What do you do when you have a snake at your door step?
- First thing don’t let fear take over; use your presence of mind. Yes, snakes can be deadly and few may be venomous, but remember human beings are more superior beings than snakes!
- Next take a quick picture of the snake with your smart phone or at least a good look and do a google search and find out what kind of snake you are dealing with? If it’s a poisonous one, you may need to take more precaution!
- Thirdly, if possible contain or trap the snake and contact the snake removal services.
You may be thinking what qualifies me to give all the suggestions above? All the above seem almost impossible in the face of the snake! But that’s not true, I hate and fear all sorts of reptiles, let alone snakes, even a lizard creeps me out. But when a snake came knocking on our front door, I mean literarily on the front door, me and my husband followed the above steps and thankfully got rid of the snake from our property. I am sharing our experience to help others in the neighborhood who may have similar snake encounters!
One afternoon when I got back from work, I set my heavy purse down on the door mat and was just about unlocking the front door when I saw the snake coiled on the door mat right beside my purse. I freaked out, picked my purse, and ran inside through the garage door. I announced to others at home about the presence of the snake and not to open the front door. We ventured back slowly hoping the snake was gone, but finding it comfortable sitting by the front door, I quickly snapped a picture and googled the description: Brown and white diamond marked snake – it was a Diamond Back Rattle Snake! Becoming aware that it was a poisonous snake, I wanted it gone. I ran back in and started making noise by drumming on the door with a wooden spoon, hoping the snake would move away, but this made no difference.( Later read, snakes have no ears). What finally made this snake slither away was some water pressure from our garden hose. But this was not the end of our snake story.
Exactly three weeks later, the rattle snake crawled back one morning and sat in the same spot by our front door. By the size and type of snake and its sitting location, we assumed it was the same snake! This snake had started acting like our house pet, and we were not comfortable about just letting it go this time. No we had no plans to adopt a snake; nourish a rattler in our bosom; or grow a snake up our sleeve. We wanted it Gone. Gone. Gone.
This time we adopted a different plan. Trapping or containing the snake instead of just shooing it away to come back again! My husband trapped this snake under a plastic cake box; and to make sure the snake doesn’t just crawl off and escape, he kept a rock on top of the box. (Be careful while doing this process, our snake was small so it was more feasible. If you are trying to trap a bigger snake make sure you use a bucket or a plant pot and don’t get bitten in the process) Now that we had contained the snake. Our next step was removal.
Years ago we used to have a go-to-guy for any snakes in the neighborhood. Todd Lapittus , a Steiner resident and snake- guy who had this hobby to catch snakes and relocate them to the forest, helping both the snakes and the residents. Sadly he moved out of the neighborhood.
My next thought was probably the Travis County Animal Control department could help, but in conversation with the clerk, we found out snakes or possums and like, do not fall under their jurisdiction for removal. Then tried to call the Austin Zoo and the Snake Farm, but couldn’t connect since they were not open in the morning yet.
Lastly it struck me I just need to contact our neighborhood forums on Facebook and What’sApp groups and get their input on what they did in snake situations. Our friendly neighbors besides care and concerns about my situation, gave references of the snake services they have used to get the snakes removed from their home and garden.
Snake Removal contacts:
Ruthaan Panipinto: 512-439-9805
Rodney Reid: 512- 554 -6407
Ron Hornbaker: 650 -388-0220
Tim Cole: 512-837-6253
I called and texted and left messages on all the numbers but finally engaged the services of Ruthan Panipinto. She lives in the Four Points neighborhood area and hence was charging us a reasonable fee for relocating the snake.
Ruthan, a very friendly person arrived with the tools for taking away the snake and since the snake was already contained she got her job done in a few minutes. She congratulated us on containing the snake and thanked us for not killing it.
Meanwhile my curiosity was piqued about how she got into this business of being a snake catcher. She enthusiastically talked about how she had been fascinated with snakes as a young child in Long Island, NY, and how she found she had the ability to pick them up fast and fearlessly and bring them home much to the angst of her parents;) Later after moving to Texas, she trained with Tim Cole of Austin Reptile Service on proper handling of venomous snakes with the proper equipment and then acquired a license from the state of Texas for this job.
She also answered more of my questions and listed out some advice about snakes:
What are the typical snakes you see in Austin, Texas?
Diamondback rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and coral snakes.
It’s often told the small snakes are more poisonous and their bite is more deadly, is it true?
No, though the myth is young snakes don’t know how to control the amount of venom they can inject making their bite more fatalistic; the fact is the bite of older snake is more venomous.
And contrary to popular belief, snakes are not deadly to humans (unless the person has a medical condition or very young or elderly), but can administer a painful bite that requires immediate medical attention.
What precautions do we take to avoid snakes?
All species of snakes just want to be left alone to forage for prey and avoid any human or pet confrontations. As much as many people want to avoid them, snakes really do NOT want to run into us either!
-While working in your garden, its best to wear closed toe shoes like boots instead of flip flops and use leather or suede gloves.
– Prune your over hanging plants and bushes to prevent snakes to make a spot under them.
– Use darker mulch so lighter colored snakes are visible.
– Don’t keep firewood or such on ground level to avoid nooks to snakes.
– Keep bird feeders far from your house
– And lastly be cautious and pay attention to your surroundings.
Ruthan is available to help take the snake off your property on all day weekend, and between 2 to 10 on week days. And is open to any questions about snakes and snake control.
Besides having a quick list of go to contacts for snake removal, I ordered Snake Bgone and sprinkled it all over my yard and house and garden parameter to keep snakes off. There are many similar other brands in the market like snake away, snake stopper etc which can be used too. Do not know yet if it’s helping, but hoping I don’t have similar such snake encounters. Hope my experiences can help you prevent or prepare for similar situations.
-Birjis Rashed.(Your Neighbour)