How Not to Rescue a Baby Snake

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a gopher snake

A gopher snake - Image Credits: NatureMapping Animal Facts

Supah Random Time

I recently moved a baby snake from my parking garage. I did it for two reasons: (1) Save the baby! (2) Play with a snake!

I then did something much more random. I wrote up a detailed email about the mini-adventure, and I sent it to my apartment’s building manager…because why not? Actually, there’s a good reason to not do this: it’s weird. Then again, I don’t do this type of writing very often, so it was fun. Below, you can find a relevant YouTube video. Below that, you can find an slightly edited version (emphasis added) of the email I sent to a stranger.

The Email

Hi [Apartment Management],

If you are busy, don’t bother reading this email now. There is no urgency. This is just an “FYI” sort of thing.

I feel obligated to let you know that I removed a small snake from the parking garage at [address]. I threw it outside about 100 feet from the building.

I probably looked rather ridiculous during the whole situation. If someone alerts you to “suspicious activity” involving a short Asian man with glasses, black jacket, black gloves, brown backpack, red tennis racquet, and plain cardboard box…well…that was me.

I was walking to my car on [floor number] when I noticed the baby snake. It looked harmless, but it was hanging out in the middle of the floor, where cars were likely to run over it. In fact, I was likely to run over it. This motivated me to move it. [ Ed. note: wow that was a dry paragraph :( ]

I went back to my apartment to gather some supplies. I put on a pair of batting gloves. I then put on a pair of tactical gloves over the batting gloves (I was not a soldier or a cop; I was given tactical gloves when interning for the Navy; they wanted the interns to move some warehouse crap so they gave us nifty SWAT gloves to make us feel special).

I proceeded to “arm” myself with a tennis racquet and a small cardboard box. I felt quite safe…until I finally approached the snake and it started lashing out. I hope there are no security cameras that captured my fear on tape.

I began circling the snake, and I was unpleasantly surprised that its eyes/head followed my feet rather than following the racquet or the cardboard box. It seemed to know that my tools were not vulnerable. It seemed to know my feet were actually part of my body. Luckily, it had no way of knowing my feet were armored by some decently tough boots.

After I ran around the snake a few times, it probably got dizzy because I was able to finally get behind it without its head tracking me. I slowly moved my box and racquet closer to him. With the type of bravery often associated with stupidity, I swatted the snake into the box. I was really quite proud of myself at that point.

But of course there was a plot twist. I walked over to the garage gate, but I guess its sensors are designed to discriminate against non-machines because it would not open for me the same way it opens for my car. I went back to my car, which was still resting in its parking spot. I hit the garage opener button inside the car. Nothing happened, so I considered driving my car closer to the garage gates.

That would require leaving my snake box on the floor or bringing the snake box into the car with me. I didn’t want to create a “suspicious package” situation, so option #1 was out of the question. I had no way of keeping the box shut other than holding it closed with my hands, so removing my hands from the box to drive seemed like a bad idea. That’s how option #2 vanished.

I ventured into a stairwell to find an exit. To my dismay, I ended up at an exit door that recommended I do not disturb it lest it disturb the rest of the building with an emergency alarm. Faced with the facts, I had to use the elevator to go down to the lobby. By the way, is there a way to get to the lobby via stairs? Maybe I missed a door.

I finally made it outside. I walked down the road to get to the spot where [street #1] and [street #2] split (or merge, depending on your mood). I walked about 10 feet up [a hill]. It was here that I decided to open the box and drop the snake. It was here that I probably looked the most suspicious (and awkward). I made a motion similar to tossing water out of a bucket, but no snake was ejected from the box. I’m sure nearby drivers thought I was a lunatic had they looked my way as they drove by.

I slowly turned the box towards my face to look inside. I didn’t completely aim the top of the box at myself because I’m not crazy, but as I peered into the box at a very acute angle (or obtuse, depending on your mood), I realized the little animal was hiding under a flap. I felt a certain sense of guilt at that point, but the baby was likely going to face death by Goodyear if I hadn’t disturbed it.

I turned the box in a few different ways until I heard the snake fall from its hiding spot. Finally, I released the snake. It landed belly up, which made me feel like a jerk one last time.

For the record, I did some quick online research just now. It was likely a harmless gopher snake. I watched a YouTube video of a man letting a wild gopher snake bite him because apparently those babies have no teeth. How interesting.



By the way

I’m an idiot.