So, as you could tell from Katrina’s last post, The Bee Lifeguard, I’m a bit of a bleeding heart when it comes to all living creatures. I can not just stand by and watch suffering, no matter how big or small. Boy, oh boy was I put to the test yesterday!
I have agreed to water a friends garden while she’s out of town this week. Yesterday my son and I headed over there in the later afternoon. She’s having some construction done on the property , but by the time we got there everyone had left for the day. I sat my son up to pick some plums and went into the garden to get started.
My friend uses a plastic netting mesh to protect her strawberries from the birds.It’s in this netting that I find her. A knotted mangled mess! It’s a gopher snake…
I thought for sure she was dead. By the way I’m calling it a “her” because that’s what I decided, but I’m not sure if it’s male or female. The upper half of her body was sticking out on one side of the net and the lower half out the other side. I looked at her face and she wasn’t moving so I decided she was dead. I wasn’t going to take care of a dead snake, so I made a mental note to text my friend and ask her to ask the construction guys to take care of it tomorrow.
I started watering, but the dead snake was nagging at me. I thought, I have to make sure it’s really dead, poke it or something. So, I let the water run and went back over and gave her a little poke.
Holy Heck, she’s ALIVE!
Oh no! What am I going to do now??? No scissors, no cell service, nothing, I have nothing!
First, make sure it really is just a gopher snake and not a rattlesnake. Check, just a gopher snake.
Next, find something to cut the netting. I find some pruning shears but they are way too dull to cut effectively. Then I think, maybe my car keys, but I don’t think the ripping and pulling would be good. At the largest point on her body the netting is so tight it’s digging into her skin. Then I think, maybe I have scissors in my car. Yes, I’m a mom and there is a good possibility of this. You always need tape and scissors for those last minute birthday party gifts. So, I head over to my car and tear it apart. No scissors, but I do have nail clippers. NAIL CLIPPERS! I can’t possibly do this with nail clippers, but it’s all I have.
Back to the garden I go armed with my nail clippers.
It looked daunting and impossible. It was such a mess and I didn’t want her to get more agitated and tangle herself further. I peered into the heart of the mess and found that she was caught in two separate areas of her body. I slowly peeled back the netting and started clipping. The clippers got duller and duller as I clipped. I kept thinking, maybe I could find a neighbor and get some scissors, but the house sits on a piece of property with no immediate neighbors close by. I couldn’t call anyone either because I had no cell service out there. What if I hurt her more? I’m not a professional snake rescuer! All these things poured into my mind as I worked away. I paused often to get my composure and reassess the situation. When I got to the actual netting digging into her skin I was so worried I would accidentally cut her. I had to remind myself that if I could clip a babies fingernails then I could clip this netting off a snake.
She would wiggle and get further into the netting occasionally. I would talk to and “shh” her until she stopped moving. She was so distraught she was trying to bury her head in the dirt. It broke my heart.
After about an hour I finally clipped the last piece of netting and she was free. I was flooded with relief and I’m sure she was too.
I let her rest for a bit and decided to move her out of the garden and into some bushes.
She let me pick her up and I carefully brought her to a bush and let her go.