The autumn after first moving here to Kentucky, I thought I would truly go insane from the spiders.
They came out of hiding in the evenings. Always at night. I would be innocently reading my book in the recliner when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.
And there it would be. Poised to either run or jump onto my pant leg and scurry up my body (my Stephen King-soaked imagination led me to believe). I would slowly, very slowly, sidle over to the entry rug, pick up an article of footwear and with outward calm get close enough to the spider to then WHACK! it with the shoe. Multiple times.
One spider isn’t so bad.
Three is getting pretty creepy.
Five is just freaking unacceptable!
I remember on the worst night I called Dave up in a panic, because I had dealt with five spiders and a cricket — a cricket?! — in the house that night. The last spider was in my bedroom, which was really the icing on the cake. I’m sure being pregnant didn’t help my hysteria any. Dave must have wondered what kind of weenie he had married, but instead of going that route in the conversation (smart choice, Honey) he tried to get me to calm down and told me it would be okay.
What else could he do? I have since run into many problems that Dave really can’t help me with while he is away, but it is still nice to hear his voice on the other end of the line in these times of crisis. To be honest, sometimes I just want to wake him up to let him know all hell is breaking loose here at home.
Last night was one of those nights.
Around midnight, I let the dog out for her last constitutional of the night, locked up the house and headed to the bedroom. Then I remembered that I wanted to put a banana in the freezer so we could make blueberry smoothies in the morning. (Yum, by the way!) So I stuck a couple peeled bananas in the freezer. Then I remembered that I hadn’t put the towels in the dryer yet. Better do that. So I opened the laundry room door and turned on the light.
At the far end of the narrow laundry room, beside the water heater, there was movement. Lots of it.
Yes, I said it. Multiple black snakes, writhing along the floor, stretching several inches up the wall, no doubt sticking their little pink tongues out scenting the air. I stood there staring at them for a couple moments, realizing that this was the smell that I had been noticing for the past several days. (Several days?! They’ve been in my house for several days?!?)
They were starting to move more and it looked like they weren’t going to stay on “their” side of the room, so I quickly stepped four feet into the room in order to grab an unused glue trap off of the shelf above the dryer. Then I ran back to the relative safety of the kitchen step (it is two steps down into the laundry room). I peeled the backing off of the glue trap and tossed it onto the floor near the washing machine. Then I used the handle of the broom to push it closer to the wall, because a snake was coming.
The broom handle got stuck on the glue trap. Drat! I tried to loosen it, but it was stuck fast and there was no way I was going in there to undo it. As it worked out, though, the broom was a lifesaver. I could move the trap around and position it where the snakes were in order to get them on it.
As soon as the snakes started getting stuck on the glue, I felt sorry for them. Normally, I say I’m not afraid of snakes. But I have never had them in my house at midnight!! And I didn’t know what kind of snakes they were. Odds were that they weren’t poisonous, but there was no way I was taking a chance of picking them up. Everything is so much more horrible at night and there was no way I could do it.
I was fascinated, watching their tiny bodies (about a foot long, but very narrow) work their way along the wall and behind the trim. The drywall and trim in our laundry room leaves much to be desired. I watched a snake disappear behind the door trim, then reappear on the other side. If the gap was small enough to see light through, then the snake could slither behind it. One snake got its front two inches stuck on the glue, then used his rear few inches — which were somehow in the doorway to the scrapbook room — to try to pull himself backward. The broom handle came in handy for thwarting his (her?) escape.
After catching three snakes, I ran to get my camera.
I caught one more after that, then called Dave and woke him up. At which point I lost it and started sobbing. Don’t worry, that only lasted a couple minutes. My crying woke up Violet and I had to pull myself together for the little one. Before that, though, I caught a fifth snake.
Violet was really wailing for me now, so I hung up with Dave, shut the laundry room door (I didn’t see any more snakes moving around in there) and went to get her.
She slept in my bed with me.
I didn’t sleep very well.
I kept imagining horrible things and every time I woke up I would think of snakes covering the floor and slithering into the rest of the house. Come 7am my nerves were ragged. We made smoothies and coffee and I ignored the closed laundry room door.
At 8:15 I called my Mom. Normally, I never call Mom that early, but desperate times call for desperate measures. She was incredulous when I told her what had happened and she came right over.
I just want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank God for my mother. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. Besides all the innumerable other things she has done for me in this life, she is always willing to help me with the scary stuff. Always. I’m seriously getting choked up right now.
Thank you, Mom.
Mom flung open the laundry room door while I stood cowering behind her. No snakes in sight, besides the ones stuck to the glue trap. Five in total — the same number I had caught 8 hours earlier.
Now that it was daylight, I really felt badly for the snakes. I wish I could have caught them humanely and released them in the field, but it just didn’t work out that way.
All along I had been saying that these were baby snakes and that I wanted [Mom] to find the eggs they had hatched from. But Mom couldn’t find any eggs. The laundry room is so tight she could barely see behind the water heater. We have spray foam sealing some cracks and according to her it looked like it had been “chewed up.”
So we went online and Googled “Snakes of Kentucky.” Thank you, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources! Soon we were looking at a picture of a Ringneck Snake.
Averaging 5-15 inches long, it is
“A small, gray to black snake with a yellow neck ring. Belly is
yellow, occasionally with one or two rows of black dots down the
middle. When held, this snake will not bite; however, it will often
release a smelly musk. The ringneck can be found under rocks,
logs, within garbage piles, etc. where it feeds on worms, slugs, small
reptiles, and amphibians. Interestingly, several female ringneck
snakes may lay their eggs in a single communal nest.”
It took me a while, but later I realized that these snakes weren’t babies. They were the mommas.
Now we have a real egg hunt on our hands. And these eggs aren’t filled with chocolate candy, either.