Monday, February 23, 2009

New Neighbor

Adam? Hey, Adam? Can you come grab me that apple?

6:10 Monday morning. I go outside to feed my guest cat, and find a thick, colorful scarf rolled in a tight tube, coiled up outside my back door.'s not a scarf. And I'm going to be very late to work.

This is a corn snake. They are not native to this area; in fact, my friend says when corn snakes are not masquerading as pets, they are to be found slithering through the warm and wet climates of the southeast.

I have no idea how this guy got here or why he chose my back step to curl up on, but there he was at 6:10 this morning, lethargic, far too cold, possibly dying. Several desperate calls to Animal Control (which helpfully opens at 7:10 am, so don't plan on any animal emergencies before that) yield zero results. Finally, as the snake begins to move either away or up into the siding of my building, I break down and call 9-1-1.

At this point, I have no idea if the snake is dangerous. He has made some half-assed strikes in my direction, even temporarily trapping me outside my back door. While he is moving slowly, I have no doubt he could go faster if motivated, like, to grab a chunk of my calf.

The 9-1-1 operator is one of several heroes I will find today. She tries Animal Control--no luck. She says she'll keep looking and call me back.

A few minutes later, my phone rings. It's hero number two, a guy who calls himself Sasquatch. He identifies the snake from my description, and assures me (if "assures" is the right word here) that the snake's bite isn't venemous. Note he doesn't say that the snake won't bite, just that the bite won't kill me. He does urge me to bring the snake inside if at all possible. It's too cold, we don't know how long the snake's been out, he has a long drive from Woodinville in morning rush traffic.

I call on heroes three and four: Andrew and Wendy. Wendy, who lives upstairs, is down in a flash. Moments later, Andrew arrives from his home a mile away. He has gloves. I feel like such an idiot--gloves hadn't actually occured to me. I may not be the first person you want to contact if you're having a crisis. I'm just sayin'.

My cats have been closed in the bedroom for most of this drama, as I'm concerned for their safety. The entertainment value of watching Beebs deal with a giant snake just wasn't worth risking her maybe getting hurt. I might get a fake snake, though, just so I won't miss out...

Andrew picks up the snake and muscles it into an empty kitty litter container that I have for no reason I can think of other than that I haven't taken it out to the recycle bin yet. We put the snake in, and I carve a very small hole in the lid. We put the coffee pot on top to provide a little warmth and set the bin near my heater. Andrew and Wendy return to their separate Fortresses of Solitude, and I'm waiting for Sasquatch to show up at my door.

Sasquatch is only slightly less exotic than the animal he's here to claim. Built on the Santa Claus model of burly and bearded, he is clearly extremely fond of snakes and extremely knowledgeable about their care. The snake is no worse for his time outside, Sasquatch tells me, and he'll be fine. I heave so many sighs of relief, I start to hyperventilate. Sasquatch bundles the warmer and much-friskier critter into a pillow case (why is it always a pillow case?), gets back in the truck and drives off into a happy ending.

I'm still looking for the animal's owner, so if anyone in Seattle, particularly in the area of Beacon Hill, finds themselves a corn snake short, leave me a comment. Meanwhile, I have to go do something about that cappebara that just showed up on my back step.


NuclearToast said...

It was so much funnier on the phone with all the screaming and thrashing about.

DK said...

Crazy! I wonder how the 911 operator found Sasquatch. There are several other people looking for him...

Ash said...

LOL!! OMG - I have been off the blogs for months now, but DK told me I just had to read this. OMG was he right! LOL, LOL, LOL!!! You did the right thing. Calling 911 is intimidating, but an exotic, deadly (for all you know) snake on your back porch is a good reason if I have ever heard one! Oh my dear - only you!

Lynn Sinclair said...

Reading this tale was a great way to start my day, Raggs. Just too funny.

Considering you had a huge snake outside, I'm kind of concerned about your guest cat. Have you seen him lately?

bladio said...

omg i would have screamed bloody murder. you are brave!!