Even if I didn’t notice a bunch of snakes in the house, I guarantee my wife, Marianne, would. I also guarantee the neighbors for miles around would be alerted to her discovery the moment she made it.
That’s why I find it hard to believe gangs of snakes, and by ‘gangs,’ I mean umpteen zillion or so, set up residence in a house and none of the folks living there noticed right off. Apparently, it happens.
I never heard of this before, but there is such a thing as snake infestations. A snake infestation is when someone’s house becomes the Club Med for snakes. Guy and girl snakes gather from all around to mingle, swill comically named drinks by the pool and, to coin a word from the Bible, ‘beget’ other snakes. Okay, I lied about the drinks and pool, but they do congregate, and they do a powerful lot of begetting. We are talking begetting on the scale (excuse the pun) of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Once all the begetting is done the male snakes make a bunch of flimsy excuses and glide off to parts unknown. Snickering under their breathe, they leave behind truckloads of unwed mother snakes who immediately get down to the business of laying eggs. And lay them they do. A favorite nesting spot is between the walls of the house. They like attics and basements, too. Crawl spaces are nesting Nirvana.
The mothers stay with their eggs (the younger, naive ones wistfully looking forward to the day Mister Wonderful makes good on his promise to return). Fast forward a few months: they are still alone and saddled with a bunch of squirming kids.
With armies of mom and baby snakes emerging on the scene, even the least observant homeowner starts to notice subtle hints that all may not be well. Strange noises emanate from inside the walls or up in the attic. Snake funk, only the homeowner doesn’t know it is snake funk yet, wafts through areas of the house curling the toes and gagging all who inhale it. The water from the faucet tastes “funny” as a result of various and sundry snake excretions mingling with the water supply.
Note to reader: I don’t know what type liquids a snake excretes, and I could happily go a lifetime without finding out, but whatever it is, if I learned I had been drinking it I am fairly certain I would never revive from my catatonic stupor. If ever I did re-awaken, children of mouth wash manufacturers would have their college tuition paid solely on the proceeds of my purchases.
Eventually, the actual snakes make themselves known to the homeowners.
“Honey?” a homeowner will say, squinting out the window, “Is it me or is the front yard squirming?”
Of course, there is eventually the in-house snake encounter.
Safety tip for husbands based on personal experience: In the event you spot a snake in the house, do not – repeat – do not announce this discovery to your wife. In the event you do let on that there is a snake in the house, immediately cling to the nearest doorway lest you be swept up in the vortex swirling behind her as she exits the premises.
Once snakes make their presence known inside the house, many homeowners abandon the place. Some homeowners go the expense of hiring exterminators only to be told the snakes will just come back again next year. It is simply easier and cheaper to sign the deed over to the snakes and get the heck out of Dodge.
I read where one couple actually sued a realty company for two million dollars, because the realtor did not tell them black rat snakes, some seven feet long, came as a package deal when they bought the house. Another family abandoned their house and eventually filed for bankruptcy over a garter snake infestation. A man in Florida discovered a twenty-something foot python that had been living under his house for more than a decade. Granted one snake does not technically an infestation make, but a twenty-plus foot python is one python too many in my book and an infestation of one it is.
Living in rural America, Marianne and I have a snake or three living around our place. It’s not a big deal. We even experienced a snake hatch in the bushes in front of our house once. For about a week we found little ring neck snakes lounging in clusters all around our driveway and under our carport. They are harmless little critters, so we shooed them off lest they be run over and warned them to stay away from the chickens.
I did find one little guy lounging on our back porch steps a few inches from the door one morning.
“Don’t get any ideas,” I told him as I stepped over him and closed the door.