My oldest son was looking for a small piece of obsidian rock to top a small rock cairn we have under the carport. My husband collected rocks and we have rocks ranging from small shards to big hunks. They are scattered out — workroom, back yard, front yard, in and on top of a carport cabinet.
When he opened one door to the carport cabinet, a big, old leather briefcase was on a shelf. He took it out, revealing behind it a curled up big black snake zigzagged with kind of tannish-yellow markings. He quickly took a photo with his phone and shut the door.
Then he said his brother who lived nearby would want to see the snake so he called him. I felt like just looking at the photo was close enough.
This was Sunday morning. We remembered the newspaper had published a long article about and photos of snakes a few days earlier. I found the paper and there on the sports page was the weekly outdoors article by our local writer, Mike Newell, headlined, “Snakes having a good year so far.”
In the first paragraph he said that he had lost count over the last couple weeks of people sending him pictures of big snakes, sometimes poisonous, that showed up at their homes.
He reported that of the 53 species of snakes found in the Sooner state, only seven are poisonous. There was a photo of a copperhead at the bottom of the page. The story was continued to the next page with another photo of the copperhead and five of the six other poisonous snakes in Oklahoma: water moccasin and timber, western diamondback, prairie and western massasauga rattlesnakes. The one not pictured is the pygmy rattlesnake. The photos were small — about 1½ x 3/4 inches but I thought our snake most closely resembled the timber rattlesnake. But we wondered how a timber snake would find its way into a carport cabinet.
Poisonous or not, I definitely did not want a snake in the carport cabinet, or anywhere else on my property. My son called City Animal Welfare and they said they would send someone out to remove it after lunch.
After several hours, the snake remover hadn’t arrived, so my sons went home. I was watching TV later when I glanced out the window, saw two men under the carport and the doorbell rang. I hurried to answer. My son was there and told me the city animal welfare officer had called him that he was on his way. He said he had had a lot of pickup calls that day.
I watched from the inside entry, with the door tightly shut, while the city officer efficiently removed the snake to a box with a lid. “Ooh, this is a big one,” he said, about 4½ to 5 feet long. He didn’t know what kind it was. He was very friendly — the catcher not the snake. He and my son had a cheerful visit and laughed a lot. Snake stories, I figured.
I was glad to hear the snake would be taken out of town and released. I was glad it would be freed but I definitely had a “Not in my back yard!” attitude. And also, “Not in my front yard!” and “Not in my carport cabinet!” either.
Mary McClure lives in Lawton and writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.