When the Head of My Household and I moved into our house 5 years ago, we were able to buy a lot in our neighborhood that was a larger lot than most and one of the few lots that was not surrounded by other houses. Our lot backs up to woods (formerly a horse pasture), and we purposely chose to keep most of the trees around our home. I hate nothing more than to see a contractor come into an area and completely decimate all the natural plant habitat. I have never and still to this day do not regret our decision to leave the trees and brush surrounding our home.
Within sight from our front porch and higher ground in our backyard, we can see the lake that runs the length of our neighborhood.
We purposely did not buy one of the lots actually ON the lake for a couple of really important reasons.
Reason #1: Price - lake lots are ridiculously expensive.
Reason #2: This frightening fella...
This dude's name is Water Mocassin.
Remember please that I am a Liberal Arts major and will do the very best that I can to explain biological matters with as much accuracy as is possible for me and in words that my book loving self can handle. Thank you.
The most important thing about this snake is that he bites, and his bite is incredibly poisonous. According to the Mississippi State University website, one person in Mississippi dies each year from this snake's bite. However, most of the folks who are injured or killed by venemous snakes have tried in some way to either catch or kill the snake.
In other words, they've lost their minds.
Water Moccasins are common in Mississippi and they love (as their name implies) semi-aquatic environments (um....like the lake in our neighborhood).
Now, you might as well call me Eve.
Cause I don't like snakes.
Never have...never will.
The Head of My Household, however, is not afraid of snakes. Now, he's no dummy either...he doesn't try to catch them and he respects their boundaries. He can, thank goodness, tell the poisonous from the non-poisonous ones. He doesn't squeal and run when one is sighted in our vicinity.
And, most importantly, he doesn't feel nauseous at the simple idea that snakes are very possibly all around us.
That would be me.
Anyhoo...Water Moccassin dude visited my house Wednesday night.
Uh-Oh and Beneigt took it upon themselves (as they have on several other snake occasions) to keep us safe from the interloper.
Lord, have mercy.
This past Wednesday night my neighbor came in from church and saw our cats chasing and swatting at something near the end of my driveway...of course it's been raining like crazy and the ditches are full of murky water.
Upon closer inspection and the realization of what was happening, my neighbor introduced Mr. Water Moccasin dude to the sharp end of his shovel.
He actually had to bury Mr. Water Moccassin so that Beneigt would leave him alone!!
My youngest grounded the cats from going outside "FOREVER!"
We were barely over Mr. Moccassin when Thursday after another pounding rain, my youngest and I were in the yard around the pool. My youngest had walked over to the garden beds (yes, in her bare feet as most all Missisippi kids do). I was standing by the diving board watching her.
I happened to look down in the grass maybe 2 feet in front of me and saw this:
I almost vomited right then and there.
This snake was
I knew if I screamed "SNAKE!!!" that she would run straight for me.
She had already probably stepped right over the snake once unknowingly (Thank you, Lord)...I knew we wouldn't get that lucky again.
I suggested we check the pool skimmers (which she is fond of doing), and she walked diagonally toward the skimmers instead of the direction of the snake. I took her by the arm and walked her all the way around the pool sidewalk, passing right by the skimmers, and up onto the deck where I could hold myself together no longer and started squealing, "SSSSSNNNNNNAAAAAAKKKKKEEEE!!!!"
My middle child came running to the door to see what in heaven's name was happening.
We stood up on the sides of the deck to see the snake without going anywhere near it.
It wasn't moving.
After several minutes of wondering what the heck was going on with this snake, and trying to find the Head of My Household, my middle child's friend who lives in our neighborhood who likes snakes, and calling my friend Missie who's husband is a biology major, the snake still hadn't moved.
I began wondering if it was dead.
My so-called BFF Missie said, "Take a picture of it and send it to me via Blackberry Message."
I told her she'd lost her mind.
I did, however, like a do-do bird, begin to slowly walk toward this snake with my Blackberry.
I stood as close as I could without getting sick and worked on the zoom of my BBerry camera.
My middle child was right behind me.
While I was zooming, Middle Child said, "Mama"
I looked up at Stranger Snake to notice that his upper body looked a little different than it had when we first saw him.
I said, "Did it move?"
Middle Child said, "It definitely looks different than it did a minute ago, Mama"
She barely got the word "Mama" out of her mouth when Stranger Snake sprinted (if snakes had legs) off into the woods like a 3 ft. Sidewinder.
I'm sure that the neighbors on the other side of the neighborhood wondered who was being axed to death at our house.
Together, my middle child, youngest child and I let out the most blood curdling screams you have every heard in your life as we knocked each other over to get into the house.
My baby was standing in the doorway like the smart child that she is...I don't even think she saw the snake slither away...but she decided if her sister and I were screaming, it was probably a good idea if she did too.
Once the Head of My Household came home, he sat us down and we looked through the criminal photo books of snakes to find our culprit.
According to the MSU snake identification website, our Stranger Snake was most likely a Black Masked Racer. He is not poisonous, and he will even eat other snakes. However, the website said "he will not hesistate to bite if he feels threatened or cannot flee."
I need to take my heart medicine now.
I do not like snakes...have I already said that?? But, the Head of My Household has taught me that the non-venemous snakes will actually keep the population of venemous snakes down. We will have to worry less about Copperheads and Water Moccassins as long as there are enough natural enemies to eat them. If you can stand to look back at the snake pictures, notice that the Water Moccassin's head is diamond or triangle shaped while the Racer's head is not. This is not a foolproof way of distinguishing poisonous snakes from non-poisonous ones, but it's a pretty good start.
You're not going to believe what happened on Friday.
Are you sure you can handle it?
I went to the grocery store and left the Head of My Household weed eating around the pool and my garden beds. Even though the Stranger Snake was non-poisonous, the Head of My Household decided that we will keep the grass around the pool very short from now on. At least that way we won't accidently step on anything that might bite us.
Guess what he found around my beloved garden beds?
Go ahead and guess.
Did you guess????
Now, this is a black Speckled KingSnake, and if there is a good snake, this is him.
The biggest snake we've every seen at our house was early early one morning and was a KingSnake.
The Head of My Household actually played with him.
Not with his hands, for heaven's sake...I already told you he's not a dummy!
Seems the Head of My Household disturbed King Snake's shady resting spot by weedeating all the tall thick grasses. I like to think King Snake was hiding and waiting on the other snakes to try and come back in my yard again...so he could EAT them!!
It's the only way I can make myself feel better...by making up some narrative with a sinister plot, good guy vs. bad guy.
Today there were no snake adventures at my house.
Thank you, Lord because 3 snakes in 3 days is about all I can handle for now.
I need time.
The girls and I went shopping, just in case.
We left the Head of My Household to wrangle the varmints...