house toward the garage.  I quickly ran inside and closed the garage bay door, because I knew it would probably head in there since it was dark and cool.  This snake was quite fat and I wondered if it had just eaten.  I had heard a thrashing commotion out back earlier, but couldn't figure out what was making the noise.

What bothers me is that as soon as it started warming up, I've been very careful about watching where I step, and wouldn't you know it, on the day I'm super busy and distracted, a snake appears on back steps.  Last year we had a smaller gopher snake, a king snake, and a rattlesnake all show up in that same general area.  They are stone steps, so they must feel cool to the snakes on hot days.

Well, unfortunately, this marks the beginning of Watch-Where-You-Step Season.  It was so nice not to have to worry about snakes and scorpions for a few months.  Now I have to get back to wearing my hard-soled shoes around the house at night, and knee-high boots to the barn and out in the desert.


Dreaming said...

Yeah... when you live in an area with poisonous snakes, all snakes have to be regarded with caution. I also hate when I am 'surprised' by a snake!!
We used to encourage the non-pit vipers to stay around our home to catch other varmints.
You obviously know to check the head shape. Did you know that pit vipers have narrow pupils and non-poisonous snakes have round pupils? (Yeah, my friends suggest that they will never get that close to check!)

Cheryl Ann said...

I've seen 3 snakes (non-poisonous) come out from the water faucet up at the horse ranch...none last year and after the 2nd one, I put my hand over my mouth to stiffle my screams because the ranch owner killed the first one. He wasn't home when the 2nd one slithered out and it quickly went under a pile of old boards. By the 3rd one, it was like "ho-hum"...haven't seen any (yet) this year, but I'm sure I will...There WAS a sidewinder up there because both the owner and I saw its trail, but she never found it.

Crystal said...

I'm pretty sure that woulda made me scream to! glad it wasn't poisonous but still startling.

fernvalley01 said...

I would have screamed too! eww! "i don't like spiders and snakes"

Cindy D. said...

Wow, they are coming out already. Well I guess down there, "already" is right on time.

One time I when I lived in a very old house in San Tan Valley, I had one come up through a hole in the kitchen where the pipes came in. I got up in the morning to fix a bottle for my baby to find him sliding across my kitchen counter. Talk about screaming like a little girl! Turned out to just be a gopher snake so we caught him and turned him loose outside.

Mikey said...

Tis the season. I've relocated two rattlesnakes already this year. Be careful out there!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Here in New Mexico we call them Bull Snakes. They are very common and have even been seen eating rattlesnakes.

Some of our neighbors have collected Bull Snakes from the wild and brought them to their ranches to help keep the rattlesnakes from moving in.

It seems to work, too.

We had a Bull snake sneak into our garage two years ago and try to eat one of our pullet chicks. Made me so mad, because the pullet was too big for it to swallow and it was such a waste of life.


Reddunappy said...

NO! I couldnt deal with the snakes!! Yikes!!!

achieve1dream said...

I would have screamed too!! I hate being surprised by snakes lol. Once I recognize them, if they aren't poisonous I'm not scared of them, but I still won't grab them by the tail!! Getting bit is no fun, even if they aren't poisonous.