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All about the herpetological world.

Mike Pound: Car’s new occupant makes slithery problem

Posted by Miqe on May 15, 2007

By Mike Pound, Globe columnist


I have a slight problem.

I might, just maybe, sort of, have a snake living in my car.

The good news about having a snake living in my car is that it doesn’t stay up late playing loud music and, at least so far, hasn’t tried to steal my beer.

The bad news about having a snake living in my car is that I HAVE A SNAKE LIVING IN MY CAR!!!

The reason I think I have a snake living in my car is because Saturday morning, while driving in Joplin, I saw it crawling along the floor in front of the passenger seat.

Have you ever been driving down a Joplin street and noticed a snake crawling on the floor of your car?


I don’t want to go into too much embarrassing detail about how I reacted when I noticed the snake crawling in my car remarkably close to my own personal feet. Let’s just say that it got my attention.

Fortunately for the snake, my wife was not sitting in the front passenger seat when the snake decided to crawl around the floor. My wife, who has many years of dance lessons behind her, would have done a tap dance on its head. But, my 9-year-old daughter, Emma, was in the back seat at the time. Her basic reaction when I told her that “there is a *&^%$ snake” in the car was to say, “Really? Cool.”

Emma does not yet possess a case of the snake-willies.

Once Emma and I were safely out of the car, I gathered my wits and took decisive manly action. I tried to sell my car.

Ha. That’s a joke. No, what I did was carefully open the front passenger door and step back. I think I stepped back about a mile. Ha, again I joke.

What I did was walk around to the other side of my car, reach in the back seat and grab a large umbrella, which — as any snake expert will tell you — is the preferred snake-fighting weapon. Then, armed with my umbrella, I slowly walked to the front passenger door prepared to do a “Mary Poppins” on the snake. But when I looked in my car, the snake was gone.


At first I thought that was good news because it meant it had decided to slither on down the road. And perhaps that is what the snake did, because I conducted a thorough search of the car and found it to be snakeless. Then it occurred to me that it was quite possible that the snake decided to crawl up behind the dashboard.

The thing is, as snakes go, this one appears to be relatively harmless. It’s what they call a grass snake, and it wasn’t that big. But still, it was a snake. You know those snake “experts” who always say, “That snake is more afraid of you than you are of it”? Well, when those snake “experts” say that, I always say, “Wanna bet?”

See, for me it’s not so much the snake as it is the idea of the snake. But on Saturday, since I was pretty much out of options — Emma and I couldn’t walk back to Carthage — I did a final search of the car, and then we got back in and drove home.

I didn’t see the snake in my car on the trip home, and I haven’t seen it since. But I also haven’t actually seen it leave my car. And since I haven’t seen the snake leave, my wife refuses to go anywhere near my car, and she won’t let Emma near my car. My wife isn’t one to accept “I think the snake is gone” as proof that it is.

After talking to several people who are “in the know,” I decided that my best course of action would be to create a bad smell in my car (no, not that kind of smell) and leave the doors open, and eventually the snake — if it’s still in the car — would leave on his own. One guy suggested that I use cayenne pepper. Someone else suggested bug spray. My mechanic told me that the best thing to use is mothballs. Emma suggested that I try WD-40. I thought that was funny.

My mechanic also told me that it wouldn’t do much good to take my dashboard apart. “We would chase it forever and never find it,” he said.

So tonight on the way home, I’m going to stop and buy a box of mothballs, and when I get home, I’m going to park my car with the doors open. Of course, it’s also possible that I’ll see the snake crawling near my feet again while I’m driving home. But if that happens, I’ll be OK.

I’ll be packing my umbrella.

 From The Joplin Globe

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