Friday afternoon the kids and I came back from a short outing, and I discovered the front door was ajar.  I had apparently locked the door from the inside and then not quite shut it all the way — happens every now and again, it’s a tricky door. 

    Mr. Boy bee-lined for the toilet while I unloaded little girls, but returned with pale face, quivering voice, and this report:  "There’s a snake in the bathroom."

    "Really?" I asked.


    I gave him charge of the baby, had all kids stay outside, and went to investigate.  Cracked open the bathroom door, and sure enough, there was a snake.  I took the same sensible action as my son — shut the bathroom door and went outside.

    Now I’m not fully terrified of snakes, but they give me the creeps.  Furthermore, they are wild animals, and I have a healthy respect for wild animals —  long and skinny, small and furry, all types.  Finally there was the sudden realization that I had absolutely no idea what to do with a snake in the house.  No idea how to catch one, no idea how to convince it to go outside.  What with being fresh out of snake biscuits.

    At Mr. Boy’s suggestion I called animal control.  They were amused, but don’t do snakes.  The friendly animal-control lady suggested I call an exterminator, or else get a hoe.   Time to phone the SuperHusband. 

     Our hero dashed out of work a few minutes early to come to our rescue.  He arrived, surveyed the scene, and, like his wife, had no idea how to catch a snake.  But he is way too cheap to call an exterminator, and couldn’t have the rest of us weren’t going to ride bikes in the driveway indefinitely. 

    His first challenge was finding the snake.  On opening the bathroom door it was not in sight, and after a careful shaking out of rugs and towels, he still didn’t see it.  He began to fear it had escaped the bathroom (despite my blocking up the door with a blanket and some bricks, per his phone instructions), but then caught a bit of movement out the corner of his eye — a very long, thin black snake draped over the windowsill and shower curtain rod.

    Too big to use the kid’s Little Tykes gardening tools to carry out.  He retreated and devised his snake-catching tool: A mop, turned upside down, with a bite of rope threaded through the hole at the end of the handle, and knotted on one end.

    He returned to the snake, putting the loop of rope in front of it.  As if this were the moment our visitor had been waiting for all along, the snake willingly slithered through the loop, and the SuperHusband pulled the rope tight once the head was through.

    Snake coiled itself around the mop handle, and SuperHusband brought the snake outside.  

    Next was the question of what to do with it.   I was charged with both getting pictures of the snake for identification purposes, and finding a container to transport the snake away from our home.  Lord of the Rings action figures were quickly evicted from their storage bin, and as I could not find the still camera I grabbed the video camera. 

    I shot the snake-u-mentary — baby in arms —  while the SuperHusband got the snake into the container.  Twice.  Then the SuperHusband found the still camera and took photos of his own.

    At the very useful, we determined that our guest was a black rat snake.  Also learned that the SuperHusband’s mop-based snake-catching tool is just what the herper-host at that site uses for his own snake-catching needs — though he uses a walking stick instead of a mop.

    Upon learning that that black rat snakes eat squirrels, Mr. Boy proposed training our catch to be his hunting partner.  Instead, the SuperHusband carried the snake down the block to some woods, and the snake was very happy to disappear under the leaves and be done with us. 

    The photos did turn out, but are still sitting in the camera’s memory card.  I’ll post them as soon as the SuperHusband gets them onto the computer.  Meanwhile I’ve got about a week before I have to send in my 2007-2008 curricula for the kids; I’m pretty sure Snake Identification is going to be one of our topics this year.