The trouble with being a "nature person" in the land of snakes and bugs...

…is that people automatically call you for consultation/pest removal services when they run into said snakes/bugs.

I suppose I should be grateful that they’re not just slaughtering the poor critters out of hand.

A few months ago, I got a call from the owner of my favorite guitar store. We’re friends and all, but he asked if I’d drop by to take a look at “all these flies that hatch once a year and swarm the place for a day or two.”

“I think they’re mayflies”, he added.

So I went.

“These are termites, dude. You have a big problem.”

A few weeks later, another friend was doing work in his crawlspace, and wanted to know what “these damn spiders are”. Well, I like spiders, so I went over. Harmless little guys. Neither of the Big Two (but he did have one hell of a gargantuan wolf spider in there.)

Last night, another friend called me, freaking out. He had found a snake. Nay, TWO snakes! Under his garbage can! Outside his house! With his newborn sleeping in the same house! OMG! Could I come over?

Since I hate to see snakes killed, I went. They were two harmless , gorgeous little ringneck snakes. He still Would. Not. Have. Them.

Poor little guys.

I get that alot too. Cool snake by the way. Did you keep them?

I feel ya. It must be as bad as being known as the “computer guy.”

It’s black fly season and they eat you alive unless you put Deet on. Thank goodness they only have a short season.

Nah. I relocated 'em to a woodland near my house. They ought to be fine there.

Yeah, but with more dirt. :slight_smile:

I suppose I bring it upon myself, though. I’m usually preaching to my scaredy-cat friends about how harmless most of these animals are, so I feel like I have to suck it up and walk the walk when called upon.

I remember one time when I totally bluffed my way into a wildlife rescue. I was out running at a big local park, and came across an Animal Control truck, with two decidedly unenthusiastic-looking officers looking up into a tree.

“What’s up there?”

“A big snake.”

“Cool!” This earned me a weird look. “What are you going to do with it? Relocate it?”

“Nah. We’re going to shoot it.”

“Wait, what? You’re going to shoot it?”


At this point, I Bluffed.

“OK, well, you guys can go ahead and take off. I’m a biologist. I’ll take care of it.”


They leave, and I can’t believe that actually worked.

I see the snake waaaaay up in the tree, and I start climbing. Wow. Sure is big. Whoa. It’s REALLY big. Good lord. I get closer and see a triangular head. Uh oh. I have a problem now.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), as I approach, I realize it’s a nonvenomous (but very ill-tempered) gray rat snake. Maybe I can sneak up on it. Shit. I’ve made enough noise climbing that it knows I’m here. It’s wound around a branch, stock still, except for the end of the tail, which is vibrating like crazy. It has also already musked and stinks like living hell.

In short, it’s thoroughly ready for me.

I try to work my way around to the back of the head. It strikes repeatedly at me. Damn it. Finally, it tries to retreat to a higher branch. I reach out and grab it by the tail. Bad idea. It comes back along the length of its body and tries to eat my face.

I instinctively fling my hand out, nearly lose my balance in the tree, and upset its balance. It falls off its branch, and lands lower in the tree. I follow and try to grab it before it heads out to the end of the branch. I succeed in knocking it out of the tree finally, and scramble down.

This is one Very Pissed Snake. At long last, after multiple strikes, I pin the head down and get it behind the jaws. Aside from briefly trying to squeeze my arm off (they’re constrictors), it calmed down pretty easily.

It was also 5 and a half feet long, and seemed as thick as my arm.

I took it out to the woods and let it go. :slight_smile:

Liked that story, Ogre, made me laugh, um with ya.

I’ve had a long tradition of critter solving, from Dad being a biologist, and we always had a progression of animals in need at our house. I still always try to save any life, from insects on up. One question asked when I do that is, “Why take the time?”

Last week, I saw a beautiful large dragonfly trapped between two windows at work. I stopped all I had to do and concentrated on saving it— I just couldn’t bear to let it die when I could help it. It took a while, had to get a stick between the windows and get the d’fly to grab on, several tries and fails. His wings kept catching on the sills. Damn, what to do? Took several tries then before figuring out that the far left gap end of the window was wider, so got it to hold onto the stick , scooted it over and pulled gently up, and…yay! a free dragonfly!

I see every creature as a good life worth saving, worth the time. How to put this… well, I really do view every creature as a brother/compatriot in this world, and have since a kid. When I was trying to rescue the dragonfly, kept saying “Cmon, Buddy, come on, get on here…” I wouldn’t have noticed it except our Office Mgr was watching, and was sweet about the noticing.

Well, the Google overlords have decided this was the thread to advertise Terminex.:rolleyes:

Good on ya. I pointed out your big snake rescue tale to my wife. In 2007 she stood guard in the hallway of her office over a little juvenile rat snake, either a gray one or a yellow one in the gray phase, based on my eyeballing of online photos for comparison. Her officemates wanted to kill the little critter, and she was afraid to leave him to look for a container. She finally persuaded someone to get a plastic file box and bring it to her. She brought the snake home, and we got some shots before releasing him in the woods near a stream behind our place.

The pictures, including some of the release.

I feel terrible, but I had to dispatch a rattlesnake just yesterday. Would have rather relocated it (as we did with another one last month) but he was right in the mix, too close to the kid, dog and livestock. I let a bull snake go about his business last month, as he isn’t going to bother anybody.

I’m not real crazy about having a nest of rattlesnakes in my yard.

Down here in southern Louisiana, we get alot of opposum in the yeard. My dogs go absolutely insane but wont’ go closer than 4 foot from them. Maybe it’s the teeth. I am the type of person who goes out of their way to save any creature. I don’t know why, I was raised amongst hunter’s and fisherman. Anyway, trying to relocate an opposum is not easy.
I try to shoo them off towards the woods with a broom and the little guy lays down and plays dead. I then try to pick him up with a large shovel (gently) and he wakes up and shows the teeth. I lost my trap in the bayou so that’s out of the question. Ok Dogs inside for a few hours and the little guy finally leaves. It worked no more scary creatures in my yard except for me :slight_smile:

Two weeks later, my dad finds a opposum roadkill with a baby nearby. The babe was still alive so he decides to try and raise it. I would never of guessed it, but (stewie as he was named) turned out to be a very intelligent creature. He taught himself to use the litter box for the cats. He would come when called and do tricks like sit and fetch among others. Stewie loved to sleep on your shoulders and wrap his tail around you neck as to not fall off. The only real problem was the diet, It is supposed to be pretty strict, but he loved anything he could get. He has since died but not before teaching me a lesson. Never judge a creture by its cover :slight_smile:

Are you me? :slight_smile: I hate to see any of our household critters die. I even live-trap the occasional mouse. Just yesterday, I noticed that I had not gotten to a big spotted salamander on our patio in time. It had dried out and died…and I felt awful about it.

What a cutie! How could anybody want to kill that? It’s adorable! And I think that’s a juvenile gray rat. Their patterns are more obvious when they’re young, and that pattern looks typical of a gray to me.

Understandable. I have access to all the safe snake-catching goodies, but I understand not wanting a colony of venomous predators in your yard.

Awwwwwwww. They get such a bad rap. I hear of people who are phobic about possums because they say (hilariously) that they look like zombie rats. :slight_smile: As for catching them, they can be fearfully stupid sometimes. When I was growing up, my dad used to catch the ones in our back yard by walking around them, then grabbing their tail, snapping turtle style. :slight_smile:

When I was in college I saw a group of people standing around in a little circle, and heard the phrase ‘kill it!’, so I wandered over. They were standing around a little tiny snake sunning itself on a sidewalk. When I saw it, I was like ‘Why? It’s just a little snake. What’s wrong with you?’ and I picked it up. One or two people went ‘ewww!’. It was really small , no more than 6 inches long, and cute. No idea what kind of snake it was, but urban southern Ohio doesn’t exactly have a huge venomous snake problem. It curled up in my hand and let me hold it. I walked it away from the group of would-be killers and released it in a patch of trees in another part of campus.

Yeah, I think one of my earliest “What the fuck is wrong with people?!” experiences was the time, at scout camp, at about 12 or 13, I came across a group of older scouts standing in a circle, playing hacky-sack with a frog. :frowning:

Having dinner at my folks house last Saturday and even though they face the SF Bay, the wind flow that day was reversed and it was unusually hot. So they had their windows open in their sun room, with no screens. They’re high in a building on a cliff face and the bug intruders they were getting were mostly harmless, clean syrphid flies, native bees and a couple of inoffensive sphecid wasps. And they weren’t coming in in large numbers.

I had a running battle with my step-mother to catch and shoo them out before she swatted them all dead :).

That’s pretty cool. So…by the way, what’s your phone number?