(Bucket List) … I’m a Snake Wrangler!

Yep, it was there on my list!  Only a few knew it existed, but today I placed a check mark next to that item.  My special thanks to Grapevine, TX.,  Animal Services Officer Michael Owens.

Like most Spring days, there were chores needing done in my garden.  Initially, I set out to find a spot in the yard that would offer enough sunlight for a volunteer Crape Myrtle tree. Discovering a spot that offered enough sunlight (they need a good amount to ensure beautiful blooms), I set about to dig the volunteer up from an area under a fir-tree.  Since I compost my oak leaves to use as mulch and a food source for bushes and trees, it took me a minute to move debris, only to find that my baby seedling was growing directly against some steel edging.  No problem, I’ll just ‘shrink’ myself into the area and easily work the shovel, careful so as not to damage any more root than necessary.  I got that little jewel out of the area and deposited her in her new home.  Backtracking, I carried a shovel of compost to fill in the hole from whence she came.

Oh my heavens!  As I went to fill the hole I discovered a visitor had arrived.  Standing there, halfway between elation and mortification, I began conversing with myself and all of nature.  Suddenly, I came to my senses and zipped my way into the screened in porch for a bucket.  Flying nearly as the speed of light, I arrived back at the hole and found my friend enjoying the sunken livingroom my digging had provided.  I worked quickly with my shovel and carefully hoisted the beauty into my bucket.  Thank goodness the bucket was actually a cat litter container with a handy lid.  

Officer Owens & Mortimer

Officer Owens & Mortimer

Officer Owens explaining identification markers.

Officer Owens explaining identification markers.

Beautiful markings!

Beautiful markings!

Running to the house, I grabbed my phone and dialed up my girlfriend.  No answer.  Quickly I called another friend only to discover that she and her hubby are fighting nasty cold infections.  Checking to see if I could bring my friends some juice or food, and learning they were covered, I told my girlfriend I had an emergency, of the fun kind, and had hoped she could join me.  I’d call her later with an update.

I had actually called Animal Control initially, and asked if they were open and if there might be a staff member who could identify a snake for me?

“Sure, bring it on in!”

Okay.  The excitement is mounting.  Well, okay, maybe I’m living the dream and this feels like your worst kind of nightmare.  No worries.  After all, this is my Bucket List item, or at least it’s about to be.

I try calling my other girlfriend back.  Her hubby answers, and by now I am in mania mode, but somehow explain with frenzied excitement about the treasure dig discovery.

“Is it dead?”

“No, but I sure wish I knew if it was just a little garden snake, or if it’s poisonous!  He appears to have a triangular-shaped head.  Aren’t those indications of a poisonous snake?”

“I’m on my way with the hoe!”

“No!  I don’t want you to kill it, I just want to find out what kind it is and wanted to know if Linda wanted to go with me to Animal Control?”

He arrives with his hoe, ready for action.  I told him things were safe.  He said:

“Do you need more duck tape for that lid?” jokingly.  We chided back and forth and then I opened the possible, ‘Pandora’s Box.’

We stood there admiring a rather docile, and surely confused serpent.  Well, maybe only one of us three humans was wistfully hoping the best was yet to come.

Girlfriend and I jumped in the car, carefully being sure the lid is secured with the duct tape back in place.  A shot across town and we arrive at, The Animal Shelter/Services Office, introducing  myself to the receptionist as the lady who had phoned earlier about a snake.

“Is it dead?”

“Oh no, he’s right here, alive, in this bucket.”

“Well, I don’t care to see it, but I’ll find someone who can help you.”

And off she went, returning with Animal Services Officer, Michael Owens.

Officer Owens arrives and gently takes the bucket for a look-and-see.  The brave man even puts his hand directly into the bucket and retrieves our new-found friend.  Right away he confirms to Linda and I that we have a non-poisonous snake.  He gives us some excellent tips on what to look for as a means for quick reference as he holds the snake both top, and bottom side.

Finally, I went for the golden opportunity of a lifetime, explaining that I’d always wanted to overcome my fear of snakes, I asked Officer Owens for his assistance.

“I’d like to hold it.”

He smiled and offered it to me, and I found myself carefully taking it from him.

Mortimer and I are bonding.

Mortimer and I are bonding.

My hope is that those who read this will consider taking a chance and try something they have always dreamed of doing, but fear has kept them at bay.  I’m certainly not advocating life-threatening actions; I’m talking about a supervised, safe environment where you get to challenge yourself.

My sincere thanks to Officer Michael Owens, and to my dear neighbors and friends, Linda and Jim.  Mortimer, our snake, is back home, deposited in his newly sunken living room, with a fresh rooftop made from organic compost  His wife is probably questioning his sudden departure this morning, but the fact that he finally attacked that honey-do list may just keep him safe.  I know I will.










~ by coffeegrounded on April 16, 2015.

17 Responses to “(Bucket List) … I’m a Snake Wrangler!”

  1. I really don’t like snakes. And no way will I touch another one. A long time ago in grade school, we had a show and tell. Someone had a snake of some kind. I think it was some kind of small boa constrictor. I can’t remember for sure. We were allowed to touch it if we wanted to. I did but I don’t really want to again. It really wasn’t what I always thought of in a snake. Cold and slimy. It was actually warm and soft. Muscley too. I try not to purposely kill a snake as I know they ear varmints. But they also like eggs. I had my very first up front confrontation with a snake in my hen house last year. It had one of my chicken eggs half in it’s mouth. Check out my post New Calf and Snake In the Chicken House!
    I am glad you got to cross off something on your Bucket List. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t want a thieving snake if I was raising chicks, either.

      My son-in-laws mother decided to raise chickens. After the henhouse was built, and she started her flock, she was so frustrated by not only the loss of eggs, but her constant fear of being confronted by yet another snake. Within a year she put her dream behind her.

      It’s not that I find them cute or cuddly, but as an organic gardener I want to try, as best as I can, to work in tandem with what nature offers. Now, had I found out that the snakes were poisonous, I can assure you my feelings would not have reflected enthusiasm.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have no qualms about killing a poisonous snake for sure. We did not kill the snake in the hen house. I made enough squealing noises to upset it and it released the egg and started to uncoil. I ran into the house to tell my husband and get my camera. My husband and son came out and we made enough fuss over the snake that it left. Hubby said it came back the next day and when I went out it crawled under the hen house and has not been back. It was the first time I had seen a snake in the fourteen or so years I have had chickens. That is not to say that there has not been any and I have not seen them. :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A defining moment for me. These little guys take up residency every year in the garden. I have only killed them by accident, using the edger on the front lawn.
      No more anxiety. Unless, of course I come across a twelve footer. Good heavens, you’ll hear my screams all the way to Oklahoma if that happens! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Now I know why the woman in college screamed when I simply went to check the mail with a python wrapped around my shoulders and arms. Who knew? :-)

    Congrats getting over your fear of snakes. It takes courage to overcome a fear.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I would have freaked out right away! I’m petrified of snakes. And lizards. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lizards are more afraid of us, than we are of them. I literally will see hundreds this summer. The Anole and Gecko are quite abundant to our neighborhood, and not unlike this kind of snake, they devour thousands of insects.
      Should I admit that I’m fascinated by bats? No? Okay.
      Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have never seen a bat yet, because they aren’t found in this part of the city. For some odd reason, I’ve always been terrified of snakes and lizards. And crocs. Is it too much exposure to animal based Hollywood thrillers or the Nat Geo documentaries? I’ve not found out yet!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, crocs are not up on my list of life’s adventures. Even baby ones. Their erratic behavior scares the beegeejus out of me!

      Bats are blind, communicating and navigating thru sound. They are known no eat hundreds of Mosquitos a day. Living in North Texas, we are plagued by those nasty biters. Years ago it was illegal to have bats, that’s no longer true in our city. The only reason I don’t have housing for them is due to the fact their sanctuary must be atop a tall pole and receive hours of daily sunlight. The sunlight is not a problem for me, nor are my wonderful neighbors, but I will have to have it professionally installed. It’s just the money issue that holds me back.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, with the love and passion that you have for bats and gardening, I’m sure even the money issue will go away in some time! :)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the positive vibe. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Boy oh boy, you certainly kept me on the edge of my seat with this story, but snake wrangling is definitely NOT on my bucket list! I’m more of the let’s-pet-the-cute-puppy type of adventurer! Still, I’m glad one of your dreams has been happily fulfilled.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Sharon! Each Spring I find several of Mortimer’s family members lounging in the compost pile area. There are some good eats over there from the decaying organic matter. The officer was explaining how beneficial they are and how they keep the bug and insect population in check. I also learned that if a snake moves in to a particular area, that becomes theirs and other snakes will move along.
      This is sad, but one year as I was edging the driveway area, I kept running and bumping into snakes. I lost five or six that day. All babies trying to escape the vibration of the edger.


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