Monday, November 26, 2007

Motherf********* Snakes on a Tree

I heard a thumping that sounded like someone breaking a window in the snake room. I went in, and Bette was in her cage. I tapped on the glass and I heard her heaving breath. She didn't bring her head over to the glass as she always did.

Something was wrong, but what?

Bette heaved herself around again, and her little branch smashed against the glass. Bette was stuck in her own tree branch. Wedged, hopelessly wedged. And snake things are strictly my own personal problem. Even one I'm very fond of, and especially Bette who is the biggest.

So, I get Bette's head in one hand and the tree branch in the other, and get her out into the room for a look. She's stuck, not bleeding, probably tired and scared. So I tried to pull her backwards, while holding onto her head and trying not to break her neck. She didn't think much of the idea.

"Bette" I reassured her, "I'll be right back" (You do realize snakes can't hear right?)

I came back with my supplies-one glove, one buck knife, the snake hook and a can of non alchol olive oil Pam. I was hoping she had freed herself while I was gone, but Bette was apparently hoping I'd come back and free her. So I grabbed her head again (but not like they do on TV with the poor jaws agape, I just held her tight enough so that she wouldn't turn and bite me I hoped) and I deployed the Pam Olive Spray (alcohol free).

Now I had a slippery, frightened, ten foot python stuck in a branch with a faint Italian smell. I tried the pulling thing again. No luck. So I steadied the branch, told Bette not to thrash and began to pry at the wet wood with my buck knife. I hacked away, trying to get wood and not snake. Remember, one hand is holding the snake, legs are holding the branch and I have one hand on the knife.

"Bette, I need two hands" she's going to have one to offer, right? "I know you hate bags, but I am going to bag your head so I can pry you free.".

Well, she hates bags so much when I bagged her head she started to back up-so I shook the bag around her head a little bit and out she popped-almost. Her head got stuck in the hole. So before either one of us could panic, I just gave a little tug and out popped her head-you could almost hear a cork in the soundtrack of my mind.

So now I have a frightened ten foot python who is probably light headed and disoriented loose in the room. Fortunately, snakes don't have much of a memory. I just tapped her with the hook like I always do and picked her up, checked her for cuts and put her back in her viv.

Sometimes the strangest things go thump in the night.


Anonymous said...

and where was the snake who runs the video camera during all this?

Debra Kay said...

I knew someone would ask, and I really did think about snapping a picture, but it didn't seem like the thing to do with Bette all trapped as she was.

Michele said...

You are a brave, brave woman.

Debra Kay said...

Not brave, just inventive. I really didn't want Bette to be hurt or frightened, she's a beloved pet.

Forever Young said...

i was totally enthralled by this story...and i read it to my husband too...he was amazed and aghast....this could make a damned decent little movie, with perhaps a more scarier ending....
amazing what we will do for those we you are truly a character, and i'm glad at this point that it's only our hairstyles that are similar!!!!

Debra Kay said...

It was a good life lesson. I knew even when it was happening it was also funny in an ugly sort of way. It also illustrates that we all need help no matter how powerful we are (Bette) and that sometimes there is no help to be had and we must use our wits (me).

Not all animals are as gracious when you try to help them. Another one that comes to mind was a Great Horned Owl I freed from a trap. Without his cooperation, we'd have both been hurt badly.