Enough is enough! I’ve had it with these motherf’n snakes in all these motherf’n places!
Sorry to go all Samuel L. Jackson on you guys, but wow! Is it just me or has the world pretty much turned into a nonstop horror show of limbless, scaly elongate reptiles popping up in all sorts of places they don’t belong? It’s getting pretty unnerving, and I don’t even have an especially intense fear of snakes.
I would characterize my usual feelings towards slithering serpents as a “healthy respect,” and as long as they keep a safe distance and mind their own business, generally, we’re cool.
Rats, on the other hand, will send me into hysterics, screaming and scrambling onto counter tops, coffee tables, bathroom sinks or any available place of refuge, possibly even throwing my own children in front of me so the hell-spawned little rodents can eat them first.
I know many people consider them fairly harmless, but I’ve never met a rat who wasn’t out to get me.
Their beady little demon eyes stare straight into my soul as they plot to scamper across my bare skin with their pointy claws, sinking their razor-sharp teeth into my tender flesh over and over again, purposely infecting me with bubonic plague and Hantavirus.
Snakes, however? Meh. I’m not going to pull a Jeff Corwin and stalk a black mamba across the African savanna just so I can hold it in my arms and lovingly caress it while gleefully – nay, orgasmically – citing its impressive human fatality statistics, but I usually do a pretty decent job of keeping my cool when I encounter the random snake in the wild.
We are avid hikers in my family and over the years I’ve become pretty adept at spotting snakes. On average I would say we probably cross paths with about three or four a year. We have certainly met our share of venomous critters, including a copperhead I nearly stepped on in Cloudland Canyon in Georgia in 2012, a rattlesnake that slithered across our paths last October at Little River Canyon in Northeast Alabama, and numerous cottonmouths we’ve encountered through the years, in Mobile and all across the South.
However, the vast majority of the snakes we spot are harmless, and my strong and brave beefcake of a husband is utterly terrified of them all. I have no choice but to keep it together enough to quickly move my children to safety before their father snatches one of them up to use as a weapon, and perhaps administer mouth-to-mouth each time he goes into cardiac arrest.
Generally it’s my job to spot any snake in our vicinity and quickly lead my family out of its path before they even know it’s there. It is an important job requiring great courage, focus and, well, ninja-like senses and reflexes. Normally I’m up for the challenge, but as we prepare to head north to Little River Canyon this weekend for our first camping/hiking trip since spring, my confidence feels a little shaky.
It all started back in July, when a Hueytown, Alabama construction worker made national news after he rudely barged into a workplace bathroom stall without knocking and caught the current occupant taking care of his business, assuming said business involves finding a pot to hiss in (rimshot!). A large snake was coiled and lurking inside the toilet bowl, presumably waiting for the chance to quite literally scare the crap out of someone.
The snake, which responding authorities later identified as a highly venomous cottonmouth, was captured by a brave female cop who was able to grab it by the mouth and snatch it up while two male officers and numerous construction workers huddled in a corner weeping.
If you’re like me and tend to stumble to the bathroom at 2 a.m. and plop down without even turning on a light, you’ll probably found this story absolutely horrifying. You’ll be super happy to know this sort of horror show isn’t especially rare. There are regular reports of snakes found in toilets all across the world, and apparently they can slither right up the pipes. I also learned the only animal more famous for lurking in toilets is the rat, which has me seriously considering the possibility of a voluntary catheter and colostomy bag.
In another terrifying snake story in the news recently, in August a chef in China was killed while preparing a soup containing a fresh Indochinese spitting cobra, which is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. As he was cleaning up 20 minutes after chopping up the snake’s body, the discarded head bit him as he was throwing it in the trash. Startled diners heard the man’s agonizing screams coming from the kitchen but unfortunately he died before medical help arrived.
If you’re into mutilating snakes, for reasons culinary or otherwise, you should probably be aware that severed snake heads can still bite for up to an hour after decapitation. I dare you not to picture dozens of decapitated snake heads snapping at you next time you reach into your trash can. You’re welcome.
Then there was the recent news that an albino cobra – yes, a COBRA! – was on the loose in a Los Angeles suburb. Authorities were warning residents to watch their children closely and keep pets indoors until the extremely deadly snake was found. Can you even imagine how scary that must have been?
The snake was captured Sept. 4 with its fangs fully intact and ready to kill. Authorities suspect the Asian snake was purchased on the black market and was being illegally kept as a pet by the stupidest person in California, who apparently somehow allowed it to escape.
I am now plagued with nightmares of severed albino cobra heads snapping at me from inside my toilet. I’m probably going to regret saying this, but after this summer I’d probably rather encounter a rat on the trails.