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More excitement (that my nerves can't take) at my house.

I leave the cats out in the daytime, with the high up basement window open so they can get back in if something gets after them. Many times, they have brought their mice, chipmunks, voles, birds, frogs, and whatever back in to "play" with. I find their new toy, usually by hearing them and it thrashing around downstairs, go get it and throw it back out.

This time, I'd been gone most of the day, and went down to open the door and get them all in for the evening. Now, the room is sort of dark, you can see to get across it but no details. The light switch is by the outside door, and you have to walk across the floor in the dark to get to it. (This makes no sense to me, why was it done that way?)

Missy runs in and goes to sniffing at something on the floor by the hallway where I just walked. I go back over to where she is and bend down to see what has her interest.

NO. NO. NO. My eyes see it, but my mind will not accept what I see. No. Not in MY house. NO.

I get to the light switch and turn it on. By now I am shaking, heartrate is through the roof, and I am gasping "OMG!" over and over. A few seconds of pure panic, then I realize I have to get this thing out of here.

Getting the long tongs I keep to get their other little playmates out with, I gingerly reach down and pick it up. It is about a foot long, has the hourglass splotches and its tail is still yellow. (This is how it is identified as a baby copperhead on the website I checked.)

I am trying to maintain my cool, and not panic any worse.

Looking at it again, I see the cats have chewed its head off, so it is dead, but still moving.

Take it and put it in a bucket, just to be sure, and try to start breathing again. Took bucket outside and dumped it out, came back inside and tried to regain my composure.

Cats can't go outside now unless I have time to go out and sit with them, or, if they do go out, I am trying to get them to go and come at the front door so I can inspect them.

If they had not bitten its head off, I would have been bitten, probably twice. I am on pins and needles every time I go down to the basement now. Always wondering if there is another one down there. I have so much junk piled up there could be a thousand snakes hiding. At least it has turned real cold, and if there is another one, they have got to be slowed down on the ice cold concrete floor. I hope.

There is a large pile of old wood and debris up in the back yard that needs to be burned. I betcha there are millions of them in there.

Anyhow, that's how things went the other day. What will happen next? "Only the Shadow Knows."
 

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It's probably too cold today to get any copperheads outside, but I would be wary of one in the basement. If you really think there might be more in the basement, you can get sticky traps for snakes - although they might be hard to find this time of year. With a baby, there are probably many more around but you don't know how far your cats traveled to get to them. With it so cold it might be safe to check the wood pile tonight.

When I grew up we did the same thing, left a window open for the cat to come in/out. We had a few birds, mice, rats, chipmunks & such brought in as toys - but it all ended once a snake was brought in - fortunately not poisonous though.

Dawn
 

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I strongly recommend hanging a flashlight somewhere handy so that you don't have to go thru that again.
 

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I see a garter snake, and my heart almost stops. I can't stand any type of snake. I remember when I was a kid and we were visiting my grandparents in Virginia and went fishing at the pond one afternoon. I was fishing and a cotton mouth swam right up next to me and put his head on a rock. My father picked up another rock, threw it, and crushed it's head. Then, there was the time I chased a 6 foot black snake around the back yard with a lawn mower, but that's a story for another day. I hate snakes.
 

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I would 'strongly' recommend that you get someone to rewire the light switch
a bit closer to where you are going into the basement; rather than clear across
the other side of the room!!! A 3-way would be perfect.


At least THIS WAY, you'll be able to see what's about to bite you!!!
 

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We had a timber rattler on our porch the first summer we lived here, that almost made me fall out. Basement would have done me in for sure.....for Christmas that year DH got a pair of snake tongs and the instructions on how to use them.

I watched a PBS documentary last night on a woman in Africa who rescues black mambas after they get in people's homes. Black mambas can reach 13 ft long and lift a third of their bodies upright -SO THEY CAN RAISE UP AND LOOK YOU IN THE EYE! She and her husband use tongs to catch these snakes, then they release them in a preserve they caretake. They have started implanting chips in some snakes to learn more about their habits, mamba bites are almost always fatal and no one knows much about them so they're doing wonderful work.....brave souls!
 

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Where do you live? baby snake this time of year probably means it is was born in a warm protected area! You can purchase those tap on lights for hardly anything. I suggest you get some and not cross the basement floor in the dark again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks yall for the replies. My neighbor is an electrician, and I've told him I have a ton of electrical work at my house for him--IF he can ever get a free moment.

I stuffed some paper and plastic bags tightly under the outside door, just in case. I don't think one could get under it, but just for peace of mind, y'know. I need a new steel door and a good close fitting storm door for the basement, but the list of needs for this place is a mile long and growing.

More than likely one of my hunter/killers found a new toy up in the woods. There are many, many places on my acre plus around on the neighbors places where ideal snake conditions exist.

Makes me shiver. This is why I am so adamant about weedeating and keeping junk away from the foundation of the house.

The basement is on the bucket list to be cleaned out and gutted. The old bathroom taken out, the old furnace, and all the rotten wood from the many leaks over the years. I've told the guy I want it done, its just that everyone is so busy with the big jobs that they can't find the time for mine. If I didn't want any work done, they'd all be sitting home broke.

I keep telling myself that if any more are down there, they will either get killed by the cats (if the little boogers don't bring them upstairs--then, we've got a whole new ballgame!), starve, or freeze.

Say, Oggie, I could use some Jack Russells about now, you have any friends?
 

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Like when I found a Massasauga rattlesnake hibernating in the basement.......
 

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A copperhead a foot long isn't that young of a baby... A juvenile can have a yellow tail up until they are 3 or 4 years old..
 

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Yup, you definitely need to solve you lighting problem. I'm surprised you don't have a snake-bit cat. They're not exactly mongooses you know.

I hit a ball of 3 1' copperheads with my weedeater about a month ago. They came flying. What fun!
 
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