Snake in the Dryer

I left for work and was halfway there (see map) when Betty started doing the laundry.  She opened the dryer …

My cell phone rang.

“We’ve got a crisis at home and you should take care of it.”  My heart missed a beat.  A fire? or a tree fell on the house? or a pack of rabid dogs banging at the doors …

No.  It was worse.  “There’s a snake in the dryer.”

“I’ll be right home.”  I called my boss, telling him I’d be a little late.

I was just about at the point of no-return on the commute to work.  Any further, and I suppose I’d continue on, and hope for the best.  But I’d worry.  I wouldn’t focus on the job at hand.  Reviewing plans for gas (and oil) wells in our region.  Ensuring that the governmental regulations were adhered to.  I wouldn’t be paying the attention the job warranted and natural gas development would suffer.  Well designs would be inadequate.  Higher prices at the pump.  Citizenry in uproar.  Civil unrest.  No telling how much worse things would get.

I hurried home.

Betty understandably didn’t survey the situation with quantification in mind.  I was relieved.  A large snake, an angry snake, maybe even a rattler (not unknown in our neighborhood) would definitely be cause for concern.  How did it get there?  The dryer vent exits the house into a window well.  The poor thing probably couldn’t get out of the window-well, and the more-accessible vent was the only escape.  Directly into the dryer.

A few years ago I had ‘rescued’ a rattlesnake which had taken up residence in a fiberglass enclosure over a disposal well up north near Wyoming.  I duplicated the procedure, which was to place a bucket near the hapless reptile, and gently persuade it with a stick.  Betty demonstrates, above.

Good thing this healthy youngster didn’t unwittingly go through the drying cycle, nor somehow escape into the house.  The cats would not be nice to it.  And there’d probably be a mess to clean up.

Good-looking little guy or girl, isn’t (s)he?  Betty briefly considered adopting it, “keeping it” but she’d have to take care of it.  She did say later that she’d get over her fear of snakes with this as a pet.

The first thing I noticed was this wasn’t your usual striped garter/garden snake.  Nice diamond-y pattern.  Perhaps someone can identify — amateur herpetologists, anyone?  Our guess was probably ‘bull snake.’

He/she is probably really relieved to be getting out back into the grass.  We made sure it ended up far enough away from the house so as not to end up as a cat toy.

I think the dryer, and laundry room, are back to whatever passes as normal.  (Higher gas prices and oil-field chaos and anarchy averted, until some later day …)

( And … Betty told me that last night she dreamt of a snake in the house. Hmmmm….)