Several years ago, Mr. R. and I decided that it was time for us to buy a house. The market was down, mortgage rates were historically low, and there were lots of foreclosures out there. We looked and looked in town, but prices were still high and here in Palm Beach County they tend to build houses as closely together as humanly possible. I kept trying to talk Mr. R. into looking out ‘in the country.’ West of town is a huge residential community where all the lots are over an acre. It’s not a planned community so there is no HOA to be all up in your business. And being outside of town, the prices can be lower. Reluctantly, Mr. R. agreed to look. Long story short, we made an offer on the first house we saw. After much wrangling, the house was ours. Being a foreclosure, we expected that there would be some fixing up we’d need to do, and there was. But we’re thrilled to have our little home on our huge acre and a quarter lot.
Living in the ‘country,’ we figured that from time to time we’d see critters. I expected boars, bobcats, raccoons, deer, maybe even bears. I forgot about the creepy crawlies.
In the first few weeks we lived here, I noticed that a spider kept building a web in our mailbox. Everyday I had to push my way through a sticky tangle of strands to get our mail. One day I looked more closely and saw a shiny black hourglass-shaped body that looked as though it had a red hourglass on its belly. Using a jar I caught the little stinker. Yeah, that’s what I’d been pushing my hand through every day.
While I was at work one day last spring, I kept getting text messages from Mr. R. who was home for the day. When I finally had the chance to check them, this is what I saw. It’s an Eastern coral snake, a relative of Old World cobras, it’s highly venomous, and it was mere steps out our back door. Seriously, in an acre and a quarter this is where you need to be?
That brings us to yesterday. It was a lovely day and Mr. R. and I spent much of it sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Our slightly paranoid 85-pound landshark Jack was puttering around in the yard when about ten feet away from us he began snuffing and pawing at something in the grass. We both looked trying to figure out what he’d found. I saw what looked like something small jumping up out of the grass and my first thought was that he’d found a little frog.
Then I realized that what I was seeing was the business end of another coral snake whipping around out of a hole in the grass. Mr. R. reached the same conclusion at exactly the same time and called Jack away. I held Jack on the patio as Mr. R. poked around in the area with a stick, but the snake was gone. It’s out there. Somewhere.
So who’s ready to come over for a barbecue?