Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Snake story

I hesitate to tell this story. If I had heard this from someone else, I would have said, "bullshit" but I SWEAR - this is a true account. I do have witnesses, so that helps! When I was a deputy sheriff in the 1980's, before I made detective, I was on the road in a radio dispatched patrol car. The county is divided up into zones, and each deputy is responsible to respond to calls within that zone. If I live to be one hundred, I will never forget this. It was the day before I was scheduled to go on vacation. I got a "snake call" in a subdivision that was still under construction. It was a high dollar community, with fancy concrete walls and enclosed entrances. The complainant met me in the street and told me that a "huge" snake had been crawling down the street, and that he last saw it slither into an enclosed courtyard of a vacant house. The man described the snake as black & yellow with diamond shapes on it's back.

Now I was scared enough to pee my pants, but I couldn't show it. I shudder at even a photo of a snake and I knew this was a poisonous rattler. I loaded up my revolver with snake shot - special bullets that have tiny bb's instead of a single round. I had heard through the years that the strike of a rattlesnake is so fast, that it cannot be seen with the human eye. I know that rattlesnakes are "pit vipers" sensing heat to strike their prey, even in the dark. My back-up arrived, Deputy "Chuck", a 6 foot 5 inch man. I drew my gun and entered the courtyard with Chuck close enough to be my back-pack. My hands were sweating so bad that I could hardly keep a good grip on the gun, and I felt my mouth turn to sawdust. Chuck whispered (as if the snake could hear)"There he is!" (two feet from the end of my gun) The snake had coiled up under a springery fern, I could only see the side of him. "BANG-BANG" I quickly double tapped him (shot twice) without aiming. No movement. Someone else entered the courtyard with a rake and poked at the snake, announcing that he was dead. They drug him out of there, and to my suprise he was about 7 feet long. They held him up, and wanted me to have my photo taken with him. No way. Snakes, even dead ones, continue to move because of all the muscle contraction in their bodies. Upon further examination of the snakes head, which was as big as my fist, I saw two side by side bullet holes in the back of his mouth through his head! I did not aim at his head, I could not see it. The snake had reacted to the heat of the bullets and caught them in his mouth. Now that's fast. I still shudder to this day when I think of this incident!


Texas2Tennessee said...


Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I believe your story because I saw one cross a one lane dirt road...and when the head of the snake disappeared into the tall grasses on the other side of this narrow still could not see his tail. It stretched all the way across the road.
We stayed in our car and left immediately...we had been planning on stopping there to fish.

Kerri said...

You have a heck of a lot of courage to do that! I could never have set foot in that court yard. I'll bet you had enough adrenaline going to last you for a couple of days after that little incident. Not for the faint of heart, that's for sure!
Thanks for leaving a nice comment on my blog. It's always nice to have new friends stop by :) I've enjoyed all your posts.

Eternally Curious said...

Snakes of all sorts, including rattlers, are very common out here. And they do indeed "cross the road", still a weird sight no matter how many times I've seen it. Glad you came thru that experience OK, Tuff!

doubleknot said...

Good snake story and I am glad that the snake caught the pellets in his mouth instead of reaching you.
One story that keeps popping up about snakes is the twenty foot boa that was found living under someone's house down here.
Now not only do we have rattlers to worry about but boas.

susan said...

When I first went to this post, I had to backtrack real fast in order not to have to look at that picture... be very afraid of snakes!

But I finally got up the courage to come back and quickly scroll down to get the picture out of sight so I could read the story. Great story! I even related it to my husband while we were out hiking... and as always while hiking ssssnakes are foremost on my mind.