This morning, I was walking through our very dimly lit hallway and saw something laying across the floor in a suspicious series of S-curves.
First thought - Why is there a snake in my house?
Second thought - It's just laying there, though. Oh duh, I'll bet it's one of those plastic ones.
Third thought - We don't have any plastic snakes.
I debated briefly about just grabbing it behind the head and carrying it outside, but from what I could see in the near-dark, this snake did not have any of those nice reassuring yellow stripes proclaiming it to be only a lowly grass snake. It was spotted. There are so many snakes with spots, and some are not the sort you want to surprise. If you grab too far back on a grass snake, you'll just get a pinch. It might be a painful pinch, but it's not dangerous. And snakes move faster than me. Did I feel like trusting my snake-wrangling skills with something potentially poisonous?
I moved, and it started crossing the hallway. It didn't coil, good sign - but I still didn't know what it was. So as I am the wildlife person in the house, I called quietly for Husband (in the living room with Kittyboy) to get me a container. He went into the kitchen, got a plastic tub, and said, "This?" I said, "Uh, no..." and he asked what I needed it for.
This is the man who, in college, leaped to the top bunk of a bunk bed without a ladder, because I calmly said I might have seen a mouse. I love my husband, he is a wonderful spouse, father, provider, and all-around wonderful human being. But I am the wildlife person for a very good reason. He deals with oil splatters while frying food - I remove mice. And now snakes.
"Do you promise to remain calm and not freak?"
In an annoyed tone, he said yes.
"There is a snake in the house."
"There's a SNAKE in the HOUSE?" He was mostly calm.
He gave me an oatmeal container with a lid, MUCH better than an open tub, and to his credit, he didn't toss it gingerly from the kitchen, he brought it to me as the bottom half of the snake was slithering into the bathroom. I went in the bathroom and closed the door, but the end tip of the tail was just poking out of a broken tile under the tub, so I couldn't catch it. I did tape plastic over that tile. We have an open plumbers crawl space under the house, obviously there is a hole under the broken tile that leads there. My brother Yan said on the phone it was probably a bull snake, would bite in defense if cornered or feeling threatened, but not poisonous at all. They eat their weight in rodents - so if it busts through the plastic, it's not SUCH an unwelcome guest - but I'm not going to encourage it to come back. I, being non-herpetophobic, would look on it as I would a gecko in South America, or a mongoose in colonial India. If you can find food, Brother Snake, you are welcome to it. I am unusual in that regard, however. Husband will be fixing the tile.
But I must say, I'd rather be cautious in lifting clothing from the floor because there might be a non-poisonous rodent-hunter in it, than checking my shoes in the morning for poisonous insects. There are worse uninvited houseguests we could have.
And hey, it gave my morning a more exotic Hemingway flavor than my life generally has!