What a crazy month! The year of the snake has begun for 2011. I cannot believe the calls I have received pertaining to snake issues in the dead of this cold snowy winter. Of course I am dealing with snakes inside and not outside.
This past week has been truly crazy. I was called to a house in Silver Spring a large Black Rat Snake, which is native to Maryland, was seen sticking its head out of the basement ceiling and, of course, the client said it was hissing at them.
Of course, when I arrive no snake is found. Truly, no evidence of a snake at all. Humane traps were set. Yesterday, my client was so scared because they just knew the snake was caught during the major snow. Well, here we are, 50 minutes away, but no matter the weather. I manage to always get someone there. My son James, who helps me at times, arrived during the snowy bad weather and guess what he found? No snake. No snake evidence anywhere.
The reason for this column this week is to talk about true fears. Dealing with snakes is my calling and you must have patience and understanding with clients. The snake is so misunderstood, along with spiders, bugs, etc. People have a true fear of these gorgeous living creatures. Fear of snakes is called Ophidiophobia. People start to panic and have a hard time breathing when a snake is in their home and you make great effort to locate the snake or trap it but circumstances can work against you and it can be challenging.
So being patient and understanding as a trapper has truly helped me be a more successful trapper, and deal with situations even if the snake is not found or caught. I have had clients have to breathe in and out of paper bags, break out in a bad sweat with a rash, leave and go to a hotel or to stay with family or friends or even want to put their house up for sale.
But no matter the situation, the snake is still feared. Most people will kill these gentle reptiles because of fear or lack of knowledge. To them a snake is a most dangerous creature. So if you ever have a situation similar to the one mentioned, listen to your trapper. They are there not only to help you but the snake, too. The snake is important and vital to natures balance, so please do not kill or harm it. Call your local animal control or a trapper skilled in this area to remove the snake or help prevent future issues.
Don't panic and sell your home. I am not a professional doctor or psychiatrist but it is a known fact this fear exists. Well, until next time stay warm and as always, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can answer your questions or help in anyway.
Tammy McCormack is a licensed professional snake trapper. She writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com to help readers understand about Marylands snakes and wildlife.