So a few weeks back, I am sitting at my desk when I hear “Can you come down here for a minute? Now?” coming up from the basement. The boss was down there running some banners so I figured maybe he needed help getting a new roll onto the machine (they are HEAVY!) I get down there and I see him standing by the machine with a broom in his hand pointing to the corner. I walk over and there on the ground is a SNAKE.
Now I don’t like snakes. One day while hunting with my old man back when I was a teen, we were walking thru the woods when I heard a ‘thunk’. I stopped, didn’t see anything, then noticed a rustling of the leaves every time I took a step. I looked down and there was a snake stuck on my boot! I almost blew my foot off in panic. Hated them ever since. Well apparently bossman doesn’t like them either. He had gone downstairs to start the machine and he said this snake just fell from the ceiling, almost landing on him in the process. I think I would have needed to go home and change my pants after that, but it didn’t happen to me, thankfully. So now this little guy is just sitting there in the corner all coiled up and rattling like a damn cobra! We talked and were pretty sure that there really aren’t poisonous snakes here in Illinois, or at least nothing that is small like this one, so we try and figure out how to get this damn thing out of the basement. We grab an empty paper box and lay it on its side right by the snake, then I take the broom and start to try and herd the snake into the box. The damn thing is hissing like crazy now, and striking out at the broom like it is some sort of attack snake! I finally herd it into the box and flip it upright with the end of the broom for bossman to slam a cover on it. Now what?
We are feeling charitable and don’t want to kill it, and there is a forest preserve right next to our parking lot, so we decide to just release it out there. he picks up the box and we go outside. The whole time this snake is hissing like crazy and striking at the edge of the box. We get outside and I flip the lid off with the broom and knock the box over so the snake can go slither off into the woods. The damn thing slithers out alright, but then turns back towards us! No, not gonna happen. One more inch toward me you are going to feel the wrath of my broom, bitch! Perhaps sensing my rage, the beast turns away and makes its way off into the weeds. Tragedy averted!
So I posted about this encounter on Facebook. Then the fun begins. One friend tells me that it looks like a Massasauga and posted the Wikipedia link. That would be a real, poisonous rattlesnake! Oh fucking great. That is followed by posts saying that we should go check for nests and stuff, should have taken it at least 20 miles away or it would come back, etc. Paranoia sets in and now whenever we have to go down in the basement, we go with a broom and a box lid, like a knight with his shield and sword.
We then, thankfully, get another poster who says that it isn’t the Massa-whatever, but just a Hog snake, which mimics a rattle snake but is not poisonous or dangerous, doesn’t even have fangs. The ‘strikes’ are just headbutts. Here is a video of a guy playing with a hog snake. After watching that video, I can safely say that is what was in our basement. No nests were found and no new kamakazi snake drops on bossman while running the banner machine. Whew! Wonder if we can make a screenplay of this encounter? Sharknado got made, so you never know…