Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Downside of Florida: Snakes and Heat

 Five days ago, my air-conditioning unit died. The urgency to obtain a new system is a matter of life and death, but, the soonest it could be replaced was today. My hair has not been dry for five days, my skin feels like it is going through jungle rot, and my poor cats are lying like dead boards on glass surfaces giving me hateful looks.

As if I wasn't already fatally irritable, my neighbor knocked on my door and told me a SNAKE was trying to get in my car?!!!!! Yes, a S.N.A.K.E. A real snake.

I ran downstairs and he reluctantly joined me, reminding me that I didn't bring anything to kill him with. The thought was as alien to me as killing a baby. Why would I kill him, even though it's a snake?

So, he's filling me in on the details, how the snake was crawling up my tires and entering my car. He was concerned because earlier last week a guy had an accident when a snake appeared in his car. Makes sense. If you don't have a heart attack, an accident is a probable event.

When I got to my car, the snake was back on the ground, by the rear tire. In my mind, I was imagining a python, since invasive killer pythons are taking over the Everglades. People had them as pets, and when they grew too big, let them go in the Glades. They mated with indigenous species to produce a monstrously menacing new python population.

My cousins in Boca opened their garage to find to huge pythons standing straight up in defensive stance. I'm sorry, but, I would have never gone back to that house again.

The snake by my car was no python, but, there are poisonous snakes that live by the water, and I live on a canal. I grabbed a towel from my car and threw it over the critter, with the intent on moving him back to the canal, but, the thing broke apart!

Like lizards, when threatened, it turns out that some snakes shed their tails. What was mind-boggling was that when it broke off, it had moving cells, and flopped around like a fish out of water. It scared me to death until I realized what was happening.

I tried to tell the snake that I was trying to save him, not kill him, but, obviously the poor creature was more scared of me than I was of him, and I can't begin to describe the adrenalin shooting through my veins. I picked him up again, and another piece of tail popped off, flopping around in a grotesque charade. I both marvelled at nature's defense maneuvers and cringed at the weirdness.

That little guy lost literally half his size, shedding segments every time I grabbed him. What astounded me was how strong he was. I could not get a grip on him, and my neighbor was just standing there trying to be a man, but, obviously scared of the snake.

I finally got him to a grassy knoll area near the canal, and I felt sorry for the little snake. He seemed so traumatized.

I couldn't shake the cringe-worthy repulsion of touching and seeing this creature fall apart before my eyes.

The only thing worse than keeping a snake out of your car and trying to save it's life is going back upstairs to a home with no air-conditioner, and the thermostat was up to 95.

It's been a rotten five days.

No comments: