Monday, April 23, 2012

Slytherin vs. Gryffindor

Thursday we noticed something behind the tomato plant closest to the sidewalk.  Michael asked "Is it a snake?" so I took a look and, sadly, yes.   A black snake with a grayish white belly.  A quick web search told us it was a racer.  (I was so relieved it was not a basilisk)

Isn't it pretty?  Ours was coiled up a bit more than this, but they tend to be almost 3 feet in length, which is plenty big for me, thank you very much.   Racers are not poisonous and they eat all sorts of icky critters such as rodents and also lizards and bugs and probably bunny rabbits if they get super hungry.  Being a huge Harry Potter nerd, I promptly named him Salazar.   Michael promptly stopped using the backyard gate and pathway (seriously) and emailed HOA -a company to which we pay a healthy monthly sum- to let them know our pest situation, and hope they could fix it quickly.  These HOA folks help out when cockroaches and other pests are in the house, so it's not a random choice.   His email was lovely.

Hi Oraine,

We have a snake living behind some tomato plants in our back yard, and I was wondering if somebody could come and remove it. 


The reply back was not.


I apologize but we have no one that can do that, snakes will typically move on. I am sorry about that. 


Side note: the day my husband goes by Mike voluntarily I will eat my foot.   Why do people do that?   Some clients call me Julie when they respond to emails.  So bizarre.

The worst part of this email, of course, is that we are back to square one.  So I did what any logical person would do.   I told my mother and sister about our predicament.   Their responses were just as helpful as Oraine's.  And despite how absurd they both may seem, I assure you both these women are 100% serious in their suggestions

Al: Put Broadway out there. She speaks parseltongue and can politely ask/demand that he or she vacate the premises immediately.  (Broadway is a stuffed bison who is a sort of Travelocity gnome, appearing in all sorts of our travel photos, she also has quite a backstory.  More on that another day)

You need to call this idiot, remind him that you pay $$ and ask him to explain just what the hell your HOA DOES cover.  What if the snake was in your house?  I would catch the snake and  take it over to the [main building of the resort] and release it in the lobby, but that's just me...

Needless to say, neither suggestion proved extremely helpful.  We noticed on Friday afternoon that Salazar had not moved at all.  I took a closer look (to take a photo which sadly did not turn out well... hence my use of google images above) and saw that his little head was stuck in the bird netting over the tomatoes.   So the problem shifted from:

We have a snake living by our tomatoes and it could possible slither out at us whilst we walk on the backyard pathway 


We have a snake living by our tomatoes and it is now stuck in the bird netting and will likely die there.   It will no longer slither out at us, but someone has to now free the scared reptile from its trap

I sort of want to email Oraine and say "Oraine, I don't think this snake will be moving on" but that doesn't really help much either.   

As of Saturday morning [also Michael's birthday!  how about that] Salazar was in the same spot, so we figured he'd died of suffocation or dehydration, we'd remove the body, and throw it... away?  In an empty lot down the street?   Not sure.     But to make things even more interesting, later that day, Salazar's head is still stuck in the netting, but the back portion of his body kept moving.   I think he was trying to free himself.   All I can say it's a good thing we didn't try to remove the 'dead' snake on Saturday because that would have been a rude awakening for all involved.

Sunday was more of the same; his rear kept changing places but his head is still stuck.  Michael decided we needed some gardening gloves (in case he tries to bite) and longer hedge clippers so we can free him from the netting, hope he's fatigued, and relocate him.    I worked all day so I have not been out to check on the progress (or lack thereof) but I cannot wait for Salazar to be out of the yard.

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