Thursday, November 21, 2013

That's a BIG SNAKE, Daddy!

One of my biggest fears in this world is SNAKES. What am I doing in Costa Rica? We live in a mountain community in Atenas and we walk this mountain every day as a part of our exercise routine. We see a lot of cool birds but the only snakes we see are dead on the road, until a few nights ago. Our home is next to a gully that serves as a critter highway and we have seen evidence of raccoons but no snakes, until a few nights ago. We were sitting on the couch, winding down the kids with a little TV, when an SUV came down the hill to a screeching halt, backed up, moved forward then backed up again. Our house sits about 20 feet above the road and I couldn’t see why he had stopped so I went out to investigate. I walked outside, looked through the bamboo and my wife heard me from inside say, “HOLLY SH@#$%T, GET OUT HERE AND LOOK AT THIS FREAKING THING!” Below us in the middle of the road was a 12 foot Boa about 8 inches in diameter. I had only seen one of these things in pictures or in a cage at the zoo, not close enough to eat my dog or one of my children. The guy in the SUV got out to take a picture with his phone and said “Muy grande!” I replied “No SH@#$%T” forgetting to use my Spanish in the excitement. About that time the serpent moved and this guy ran and jumped back in his SUV making me feel better about my shaking hands. We all walked back inside and my 2 year old daughter said “That’s a big snake daddy” and my wife replied “let’s go down the hill and get a closer look.” My 4 year old son said ”YEAH!”  I agreed, but on the inside I am thinking OMG! So I hide my fear and, with authority, put my daughter on my shoulders (so she doesn’t get eaten) grab a shovel and lead my family to see the snake. We get within about 6 feet of it and my wife starts firing off pictures in her photographer pose, my daughters little finger nails are cutting into my ears and she’s shaking, and my son is standing behind me looking around my butt holding onto my leg. I seize the opportunity for a learning experience for my kids by saying (with a hint of quiver in my voice) “See kids, this is what I am talking about when I tell you not to go near that gully because there are snakes in there…do you understand me now?” My son affirmed with a “yes, daddy” and my daughter kept saying “That’s a big snake daddy”.

We all settled back in the house, my wife posted the pictures on Facebook, my son must have been having a lot of inner dialog because he was quiet for a change, my daughter kept repeating “That’s a big snake daddy” and I went around making sure the doors and windows were secure. I didn’t sleep, staying up researching Costa Rican snakes and how to keep them away from me and my kids. I found plenty of information on the internet about the common boa in Costa Rica and learned that it is none aggressive. I also learned that snake repellants and snake fences don’t work. Snakes are simple creatures that want live food, shelter and reproduction and if you aren’t providing those things, they won’t come around your home. We don’t, thank God, which is why we have never seen snakes in our yard or close to the house. I still had nightmares that night with that snake in my kids’ beds, so I did get up and check on them several times. The next morning when my daughter woke up the first thing out of her mouth was “That’s a big snake daddy!” 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful snake. So glad you didn't find it in your house.


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