The Imposter

Last Thursday I noticed a piece of heavy black plastic hanging down from under the siding along the back of our house. Just 6 or 7 inches long and maybe 2-3 inches at the widest, like it fell or was pushed out from under the siding. “What the heck,” I said to myself, and pushed the plastic back up under the siding. Maybe it was mice. I’d better toss some bait in the crawl space this week.

On Saturday I was walking along with a dog on a leash and this brown head pops out from under the siding and peers at me: Oval, 1ΒΌ” long, color of milk chocolate, soul-less black eyes, flicking a forked tongue.

“What the hay fork is this?” I yelled. We stood there staring at one another for a few moments, me trying to decide if I should grab the thing and yank it out of there. Not knowing what it is, that might end badly. Before I could decide, it ducked back up under the siding.

I slept fitfully last night, envisioning going out at 4:30 to turn on the coffee maker, in the dark, and stepping on a snake. I mean, if mice can get into the house around the plumbing through the floor (and they do occasionally) so could a snake. And I don’t have any snake poison to deal with that possibility.

As I finished up with the mid-day dog play session and Sarah Sue Tinyshep and I were heading for the back door, a snake was crawling down from that spot in the back of the house. About 4 feet long. It flumped onto the ground and it had the familiar two-tone pattern of a copperhead. I hurriedly took Sarah out of the way and confined her. I grabbed the poop scraper I use in the kennels – which is not as long as I’d like and not nearly sturdy as something like a shovel, but it was all I had on hand. By this time it was trying to crawl back up the foundation.

snake climbing a wall
Not my snake, not my wall, but you get the idea.

It amazes me how well snakes can grab onto stone, brick, stucco, with their belly plates and climb a vertical surface.

I nailed it just behind the head with my pooper scraper and pushed as hard as I dared without buckling the light weight handle.

A mighty battle ensued.

As it struggled, it was opening it’s mouth and I could clearly see the lack of fangs.

Chocolate colored head not copper, and oval not triangular. No fangs.

This is some sort of imposter snake. Maybe a corn snake, although they are more reddish than this. A yellow bellied king snake looks similar to a copperhead too.

It was still struggling, wrapping itself around my scraper blade trying to … well, I don’t know what it was trying to do. But I decided to use the scraper as a trebuchet and launched it about 50 feet up into the woods. Maybe it will survive. If it does, hopefully it will go hunting elsewhere. If it doesn’t — well, it should not have come slithering around my home in its copperhead pajamas, pretending to imperil me, my wife, our dogs.

It was probably eating mice that were staging for an assault on our home (it IS fall, they do that as winter comes on), so I feel kinda bad about that. But … stepping on a snake in the dark. Nah, not taking that chance.

Author: Doug

I've been a wordsmith since the 1970s. Mostly for print magazine and newspapers, but I do have a few books, and now gazillions of web site articles.

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