It’s time to check your dryer vent for snakes

It’s time to check your dryer vent for snakes

Joe is always telling me I do not pay enough attention to my surroundings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I think he is concerned that if I am kidnapped, he will have to do his own cooking.

The other day we were leaving home for a birthday party, and Joe walked out the back door in front of me and headed for the garage. I stepped out and was ready to pull the door shut when I saw what he had missed, and it was not 3 feet from me.

It was a gigantic (I’d say over 5 feet) black snake with its head right up to our dryer vent. It was staring into the dryer vent, contemplating whether or not that might be a good place to slither in for a nap.

No, the answer is no!

I called out to Joe to come quick. “We can’t leave until you move this snake,” I said. Those are some words you never want to come out of your mouth.

Moving snakes is not a problem for Joe. He loves to catch snakes. Sometimes I find myself wishing for a husband who likes to cook, but in this instant, I realize it is better to have a man who likes to catch snakes. I have had a lot less problems in my life because of it, particularly right now.

Joe grabbed a broom handle to pin the snake behind its head so he could grab it.

Wait, I like to document everything and was pulling out my phone for a photo of the snake peering into our dryer vent. This is not something you see every day. It was pretty unbelievable. That snake was fully stretched out, straight ready to make its way into the convenient snake den we had provided on the side of our house.

But it was too late for a photo; Joe sprang into action and grabbed up the snake without getting bit. “I still got it,” he said of his snake-catching abilities. I had to agree.

We get a lot of garter snakes in the yard throughout the warmer months. They do not grow very big; we just shoo them out of the yard and over the bank behind our house. It is no big deal. Snakes are our friends.

Not this snake though. I was not feeling any warm, fuzzy feelings for this snake. It was trying to break into my house. We were not going to let it just slither over the bank so close to home. We hiked across the road and back into the woods. Joe found a comfy-looking spot for the snake and left it there.

“I hate to take it so far from the house. They eat a lot of mice,” he said.

Yes, we should go back and get it and keep it in our garage. The mice love it there. We need a snake in the garage. Ha! Not happening!

“Does that dryer vent totally seal when the dryer is not on?” was my next question. The answer I did not want to hear was “not really.”

So onto the birthday party we go with our wonderful story to tell. And then you know what happens next: You hear a story from another party-goer about someone who found actual snakes inside their dryer. Yikes!

We enjoyed the party but didn’t waste any time when we got home. Joe is on his hands and knees peering into the dryer vent. He reaches his hand into the vent, feels something and screams. “Is there a snake in there?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m going to turn the dryer on. You stay here and see if anything comes out.”

Yes, this is just what I want to do. Check that off the bucket list. I stepped back a few more feet from the vent.

Air starts blowing out of the vent, and it is making a horrible sound as Joe is pounding on dryer hose from the inside. Luckily, nothing comes out but lint. Joe is going to take the extra step of cleaning out as much lint as possible. This is a good thing because my mind is now going wild, figuring piles of lint would make a good bed for a snake.

He shoots air from a compressor into the dryer and then the outside vent. We are now 99.9% sure there is not a snake in there, so we go inside to relax, and I was doing some writing.

Later, I looked outside on the patio, and there was another much smaller black snake. I called for my snake-catching hero. But by the time we got our shoes on and went outside, this snake had disappeared, most likely into the big bush in the backyard. Joe checked the dryer vent, and it was closed this time.

“They were probably together. The larger one was a female, and the smaller one is probably a male,” Joe said. “They pair up this time of year.”

I felt bad. We had inadvertently split up a snake couple and right in the middle of black snake mating season too. It runs from May through late June. Hopefully, there is a little Hallmark movie happy ending, and they will find each other again, but not in our yard.

Never in my entire life did I ever worry a snake would slither in through the dryer vent, but now this is something to lie awake at night over. This is a problem that calls for a genuine innovation. I say snake-proof dryer vents are the next great invention.

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