Chopped (not the cooking show)

So, I killed a snake. All by myself. I’m brave like that.

A couple of weeks ago we spotted a small snake on our pool deck. Our son said it was either a baby rat snake or a baby water moccasin. It was small enough that it slithered down into the drain holes around the deck perimeter when we tried to get it. Sigh.

Fortunately for us (not him), the next day it was back. My son took care of it. (Thanks, Joe!)  Since his identity was uncertain and we have children around, not to mention I’m around, it seemed best to do him in.

A few days later, one of the grandchildren saw another snake of similar size on the deck. I ran to the garage and got my machete. (That’s right. I have a machete. We do live in Florida, after all.)

The key for me at this point is to be aggressive and not think too much about what I’m doing. So I moved in fast and chopped him in half. Shudder! It took a few chops, which is disgusting. (I think I need to sharpen the old machete.) So I was chopping and gagging like I was going to lose my lunch, but I didn’t!

I sent pictures out (of both halves) to my snake experts and got no response. I felt awful thinking that I may have chopped a perfectly “beneficial” snake in half. Not!

I maintain that if I come upon a snake and it surprises me, that snake is not a beneficial snake. People die of heart attacks or trip and fall while running for their machetes every day. I don’t want to be a statistic.

As a matter of fact, the next day another snake that could have been a twin to the chopped one showed up on my pool deck. I chopped away at him but that little thing coiled up and struck back at the machete. Wait a minute, that’s not how we play this game. I chop. It dies. I’m disgusted. End of story. That’s how it’s supposed to go down; but this time all 12 inches of him proved too fierce for me and my machete, and then for me and my broom, and finally for me and my hose. He got away.

I had to know what kind of snake had slithered onto my pool deck? What in the world was going on here? We had a tree taken down recently, and I assumed some stupid snake environment was disrupted; and they were coming my way in protest. So I broke down and did the research myself. The results: I killed a baby pygmy rattle snake. On my screened-in pool deck. I’m awesome.

The coast has been clear for a couple of weeks now, so I guess the word is out to any neighboring snakes that I have a rusty machete, and I sort of know how to use it. So for now we’re back to idyllic Florida life. It’s great, especially when you consider pretty much the entire state is built over a swamp. We Floridians come to expect interaction with the occasional snake, spider, scorpion, alligator, disease-infested mosquito, or time-share salesman. It’s part of life down here. I’d tell you more, but we’re preparing for a hurricane, so I better sign off.

Another reason to like birds - they're great at catching snakes

Another reason to like birds – they’re great at catching snakes


Leave a comment


  1. Elizabeth Watler

     /  September 2, 2016

    This is the greatest sentence I have read all day. “People die of heart attacks or trip and fall while running for their machetes every day.”

    Pure genius. And I think we still have the machete that Robert grew up with and his dad used to clear the back yard.

  2. arthur manning

     /  September 2, 2016

    Based on the general appearance in the picture you showed me and aggressive behavior, I thought that it might have been a pygmy rattler and, if I remember right, I think that I may have mentioned that possibility to you. Those little guys can deliver a very nasty bite. Good work in dispatching him.
    – Auts

    • Yes, you did mention that possibility and when I looked it up it was a “dead ringer” for the picture. I still can’t believe I killed it. I have come a long way.

  3. Oh my, I think we just ceased being twins. I have always called my husband are one of my three sons to do such jobs. I do remember I exhibited incredible bravery when my three-year-old Philip ran up to me and said, “Mommy! Mommy! Come out to the garage and see the snake that has such beautiful colors! ” It was at least 4 feet long and very healthy and fatter than any coral snake should be. Dean got that one.

    • Yikes. Coral snakes are scary and that was a big one. When faced with the possibility of it being on my pool deck or in my yard around the kids and having to kill it myself, it was no choice. But I was totally grossed out.

  4. You are AWESOME! The Florida snake-chopper! Betty is very relieved that there are less snakes in Florida because of you…I am too. (I am thinking a machete might be in order for Betty’s birthday).

  5. Well now I want a machete of my own too! Add it to my Christmas list!

    • You have made a good choice to add this to your Christmas list. Just don’t tear too quickly into any long, thin packages. Maybe I will give you mine in my will. It was my dad’s so it’s a family heirloom.

  6. Leslie

     /  September 16, 2016

    This is one of the funniest stories I’ve read! I love your blog. 😍


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