My whole life, one animal has been my constant Achille's heel. Mice? No problem. Rats? I had them as pets. Try again. Spiders? Nothing a well-placed shoe can't take care of. June bugs? Getting closer. More about those prehistoric nightmares later in the summer. But the one creature that instantly makes me want to vomit, wet my pants, and run away screaming all at the same time is a miserable, slithery snake. Just thinking of it made my stomach roll.
Yes, I understand snakes are a valuable part of the ecosystem, and they are vital to controlling rodent populations. The environmentalist in me recognizes this fact; however, the irrational human being deep inside me that pictures all snakes coiling up like springs and launching themselves at her says I don't care. As long as I don't see them or know they are around, we can happily coexist. The second one slithers into view, all I can think is "burn it! Burn it with fire!"
My intense hatred for all things serpentine clashed with my desire to be outdoors alone in an ugly fashion when I checked my crawdad trap recently. There, woven into the netting like a watery nightmare, was a snake. Now, I have no idea how to tell apart venomous snakes from nonvenomous snakes and frankly, anything with a forked tongue may as well be a copperhead snake, because I run away with the same gusto no matter what. But running away wasn't an option because, as usual, I was flying solo and there was no one within a reasonable driving distance to come help me.
The battle was quick but intense. There was no way the snake was going to be able to be removed humanely from the trap; edema had set in and I could see there was no way I could pull it free from the netting. Faced with the realization that I was going to have to put the snake down, I scrounged around the closest shed, found a pair of old garden pruners, pinned down the snake's head, and used my fillet knife to finish the job. And then I ran away.
Once the urge to dry heave stopped, I surveyed my work. The decapitated snake surveyed me right back. It continued to snap and strike in my general direction for far longer than I believe is natural, which confirms that all snakes are evil incarnate. But as I pulled the body from my trap and instantly flung it down the bank, I felt a feeling of accomplishment. With my big girl britches hiked high, I rebaited my trap, tossed it in the water, and gave a ridiculously wide berth around snake parts A and B on my way to less terrifying fishing waters.