Greta killed a scorpion at my friend house, therefore, I’m going to blame this whole thing on her.
So you need a little back story? Sure. Let’s start with some critters and a feed box (a large wooden box used to store feed and sawdust for said critters).
While feeding the cute chickens and petting the bunnies that co-habitate with the chickens, I noticed that one bunny, who normally comes up and greets me when I stop to visit, sitting on top of one of the chicken hutches.
“Aw,” I thought, “This little fella is really looking forward to seeing me today!”
As I moved closer to him though, I saw something striped moving along the wall of the coop…something that was NOT a lizard (that’s what i totally thought it was at first).
Oh no, my friends. As friendly as that bunny is, his actions had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the BULL SNAKE who was skeee-daddling off through the fence. I reached down and grabbed his tail so I could…well, I’m not sure WHAT I was going to do with him, but I did NOT want him to think that stalking bunnies on MY watch was acceptable! He hissed and spit and fa-REAKED out, so I thought it would be wise to let him go. (sometimes, i use my head. not quite often enough, but it does occasionally happen)
As he slid through the fence and under the feed box just outside the coop, he looked a little like this:
This guy was sneaking through the chicken coop.
So I fed/watered/petted/collected eggs and thought I should make this visitor know without a doubt that he was NOT welcome and that it was NOT ok to harass bunnies and chickens and their care takers. I walked around to the front of the feed box which is about four feet long, three feet tall with a solid lid across the top and VERY well-built (which means it’s HEAVY!)
I leaned against it, grabbed the top with one hand and the back with the other and tried to pull it forward. Because it was so heavy, I only rolled it forward a few inches and let it fall back into place. Realizing I needed more leverage, I placed my flip-flop clad foot against one of the large rocks resting next to the feed box and heaved the box toward me. I held the box on its edge as I peered underneath the box, and found Senior Bull Snake with his friend, Senior Westie. Like, 12 inches from my bare foot, there was this guy:
Western Diamonback Rattlesnake, (aka “Senior Westie”)
Oh yeah. Totally for reals and everything. He was all watching Senior Bull Snake get all up in his happy little space, so he wasn’t watching me in my flip-flopped feet messing with his crib, yo.
Holy crap. (that’s pretty much all that went through my mind as i gently set the box back down)
That phrase floated around in my head until I took a breath and had this little conversation with myself:
Me: “what the heck! why is there a rattlesnake under there?”
Myself: “i know! there are dogs and kids and chickens and trucks and people and DOGS and stuff all over the place!”
Me: “dang,what am i gonna do?”
Myself: “let’s look at our options here. one. we could just leave him here. maybe he’ll be gone when we get back.”
Me: “uh, no. he could be ANYWHERE when we get back. plus, there are bunnies and chickens and people to worry about!”
Myself: “right. ok. two. we tip over the box and throw rocks at it and scare it away”
Me: “really? throw rocks and scare it away, only have a MAD rattlesnake hang around biding it’s time and…”
Myself: “OK! OK! i get it! the only option left is to kill it. ourselves. with something we can find around here.”
Me: *pause* “alright. that’s an option.” *another pause* ”but only if we can find a flat-head shovel.”
Killing things is not what I normally do. Especially wild things (i let bees and flies go outa my house. i swerve around snakes, skunks, and squirrels when i drive), but when the wild things come into my territory, like in where we live, it’s a different scenario for me. Mulling this over, I went back to the house, found a flat head shovel, and back to the chicken coop.
I did wish I had worn tennis shoes, but that was a fleeting thought as I stepped up next to The Box of Death. (ok, on a side note? 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten per year by rattlesnakes in Northern America with only about 5 deaths, but whatevs. it was a box of death at the time. greta killed a scorpion in it, remember?)
Setting the shovel next to me, I pried up the box again, seeing that the snakes were still eyeing each other. I leaned over to pick up a rock to throw at the other snake, when out from underneath it popped a scorpion and this funky *big* black spider!!!! (after telling my mom this story, she told me to go home and not do anything else that day – luck was NOT in my corner today!) I threw the rock, killed the scorpion and spider and watched as Senior Westie quickly turned his slithery glaze toward me.
Using the Bill Method*, I was able to “take care of” the snake, separate the head, body, and rattle (us homeschoolers will NEVER waste something as valuable as a snake rattle), and dispose of everything properly (snake fangs can retain their poison for up to 10 years!)
I have to admit that I was shaking a little as I took care of everything and looked around for Senior Bull Snake (who had taken off like a BOLT when he witnessed what I could do with that shovel!), and had to take a nice deep breath or two before I could put everything away.
Now, I am not one to waste a perfectly good bit of anything, and there was about four and a half feet of snake that needed to get taken care of, so on a whim, I sliced and skinned that big ‘ol thing and texted my husband to ask how he would feel about having rattlesnake burritos for dinner. Since drinking ants and eating horse for over a year while living in Brazil, he’s pretty much open to eating anything (including grasshopper cookies offered by a fellow church-goer), so the result is this:
I cooked that bad boy right up and we all ate him right down. Mr. B was a little upset after dinner when I told him what he had eaten, but he quickly went from disappointment to delight as he realized how cool it was that he had eaten a rattlesnake. Not many people can claim THAT at eight years old, now can they?
Now, Greta killed a scorpion and I killed a snake. I had to outdo her, can you now see how this was all her fault???
*the Bill Method is a specific method of rendering a snake immobile and therefore allowing for a chance to get close enough to chop off its head before it realizes what you are doing and slices its fangs full of poison into your flesh. I’m pretty sure it’s a one-of-a-kind technique.