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The scoop and sprint event

Whilst debriefing with J about her school day after fetching her from the bus, Hubs came into the kitchen with a very serious look on his face. There have been some serious things that have happened in our lives together. So he gives me his serious face and I’m thinking oh shoot someone died. Oh shoot he got laid off. And he says “Inge, I need to speak with you urgently, please step outside.” 

I have literally never heard him speak like this. “Well I’m really in the middle of helping the kids here, making snacks, can it wait until I finish spreading this peanut butter?”

“No. Put down the knife, come outside. Now.

…on second thought, bring the knife.”



I went outside steeling myself for the worst, a car accident, a death. We start walking towards the chicken coop in silence. The chicken coop…

“ARE MY CHICKENS OKAY? ARE YOU WALKING ME TOWARDS A BLOODY MASSACRE?” They still weren’t laying eggs at this point, but I was emotionally invested.

“The chickens are mostly okay but there is a snake and you need to do something now before this gets real real bad. It’s so big. Like so big I saw it from my desk through the window.”

Oh snap, this snake was way big. Fortunately, it was a rat snake, a regular black snake. But it was about six feet long and it was trucking towards the coop. Then Hubs’s phone rings and he abandons me in the middle of the mission. I may have neglected to mention how he feels about snakes. The short answer, not good. He does not feel good about snakes. He cannot even see a picture of one or he gets nightmares. My relative ambivalence towards snake made me the designated “dealer of such things” in our marriage. This was a mother of a snake though. It wasn’t poisonous, but it certainly had intimidation on its side. I grabbed a long stick and started poking it, trying to deter it from bee lining towards the coop. At first it turned away and seemed to think about moving into the woods but suddenly its focus renewed and it honed in; moving with a single minded purpose towards the coop. I managed to scoop it up with the stick and tried to throw it away from me, but it just kept on its course. So then I scooped it up with the stick and tried to run with it, to toss it into the woods. It was too heavy! I saw Hubs circling the yard, still on his phone call. “Get me some gloves!” I shouted.

He waved his hand at me, in the universal motion to quiet down and pointed dramatically at his phone. Like I can’t see the phone? Do you see the GIANT SNAKE? This python is threatening our apocalyptic chickens, it’s not supposed to end this way! Finally, he moves in the direction of the garage to get the gloves while I continue my stick scoop and sprint strategy, slowly moving the snake ever further from the coop. He returns with the gloves, I throw them on and pin the snake down right behind the head, pick it up and told him to get the kids so they could see it.

It ended up being a most excellent learning experience for them and resulted in some majorly epic videos and pictures to remind my children when I’m old that I used to be awesome and fearless. They each got a kick out of touching the black snake, watching him writhe around in my hands, and eventually I carried him deep into the woods and set him free. It was no surprise to any of us when we saw him a few days later slithering through a hole into our crawl space, he clearly lives with us now but the good news is we don’t have a mouse or rat problem.

The gloves might be overkill since it’s not poisonous, but I wasn’t about to take any chances.

For those of you who are curious what threat a large snake can pose to chickens, the answer is obvious, they do go into the coop and will eat the eggs. Guess it’s a good thing they weren’t laying eggs yet (eyeroll). 

The other concern is that snakes eyes are bigger than their stomachs, metaphorically speaking of course because a snake stomach is like 6 yards long, but they will try to swallow a chicken whole, get it halfway down, realize they can’t, and then regurgitate the chicken. Sort of a Jonah and the whale situation, except that while they’re figuring out they can’t actually swallow this massive bite the chicken will suffocate inside the mouth of the snake. The article I read said “if you find a bunch of your chickens laying around dead with wet heads, you might have a snake problem.”

You can’t make this stuff up, you really can’t.

2 thoughts on “The scoop and sprint event”

  1. Inge… Okay, I would not be sleeping if I knew a snake was living in my crawl space. But I am in awe of your snake wrangling skills. Not a prayer I would have picked up that snake. Joe says you have two choices… cut off its head or take it to a neighbors house in the middle of the night and drop it off. My other note is… snakes do not live alone. There’s more than one, just saying. 😳

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