Snakes in a Barn

Living in the country has its surprises.

Imagine this: You're putting batteries in the new remote when you realize you need a small screwdriver to access them. So out to the barn you go, walking up to the bench that holds your toolbox. As you slide the bottom drawer of the box inward your knuckles drag over something soft and bumpy. As you casually look down, a tidal wave of intense fear rolls through your body as you stand within 2 feet of thick, long, slithery snake. At the moment this happened to me last summer, the first thought that hit my brain was: Does my insurance cover reptile induced heart attacks?

The answer was yes, but thankfully my heart did manage to keep beating. I am not scared of snakes...or so I tell myself and others. The fact is when your thinking screwdriver and looking snake....you will be scared. After carefully capturing the snake, I went on-line and identified my find to be a four foot long Yellow Rat Snake. By this time the 12 year old boy inside of me had taken over and I was pulling out the wood to build a new state of the art rat snake habitat. Time now to pass along another lesson learned. ALWAYS talk to your wife before doing anything that involves any live animal and the property you live on.

After telling Tara about our new "child", she quickly rounded up my neighbor, Mac, who is as anti-snake as a person can possibly be. Within 15 minutes Mac and Tara were standing outside the barn with flaming torches, as they doused the walls with gasoline. Frankenstein has nothing on a non-venomous rat snake.

Somehow through much negotiating and material loses on my side... I convinced them to let me keep the snake, provided a top of the line locking system was installed on the cage. Several months went by with no incidents involving the snake. He was eating well and even shed his skin. I was feeling uncomfortable, however, with having put him in captivity. So after only a few months, the 40 year old man inside of me decided to let the snake go.

To this day, Tara thinks I took the snake to another county and set it free. The fact is that Yellow Rat Snake is living right where he has his whole life...in the barn in our back yard, waiting to again push my heart to its limit one day soon.

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