The late actor W.C. Fields once said: “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” To which actress Kristin Davis replied: “I’m not about to go out and buy a snake for a pet. I mean, I may have faced a few fears, but I’m not insane.”

As an animal lover it was natural that when our children were growing up I encouraged their collection of creatures, large and small, especially during their grammar school years. Our pets represented a menagerie of mammals and reptiles that lent themselves to endless jokes about the boat we were building in our back yard, and it always drew a big laugh when friends equated our “two-by-two” animals with our “Noah’s ark”.

Our zoo included: a cat named “Twitchy,” for the odd way its bent and stumpy tail twitched back and forth when it walked; “Iggy,” a two-foot, green Mexican iguana who spent days stretched motionless on a dead branch in a terrarium that was often mistaken for a knobless television set; two unnamed caimens––reptiles related to alligators––in another terrarium; two Mexican water snakes slithering around in a third terrarium; three goldfish our daughter Sharri won at the local fair and brought home in a plastic bag; and on the back porch a bucket of pollywogs that, when morphed into frogs, could be fed to the snakes.

The snakes belonged to our son Robbie and he liked to take the lid off the terrarium and watch them fight over their dinner. I wasn’t fond of the snakes so I warned him that, if he ever left the lid off and they got loose in the house while I was at work, I wasn’t coming home until they were caught.

Naturally, one afternoon just before I left work I got a call from Robbie: “Remember what you said about the snakes?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Well, don’t come home, we’re looking for them now,” he warned.

My mind jumped to the freshly washed and dried–– but unfolded–– clothes piled high on our sofa; a perfect hiding place for a snake. I went home anyway.

When I arrived one snake was already back in the terrarium, the other was still AWOL, and a massive search was underway. To no avail.

The next day while I was at work our neighbor, a Norwegian named Olaf, called over to the fence to Bob and held up a very dead snake he’d found in his yard. Sure enough, it was ours. I received the news at work along with the information that a backyard funeral was underway.

When I got home, I asked to see the gravesite and Rob and Sharri led me to a little lump of dirt in the garden. Musing by our late snake’s grave I hatched what I thought would be a funny prank. I dug up the snake, tied a “leash” around its neck and led it, as though walking a dog, next door to the neighbor’s house.

Knocking on the door, I waited for Olaf to open it, holding the dirt-covered snake up in the air by its leash. The door opened and I went into my act sobbing, “you killed my pet,” waving the dead snake in the air. And then I looked at the figure in the doorway.

Standing there with a look of horror on her face was Olaf’s mother, who was visiting from Norway.

Have you ever had a prank go terribly wrong? I’d love to hear about it. Oh well. Remembering this story led to me to some snake jokes:

An old snake goes to see his Doctor. “Doc, I need something for my eyes…can’t see well these days”. The Doc fixes him up with a pair of glasses and tells him to return in 2 weeks. The snake comes back in 2 weeks and tells the doctor he’s very depressed. Doc says, “What’s the problem…didn’t the glasses help you?”
“The glasses are fine doc, I just discovered I’ve been living with a water hose the past 2 years!”

Or: What’s a snakes favorite TV program? Monty Python!

Or: What is another word for a python? A mega-bite! Here’s a mega-bite below, taken at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, Camp Verde, Arizona.


9 thoughts on “Snakes

  1. I loved it…laughed out loud. Keep them coming, Carol. I don’t have any good snake or prank stories, so I’ll just have to enjoy yours.


  2. Hello Carol,

    Loved your snake story. I had lots of pets when I was growing up. Parakeets, cats, dogs, a horse, fish, a rabbit, a chicken who liked to watch TV with me, hamsters, and for a short while a Myna bird. I don’t have prank/joke stories but yours was entertaining to read. I admire your zest and spunk for life.

    Best regards,

    Barbara and Monie

  3. I am always in fear that they will somehow get here – they do find them from time to time and send them back! You were more welcoming to snakes than I ever was regarding the kids! Fun story!

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