Killing Snakes

Warning: When you live in the country never step foot off your screened porch with toddler in hand while talking to you prayer partner on the phone… screaming, shrill, musical notes in the sound of  OHHH..SSSSSNake…sixfoot. five. four. big. bye. gotta. go. SNAKE!…may leave your prayer partner in a fit of hysterical laughs.

I proceeded into the house with strict orders for the girls to stay inside, while I put on my tallest boot..lime green hunter water boots…ran out the back door to the shed..grabbed a shovel..decided against also carrying the axe..returned to the scene of the snake spotting only for anger to rise with-in me that the HUGE snake was now hiding in the vicinity…I looked under the porch but could not see anything..(and remembered  my last snake encounter near the porch) .then thought like a snake and lifted my over grown purple-headed  chives…AHHHH! I quickly shoved the shovel on the snake and attempted decapitation….the wood chips prevented my thrusts from penetrating….so I stood on the snake and asked Pippi (who had cracked the front door to make sure I was safe) to get my camera and take a picture of me…the batteries were dead…

Next, I coaxed her to get me the phone..I called boss man and he was one hour away planting a field of corn…he suggested sending Pippi out to the shed to grab the axe..

WHAT? She is four..I do not let her hold sharp knives…she doesn’t know what an axe is…I had no choice…well I could have let the snake go..like I said NO CHOICE!

Pippi locating the axe for our second snake kill

The sweet girl had brought  our sun screen to kill the snake..after I convinced her sun screen would not protect us from the snake she decided if she was going to walk across the yard to the shed she should put sunscreen on…The snake was wrapping it’s tail around my boot so I repositioned….

Pippi then decided she needed to wear socks to protect her toes…Mister snake was attempting to slither out of my shovel pin….she went inside…upstairs…back down stairs…onto the porch and deliberated which shoes were snake safe…and I deliberated if I could just grab the snake by the head..shivered at the thought and encouraged Pippi towards her task. She sauntered to the shed…turned upon arrival and yelled, “What is an AXE?”

UGH!

“Something to cut down trees.”  She disappeared into the shed, walked around the outside of the shed.I reminded her the axe was INSIDE..she shrugged her shoulders and returned to the dark abyss..a few minutes later she peeked out of the shed dragging our yellow handled axe, “Is this it?”

“YES” I exhaled.

Pippi, picked it up triumphantly as I praised her searching skills…like Paul Bunyan….and began to walk towards the house…

“PIP!

PI!

STOP!

Please drag the axe behind you!”

she arrived at my side and watched as I then chopped the head off the massive beast.

I changed batteries in the camera and returned to find Pippi holding the dead snake…

I shrieked and she dropped in on the porch…then I thought, “Why not” so she picked it up

and played with it dancing and singing about how she helped Mommy kill the big snake…. until she noticed blood dripping from it then the fun was over.

For a few days…

I found this guy two inches from my foot while staining the playset…I sat a log on him while I finished my section…I was MAD…and kept thinking the silly thing would slither out from underneath me..but I was determined to not change my plans for a snake…Pippi came outside to watch me…I even let her find the axe for me…my little pioneer girl!

Comments

  1. you didnt have to do that,you took the cruel,stupid ,lazy,ignorant way out.let it go,its not venemous,call a wrangler,or catch it and relocate it.that’s not a good example to set your kids,to cruelly murder native wildlife that your too dumb to relaise is no threat.

    • Dear Rob,
      You are correct I did teach my daughter to kill a snake..there are no wranglers in my area..it is me and my daughter…I was stepping on the snake and I did know that it was not venemous….but I also know that a snake bite can cause serious infection…I was sooo tempted to grab the snake by the head…Hey I do not mind holding snakes a the zoo, in friends houses, but somehow I was grasped by fear at the idea of grabbing the LARGE snake by the head with my bare hand. WHat I am teaching my daughter about killing snakes..and all animals is that when in doubt act on the side of caution…she used to pick up snakes and hand them to me and I would relocate them… then I taught her to fear snakes..yes I did..we have the cutest hog nose snakes on my farm…you probably know that when hog nose snake is threatened it will play dead..they do not bite…but they will also hiss with such force that is sounds like a rattle snake (a great defense mechanism)…I did not know this at the time and my ignorant brain told me to kill the darn thing before it killed something that I cared about…like my dog that had it pinned against the tree. So what do I teach my children..I teach them to stay clear of danger…and sometimes ignorance (mistaken identity) will cause an innocent animal to be slaughtered…We do not hunt..do I think hunting is wrong No..but I do not need the meat so we do not hunt instead we manage to feed a herd of over 150 dear and 200 hundred turkey at our expenses every year…would I hesitate to kill an animal to eat it if I was hungry..amybe for a split second until I looked at my hungry child…would I hesitate to kill a dangerous animal…I do not know it depends on the proximity to my children…A SNAKE THAT IS ONE FOOT FROM MY DAUGHTERS’ FEET IS IN THE WRONG PLACE.
      P.S. Rob I did call for help..I had my four year old go inside and painstakenly helped her call for help…help was over an hour away…I had a one year old and four year old that needed supervision so the snake was left for the several dozen turkey vultuers that Summer on our farm…You are corrct I took the cruel, stupid, ignorant way out… I disagree in my method being lazy..it took lots of thought and work…next time will you leave a link for snake identification..I am a city girl trying to make it in the country and learning to identify all the native wildlife is a hobby of mine and I am teaching my daughter’s the same to that one day they may see a six foot long bull snake under their one year old and sigh as they grab it by the head and walk it out to the corn field…and I will take pictures which is what I prefer to do wildlife.

      • p.s.s. rob I really could have let that other snake go or used a shovel to move it away….but the reality is that the snakes like to make nests under my shrubs during the drought and thent heir babies start coming out and I have snakes all summer in the kids sand box, play house, swing set….and I am not that dedicated to wildlife…sorry….and the last time a bull snake was striking at my two year old..I ran to get a shovel and chased it into the woods…what kind of bully tries to bite a girl on her swing set? the only reason she wasn’t bit was the frog the snake had just swallowed and then regurgitated as I was chasing it around logs….yes I am that dedicated to ridding myself of intruders and yes I do feel bad when I kill for vengeance….but then again I wonder what women through out the ages have done when they lived in the wilderness? I assume they took care of business..I would not allow a buffalo, or wolf or bear to play around my kids…even though as a child I dreamed of running wild with them…oh Rob I will talk anyone’s ear off…maybe I saved the poor snake from being bored by my banter…a lecture could have been worse than death.
        Of course the moral of all this is you are right and I am wrong….the snake was not a REAL threat…I was imagining all the ‘what if’ scenarios and I will ponder that the next time a snake comes up in my yard…and I will probalby shovel it up as I have done before and toss it in the corn and tell my girls to not kill a snake..ok I am fully convicted that I will try to not kill the next snake on my property…unless it is in my chicken house eating my eggs…then we have a problem with my resolve.

    • City Sister says:

      Let’s practice punctuation, spelling, grammar, patience and kindness..then (AND ONLY THEN) can you begin to tell my country sister how to raise her children and keep her property safe.

      Much love from Paris,
      Mary

  2. Theresa says:

    Amber,
    Yeah for you! Kill the snake! I will never forget the time I walked out my back porch in Colorado to find a big snake slithering along the house. I screamed and thankfully, my husband was in the next building and came to my rescue. He chopped his head off for me.
    Just yesterday, the kids found a snake enjoying the protection of a bush at the side of our house. It is still there only because I don’t want to deal with it and Jeff is out of town. Don’t feel bad about killing a bull snake.
    Theresa

    • Thank you, Theresa!

    • cat gecko says:

      murderers all of you! slaughtering an innocent creature.
      a snakes head may continue to function normally minutes after the snake had been murdered, so imagine what pain you had caused it to experience!

  3. @Rob? Cruel to kiill a snake? Well, if you deliberately tortured it first as torture is cruelty. However, I am a Christian and I thus believe that GOD gave us dominion over all creatures that fly, slither, etc. That includes, of course, snakes. I live in western Kansas and my son has uncovered a rattlesnake in the barn, my husband and I have killed another right outside our barn, one in the driveway, and one right against our house by the back door. God gave us a responsibility to protect our children and the RIGHT to protect ourselves, and I will not EVER feel badly that I exercise that right when I feel threatened by an animal. It’s called common sense. Amber was in doubt about the type of snake and was protecting her children. No animal’s life is worth the safety of a human!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Don’t know if you even have children, Rob, but if you don’t, you wouldn’t understand. Even if you do, you are a male, and, as we females are tied to the child from birth, we females do tend to be fiercely protective of OUR offspring, just as a lioness, cow, or other ANIMAL would be….and don’t doubt for a second they would agonize over eating our carcass after they took us out defending their young. Yes, we are a higher-order species, so I know that Amber and the girls did not have the snake for supper (ha ha).
    I’ve been letting bull snakes around here go–even the ones I find on my front porch-because I believe they are doing a good job of keeping the rattlers away. I’ve also manage to educate my husband and help ease his fear of snakes so that now, he does not unconditionally kill every one he sees, nor are our two children terrified of children but are informed to calmly tell us when they spot a snake and they see us leave it be if it is a bull snake. Amber’s children are not old enough to be taught that lesson anyway–it is better to teach them safety NOW.
    It has taken me a few years of living out here to be able to differentiate between the two species, so, when in doubt, I have killed any and all snakes in the vicinity of my home. Cold-blooded murderer, aren’t I? Think of me what you will, but my neighbor just spent two nights in the hospital in Denver after sustaining a rattlesnake bite when he made the bold move to walk out to his vehicle before bedtime to retrieve something and had a run-in with a rattlesnake in his front yard. So, Rob, I will be the last person you’ll hear apologize for enforcing what I believe to be the natural order of things….and I certainly don’t believe Amber has any reason to apologize to the likes of you either. “Unless you walk a mile in our shoes, you really don’t know what it’s like.”

    • I agree that I have dominion over the creatures…and because of that responsibility…i try to act with wisdom versus reckless abandon…Thanks Lisa

      • cat gecko says:

        I am an atheist, and so cannot help but NOT agree with you about the dominion over all creatures. they have about as much right to live as the best of our kind, and so shouldn’t be killed. excluding those animals born and bred especially for use as food.
        many times I had the opportunity to encounter venomous snakes in the wild, and I have found them delightful animals. if our children do not posses the natural, ancestral instinct to evade danger, the simple truth is that by the process of natural selection, the do not deserve to live.

  4. Amber, you could have called me….but what a lesson you have taught your daughter to help you be responsible, to act calmly when in danger and to protect those you love. I have had numerous snakes too.

    I went to Eastern Kansas to visit relatives. Stopped by my neices house that she just purchesed and added a storm door to the “back” entryway. I opened the storm door and had to chuckle….”look,they placed a rubber snake all curled up to scare someone”. I rached down to pick it up and low and behold…..it was not rubber….rubber snakes do not jump like that black snake jumped to strike me. Of course I screamed. Of course I ran. I turned back in time to watch it slither into a hole just under the door frame. I checked the door again….and was amazed to see about a three inch gap between the doors and since my neice has three children five and under and one on the way…i was very concerned. What if those babies had walked out of the house and had been struck by the aggressive snake? I told their parents. I told grandma and grandpa….please lets get the snake holes covered and closed.

    My daughter and son stayed there that night to babysit while the rest of us went to a surprise birthday party. About forty five minutes after we had left, we got a call from a housefull of screaming children. THERE IS A SNAKE INSIDE THE HOUSE IN THE HALLWAY! HURRY! COME HOME HELP!

    After getting them calmed down, I asked where her fearless eleven year old brother is? Well, he is scared too because it is a snake he hadn’t seen before and it is very very fast. I asked them to describe the snake. I assumed it was the same black snake i had encountered. I told her to throw a towel or sheet on it(after suggesting to just shew it into ny neices bedroom and seal off door and leave it till they get home and wow can you believe the prrotest i got from her). Wrap the cloth around it and grab it and just take it outside. She called again…we can’t get it. Screams and crying children in the background. (I later learned she forgot to tell her brother about the sheet idea because she was nervous and forgot)

    We called the nephew. He was an hour away. We called Grandpa. He did not answer. We called Great Grandpa. No answer. We finally got in touch with a neighbor and friend of my neice and her husband. He went to the house, trapped the snake in a tub and then took it outside and he did kill it. He said it was very aggressive and felt it could be poisonous. So we convinced him to save the head so we could see it and verify the identity. As it turned out, it was a black snake.

    They have since sealed several holes in the house and we haven’t heard anymore stories. I agree with Lisa…..walk a mile in our shoes before you climb the ladder. You did the right thing.

    • Wendy, that rubber snake prank would have had me, too! I would have jumped then reached down boldly to relocate it for the next person to discover…I wonder did you scream? What an exciting baby sitting job!

    • Gibby Swalley says:

      Probably just a harmless black racer.

  5. Kathy Reh says:

    Hey Rob – send us all your phone number. We will give you a call next time there is a snake in our yard.

  6. I’ll make a snake catcher for you, it’ll solve your snake problems and your nasty comment problem as well.

  7. Katelyn Reh says:

    Even though I know most snakes are not poisonous I would have done the exact same thing. But only if it was around someone young.

  8. Wow, I am just glad it was you and not me. Yuck, I can’t stand snakes. :)

  9. Disgusting level of ignorance, but not the worst of what’s going around our country anymore… The creature obviously didn’t want to confront you or deliver a bite. Also, snake bites in most cases do NOT become infected due to the anticoagulant properties of their saliva and their superior immune system. Pituophis is not aggressive toward humans, and can put away hundreds of rodents per year. I suppose rats are fine because they are cute and furry, right? Been bitten several times handling thousands of snakes through the years, including working with them professionally for a time, and it is probably the least harmful animal bite you could possibly imagine as long as it is not venomous. Somehow a random google images search has made me sick of the human race once again without even leaving my house or turning on the tv… Why would you kill something that is of no threat to you? Is that your Christian way? I suppose if you look at the history books…….

    • Oh, Rick..you are right….ignorance was at not at it’s worst that day but ignorance was involved…..and you probably did not read my follow-up comments. I appreciate your comments regarding the relative safe bite of snakes…I was unaware…and in my ignorance killed the giant snake that could strike at eye height to my one year old daughter….though next time I would grab the shovel and relocate such a large specimen..I long to know more about my natural surroundings and yes as I grow I make decisions different than I would in previous years…and about my Christian ways….I am full of mistakes and will make many more…worse than these unfortunately…being a follower of Christ does not mandate me to kill snakes…or make me any better than any other human….it does mean I am forgiven.

      • cat gecko says:

        I once caught a garter snake. the little blighters are only slightly venomous, and it bit me two times. my three year old sister fell in love with it, she stroked it, and played with it, and was heartbroken when it escaped. now that is how people should be like to snakes.

  10. Gibby Swalley says:

    This is just sad. Two harmless snakes were slaughtered. I can’t believe you taught your daughter to be happy to kill a snake. If I sang about being happy to kill a snake when I was a child, I would have gotten a slap from my mother. When I run over them with the lawn mower by accident, I cry. They are vitally important to the environment. If you taught your daughter to respect the snakes, there would not have been a problem. Even if it was “just at my daughter’s feet”, as you say, It would have been fine had she left or if you simply chased it away with a stick. I’m not trying to offend here, just to say that if you respect snakes, they can’t hurt you.

    • Thank you, Gibby. I agree snakes are vitally important. My fear was founded in ignorance. Since this post, my children and I have learned much about the different snakes in our area.

  11. My four month old puppy was most likely frolicking with the other dogs on Saturday when bitten by a rattlesnake. I guess she didn’t get a chance to earn the respect of the snake. My husband found it and dispatched it while I raced her to the vet.
    My neighbor, a summer or so ago also did not get into the proper respect mode in the dark while fetching something from his truck at night. It almost cost him his life from a rattlesnake bite. We’ve lost a mule and a cow was bitten just the other day. I hope her unborn calf is still with her.
    Attributing human characteristics to all animals is very assumptive. I doubt the lion respects the zebra as it takes it down. The weakest are harvested usually, depending on chance and hunger by the predators, not always.
    By the way, I wonder if any of you animal rights activists have seen a calf half disemboweled by a coyote, still alive? We make sure the coyote tribe is of a small enough size they don’t go around disemboweling live calves. What of the cat that plays with the mouse until death? What respect lies therein?
    Yet you chastize our natural instincts of protecting our young as any animal mother would? What are you to judge?

    • Oh Lisa, I hope your puppy is healing. Rattlesnakes are not welcome on my property…neither are the bold coyotes visiting my children’s play area in broad daylight. Growing up in the city I never had a reason to learn nature skills…my children must learn how to interact with wild animals. How to identify, avoid, respond, appreciate, protect…it is a strange paradigm of the rural citizen—protecting the same wildlife and land that we are often accused of destroying.

      • I hope to get her from the vet tomorrow. She is still healing and may have tissue die off in the area, we don’t know yet. The venom and medicine may damage her liver also, so I hope that she is okay there. The Vet said she was playing and starting to put weight on it again, so that is good. We miss her. I hope the vet bill after three days is not astronomical. I also hope she never gets bitten again. I worry a snake will get her while I am at work, or crawl into her pen area.
        The vet said they’ve had lots of bites this year. I wonder how many commenting on here have seen the effects of snake bite venom on a horses face, etc? I’m talking about when the dead skin sloughs off the living bone. It is horrendous. This happens in many animals bitten by rattlesnakes. I hope a burrowing owl takes his old home. I love them, and the niche they fill in the environment.
        Unfortunately, I’ve not seen any of my bull snake friends out yet. Maybe when they’re out, I won’t see those nasty rattlers as much!

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