Wow! Snake season has started off all of sudden with a loud explosion. But it's a great feeling to be able to build your reputation as a trapper and when your services are highly needed. It makes you feel respected and trusted for what you do.
Snakes are in a category all their own when it comes wildlife nuisances. It takes a lot of patience when dealing with a person who is in a total panic or who is ready to sell the house due to such a problem.
I believe I have the gift of calming people down when they need that kind of assurance that their snake problem will be taken care of. It gives them peace of mind when the snake trapper comes.
I receive so many emails asking all types of questions about my work. But one particular email caught my eye last week. This person wanted to know if I ever had an embarrassing moment. I told them "yes" and that brought back a lot of memories.
So I thought I would share some of my experiences this week.
When first beginning out years ago as a snake trapper, I was well trained but I thought I knew everything about this profession but that is another story. It takes a long time to develop the skills necessary to be successful working with snake issues.
One incident I recall is that I had ordered my supplies just before my very first snake call. My supplies, however, did not arrive in time. So instead of showing up with a snake hook I had make shift golf club, a broom and a pillow case. My flashlight was dead so I had no light for the inspection.
Well, the client was not happy and thought I shouldn't even be in this business. But I did get the snake out of the attic and that seemed to make the client happy. But from that time on, I made sure I had all the supplies I needed to have so I could complete my work properly, so I wouldn't have to rely on my fish tank net which came in handy that day, too.
A second incident, not too long after the first, a client had a snake in a tree. This time, I was at least prepared with the proper supplies. But this was a very large snake, and I thought I did not need gloves to handle the snake. Well, I got the snake down but in the process it bit me several times and even went to the bathroom on me. I stunk so bad I wondered if maybe I should be in another line of work.
The worse part is I had a conference at my son's school and did not have a change of clothes with me. Luckily, I did have a bottle of Febreze though it didn't help much. The teacher had a weird look on her face when I told her that I was sorry for coming in stinking.
The 30 minute meeting only lasted 10 minutes because this teacher was in a hurry to get away from me and I did not blame her.
There was also a day not too long ago that I had a helper for the day, and I decided we would go to McDonalds before heading down the road. By the time I arrived at my client's house, my helper was not feeling too well. We did manage to get the work done, but my helper said he had to go to the restroom because his stomach was feeling a little off.
My client gave him permission to use the half-bath off the foyer, and I went back to my Jeep to finish some paperwork while I waited for my helper.
After nearly 20 minutes, I decided to check on him. My helper had clogged up the toliet. The water, along with the accompanying nastiness not only flooded the bathroom but it ran into the hall and into a vent that led to the basement. I thought this can't be happening. Needless to say, the client wasn't too happy.
I apologized to my client and went back to my jeep to get some towels to clean this mess up. Meanwhile, my helper asked the client for towels, a bucket and a toliet plunger.
This only served to make matters worse with the client. I am not sure where he was from but he was yelling in a different language. Lord only knows what he was saying. He just wanted us to leave and never come back. So we did.
That was the first complaint made about me to Animal Control. The client stated my help was full of, well, you know, and he had to hire a cleaning person to come and sanitize his house. My helper was so ashamed he quit and I lost not only a good helper but money as well. This was truly a most embarrasing moment.
I have only written about a few of my embarrassing moments. I will attempt to share more in the future.
And, remember, spring is here, so get out an enjoy nature.
Tammy McCormack is a licensed Dept. of Natural Resources Snake Trapper. She writes an online column for fredericknewspost.com. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.