TIME TO CALL PAPA-PEPPER - An Infestation of Snakes!!!

in adventure •  3 years ago 

So, when exactly is the right time to call @papa-pepper?

For my aunt and uncle, it was when they bought a foreclosed property. There I was, driving back to Wisconsin from either Texas or Arkansas two years ago, when the phone rang. It was one of my dad’s sisters, and though we are on good terms, we rarely ever speak on the phone. But, she called me. The reasons? "Too many snakes!!!"

Trust me, there is not much else out there that would excite @papa-pepper as much as a call to capture and relocate snakes, especially if there is a lot of them.

Too Many Snakes? Is That a Real Thing?

Unfortunately, as life would have it, I would have to wait until the next weekend to stop by, and that was more of an evaluation of the situation. Finally, one the weekend after that, I was up at their new property. The previous owners hadn’t really kept it up when they were there, with horses in the basement and such, and it had been a while since they were there.

My aunt and uncle were in the process of remodeling the house and garage, but they kept running into snakes. Since they knew me, they figured that it would be best just to turn me loose for a while, and the problem would pretty much solve itself. Indeed, it did!

I had my three biggest @little-peppers to help, so we got started with a perimeter check. As it turns out, the snakes had mostly been using the garage and surrounding area as general living quarters, so we immediately started with the round-up.

In Wisconsin, we only had two native venomous species, and both happened to be Rattlesnakes. This makes it pretty easy to know the risk when you find a random snake. For the most part, if it has no rattle, then there is no real danger. This is part of the reason that the @little-peppers came in handy. The other reason is that you need someone to hold the snake-bag. I remember once when I had a snake in my “free” hand while I was lifting a rock with the other hand. A snake began to slither out from under it and the snake-bag was tied too tight for Pinkie Pepper to untie. Out of excited desperation I quickly decided to hold the snake I already had in my mouth while I grabbed the other one with my hand. Anyway, that’s another story, but the point is that having someone to hold the snake-bag is a big help.

Red-Bellied Snakes in the Snake-Bag.

For the most part, we were encountering a lot of Garter and Red-Bellied Snakes. Occasionally there would also be a Smooth Green Snake. Finding the Smooth Green Snakes was a bonus and a good sign. They were a more common species when I was young, and I hadn’t seen one in the wild in years.

Pinkie Pepper With a Smooth Green Snake.

Since the Smooth Green Snake feeds almost exclusively on insects, pesticides can devastate a population. As the food supply disappears or becomes contaminated, the snakes disappear too.

Papa-Pepper With a Couple Fox Snakes.

Early on in this adventure I also found a Fox Snake. Fox Snakes are amazing, but they are frequently killed by people who either just hate snakes or who are not educated on the native varieties of snakes. Since the Fox Snake has a copper-colored head, some people will misidentify them as Copperheads. Though Copperheads exist other places, they are not native to Wisconsin, so the chances of encountering one in the wild there are extremely slim. This is the same reason that many water snakes, or snakes near water, get killed in Wisconsin; misidentification. Water Moccasins are also not native to Wisconsin, so finding one in the wild there is extremely unlikely.

Pinkie Pepper with Fox Snakes.

I understand why people do not desire to have venomous snakes around, but it is worth at least knowing which species even live in your state. Again, the two types of venomous snakes native to Wisconsin are both rattlesnakes, the Timber Rattlesnake and the Eastern Massasauga, both of which are most commonly found in the southwestern part of the state. This means that if you find a wild snake anywhere else in the state, there is a high probability that it is not venomous.

Unfortunately for the Fox Snake, there are some who think it looks like a rattlesnake, and it also just happens to vibrate the tip of its tail as a self-defense mechanism… so that doesn’t help. Though these wonderful snakes can be very common in certain locations, I had rarely come across them in the wild, so this was a real treat.

While we were rounding up the snakes to relocate them, my uncle was still working in the garage. There were many holes to the outside, and a lot of random debris on the ground. We would pick up all the snakes that we could find and then explore somewhere else. When we would come back in ten minutes or so, there would be more in the garage to pick up again.

My uncle even found a large Fox Snake in the wall when he tore off some plywood. At first he thought it was a thick electrical cable, but it was just wrapped around a wire.

Pinkie Pepper With Red-Bellied Snakes.

As we continued to catch snakes, things finally started to slow down. We had a couple hours available, but we would eventually need to leave. For me, it was like a dream, as I have often had dreams where I was just catching insane quantities of turtles or snakes. It was always such a disappointment to wake up! On this adventure, though we were catching many and I had help, there was just too many to grab them all. I would have multiple snakes in my hand and try to grab another one, only to lose at least one of them.

Red Pepper With a Red-Bellied Snake.

When we finally decided that our time was up, out of curiosity we began to count our captives. Total that day, we had captured over fifty snakes. The four varieties were Fox, Garter, Red-Bellied, and Smooth Green. In all my years of rounding up serpents, I had never experienced anything like it! It was awesome!

Since we located so many that day, and quite a few were even pregnant at the time, and since my aunt and uncle were cleaning things up, the snake “problem” has been solved. Sure, there are still snakes there and many more in the area, but the “infestation” feel that they once had has disappeared.

Handfuls of Snakes!

Thankfully, my relatives were nice enough to give me call, rather than just trying to kill them all like so many other people would have done. My relatives had their snake population reduced but not eradicated, my family had an amazing day, and some snakes got a new home!

If you ever run into a similar problem, feel free to let me know!


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thanks a bunch @papa-pepper for sharing such goodness of heart, beautiful shots, and a solid story reminding me of my childhood the day where my neighbours found hundreds of garter snakes... These poor things didn't have the chance of running into the knowledgeable you and your adorable family.

All for one and one for all! Namaste :)

I have only dreamed of hundreds.... so far.

Give me call if you see them again!

Can I hire you to hold a viper steady while I take a photo?

@ocrdu loled at this thanks!

Yes, and you can pay me in STEEM. 😎

@papa-pepper holy moly how could she dare hold all those?
just the look of them give me the creeps
no matter how small eeeekkkkk...
your kids are freaking awesome!

Them kids are tough, and they know what they are dealing with.

@papa-pepper fearless!
I got goosebumps just watching the gif

It is a good gif!

In AZ we have to know good snakes from bad - you want good snakes on your property because they eat the bad snakes. 6' Bull and King snakes are your friends. Especially this time of year.

When I lived in West Texas they had rattle snake round up in March - they would find big dens filled with hundreds and hundreds of snakes and have to eradicate them.

Right, we've got a lot pf Pygmy Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, and a few Water Moccasins.

I call this photo, "LOOK, BUT DON'T TOUCH!"

Here is another one.

You have very brave young ladies, @papa-pepper.

That they are. Thanks man!

The pepper family is so brave, especially your kids papa pepper.
I'm having shivers down my spine just seeing those pictures.
But I'm also glad for the 50 snakes finding a new home. Even though they're oftentimes scary, they have lives too. Are you keeping them around your own house?

I wish we were keeping them around my house, but these were back in Wisconsin before we moved.

We relocated them to some great areas for them though, where there were already established populations of their kinds.

woo very brave

They are indeed!

Great story! Held the snake in your mouth...that's dedication!

Yeah, I was desperate!

Whoa, that is crazy @papa-pepper!! You ain't gettin' me near them varmints! Pinky Pepper is one brave gal. Don't worry, if I ever run into this, you will be my first call. Thanks for the post, it's as close as I wanna get to them snakes. Upvote for sure!

I would appreciate the call! Thanks!

That's so crazy! I've seen stories like this but never from a first hand account! I think these problems come up when developers build houses over under ground dens and hibernaculums. Then when the snakes come out, it's an infestation! Definitely cool but that's a lot of snakes!

An excellent time in our opinion, and the first and only time I encountered that many, but we will see what the future holds!

Snaaaaaky ^^


Two things I don't f**k with, rattlesnakes and condoms.

thanks for the post! I absolutely scared of snakes. respect you!

I'm glad that you enjoyed it anyway, even with your fear!

thanks for fina foto

ótima postagem mas eu tenho o maior medo de cobras

We re lucky here, No snakes. I was surprised how they feel when you hold them, not slimy like I had thought they would be. The snake temple in Penang, Malaysia, has Cobras and Tiapans living free, you can pick them up and hold them as much as you want to, [not so much for me though].It great that you can teach your little-peppers not to be scared of things, and to respect other living things, Well done.

Yes, we teach them not to fear, but to have a healthy respect, plus, they are not allowed to catch their own. Papa has to give them a snake that he believes is safe, they cannot grab them by themselves.

A wise decision, I know the laundry man knew my feelings the first time we were given a snake to hold. In later trips it was good fun to take the "new boys" to the snake temple and watch their reaction.

This is awesome! So thankful for people like you - saving/relocating wildlife. It reminds me of some of the videos I've seen of beekeepers relocating unwanted beehives/swarms.

Yeah, I love the experience and it's a great opportunity to teach the kids, plus it can keep the snakes alive.

We have already relocated many in Arkansas too!

What a nice job of talking about all the challenges facing snakes! They get such a bad rap -- and with you around, the snakes are fortunate to have a great advocate! That's such a great photo of Pinkie Pepper with the Red-bellied Snakes!

Stunning post and gorgeous snakes! Complimment! (;

Thanks very much, we really enjoyed collecting them!

@txgeekgirl you seem like a west Texas kinda gal. I just bought 45 acres in Terlingua

45 acres is a good plot!

Whewww snakes make me squirm.

So many snakes, so glad live somewhere there is no snakes to deal with this.
Your kids are so brave they round rings around most of us.

happy to see this post trending :)

You and me both! Thanks @doitvoluntarily!

I love the first photo with Pinkie and the Smooth Green snake.

I thought that it was not common to see snakes near populations.