Tell Us: Snakes in the House? | The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Since moving to where both bw spiders and prairie rattlers are not uncommon, and since there’s no way I can afford med care especially a stint in ICU for bites from either, I’ve shifted from catch/release to ‘kill on sight’ with each of these.

BW spiders indoors are ‘goners’ via vacuum. Those outdoors, if some distance from the house, are ignored, otherwise stomped, hit with a rock, or whatever’s easiest. The BWs are common enough I find I no longer whisper an apology as I kill! 🙁

Rattlers are ‘goners’ regardless. I live close to many families and there is no reliable assistance to safely catch/release. On ‘behalf of myself and neighborhood’, rattlers are dispatched with a quick chop of a sharp edged long handled spade. (I carry such a spade with me or keep one near while doing yard work. I cannot hope for these dangerous snakes to stay put while I go get a shovel!) I don’t end up killing more than one a year at most, most years I never see one and do keep a sharp eye out for them.

I *do* have and ‘protect’ garter snakes. Great for control of mice and for keeping noise of abundant crickets down! In fact, any snake that has a long, narrowing, sharply pointed, tail is left alone. I also yell at my 2 dogs to ‘get back if I see them show interest in a snake since until I see the animal I have to assume it could be a rattler. The dogs have annual snake vaccinations but this is usually considered “helpful toward survival” rather than assurance.

This morning a new development! Walked into kitchen mid-morning to find a garter snake, slender but about 24″ long, smack in the center of the floor area. It wasn’t there only minutes before! I’ve trained myself to check for ‘pointy tail’ before getting overly excited. Nice, longish, slender and very pointed tail. (Shape of head also a huge clue but for some reason tail seems faster way to check to my brain.) I went to get a sheet of cardboard to guide it out back kitchen door only to find it missing when I returned. I checked recycle collection corner and there it was, behind a box. I realized it had many places to hide unless I could cause it to head for the door. Decided a soft broom might do (could possibly sweep it along if needed) and used the broom to steadily ‘bang’ softly on the box it hid behind, causing it to slide away from the noise toward the already opened back door. (I’ve learned with herding cattle – make the noise ‘behind’ the animal or at least behind it’s ‘front end’. Noise too close to the front of an animal causes it to turn left or right instead of going forward!) As it emerged from boxes and slid along wall I followed a short distance behind it, keeping up the soft sounding bang of broom against wall. I maintained a ‘slow steady beat’. I had no reason to try to excite or frighten the snake, but did want it to get moving.

Worked like a charm! Within minutes the snake slithered over the door jam and onto the cement porch floor and from there out to the yard.

BUT – then I began to wonder: what if it had been a rattler? Could I ‘chop’ a rattler especially if I was indoors and my handy sharp long handled spade was outdoors? Hmm … I know from previous experience that I cannot call anyone to come deal with a rattler and still hope to know where the snake is by the time anyone might arrive. My ‘clever plan’ at this moment is to put as many extension wand pieces as possible on vacuum and pull the snake into the vacuum. My canister vacuum’s don’t have bags, so if it works, I’ll have the snake confined, probably still alive and very upset, amid whatever was in the bag (dust and pet hair). Then what! My plan is to stuff a towel into end of vacuum hose and hand-carry the container to … somewhere? … Maybe to sheriff’s office? I’ve not thought that far yet.

I came online for evidence of anyone using a vacuum to pick up a snake. No luck re snakes but this discussion does describe vacuum as a catch/release or at least capture life a toxic house intruder. So I thank all of you for the many tales and shares and am resolved that IF a rattler appears inside my house my best bet is likely the vacuum. I feel better already! 🙂

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Tell Us: Snakes in the House? | The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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