Saturday, May 19, 2007
Our unwanted visitor
Your eyes are not deceiving you - that is a snake. It is located approximately 8 feet from our front door. It was not a very good day.
Let me start over - Claire and I were headed outside to water our plants. When I opened the front door I startled a cute little chickmunk (Theodore, I think) who scurried through the brush right into the clutches of this giant snake. I proceeded to watch in horror as an episode of National Geographic Live unfolded in front of me. Little Theodore never had a chance. The snake struck him with his fangs then constricted him until his last little breath left his little lungs. It was quite graphic and quite sad but it got worse. The giant snake then proceeded to swallow the chickmunk whole. I watched as the little tail disappeared into the beast's mouth and a large bulge appeared in the body of the snake.
You may be wondering how I handled this whole situation. Well, I'm ashamed to say not well. I'm a little disappointed in myself honestly. I have worked in a pediatric ICU for 5 years now and handle life threatening emergencies without breaking a sweat. I love that part of my job - the training I've had in that setting keeps me cool and collected in most circumstances in life - or so I thought. I have to tell you that there is something about walking out your front door with your baby on your hip and seeing a six foot long, 6 inch thick SNAKE attack and eat a chickmunk that rattles you a little bit. I failed the snake test.
In three years of residency I have never called Rhett with an emergency. I thought this was a good exception. I called him in the middle of a busy afternoon at the hospital freaking out and yelling about a snake. Of course he thought I was exaggerating and it was probably a little garter snake or harmless little black snake. I was giving him the play by play as the snake snuffed the life out of the chickmunk but he still didn't understand the scale of the emergency or how close it was to our front door. I ran next door hoping our neighbor's son (who is a Marine) would have a weapon of some sort at his disposal and kill the snake. When they weren't home I told Rhett he had no choice he had to come home immediately and kill the snake. At this point Rhett is chuckling a little bit but perhaps a little concerned since I am really loosing it. I told him we needed to buy a gun (his response: "I'd be a little bit more concerned about you wielding a firearm right now than having a snake in our yard" then I told him we should consider moving (his response: No.). Once the snake had his fill he slithered off around our house - that's when I really saw how big he was and started freaking out again.
I started looking up snakes on the internet to identify it then - I found it! It was a Burmese Python I emphatically told Rhett (who had ignored my pleas and was still at the hospital). He informed we that we were not in Calcutta and the chances were slim that it was a Burmese Python. I called Critter Control and left a desperate message. I told them I didn't know whether I should call them or the Birmingham Zoo (this is the kind of snake you go to the reptile building to see). They ended up coming on Monday and told me that it was probably some sort of rat snake and he was a "good" snake. Apparently I should be happy to have this monster creeping around my yard - he eats rats and other varmits (I can testify to that) and keeps other not so nice snakes away. I was told not to worry because he probably won't bite me and if he did it wouldn't be a big deal. Mr. Critter Control searched our yard to no avail. Had he found the snake he was going to take it to his farm - that's how great this snake is! I had him spray our yard with snake repellant so now our yard smells like garlic. I think I am going to get a string of garlic and make Claire a "necklace" to wear in the yard when she plays.