Friday, July 31, 2009

An encounter with our House Snake

I was having dinner with my mom, telling her my bad encounter with a doctor when she stood up and decided to get something in her room, which is quite near the kitchen. Then suddenly she just stopped and kept screaming as if she saw a ghost. Being the one nearest, I ran towards her and followed what she was pointing at. I saw, with my hair tingling and all, a small snake slithering towards my parents' bathroom door trying to hide. My mom just kept on wailing like crazy when I asked the driver, our maids and our aunt to help me find the snake. I'm not fan of snakes myself, but I needed to move. I belong to the brainwashed group of individuals that immediately think that snakes are bad, dangerous and aggressive that the ultimate and most sensible thing to do is to kill them contrary to what the Discovery Channel Snake Documentaries are saying.

When we turned on the lights, we saw that the small, juvenile, thin snake, too big for a worm and too small for a normal sized snake, curled apparently frightened at the corner. With nowhere else to run, I knew it was one of his last moments alive. I hurriedly went upstairs to get my camera before the carnage took place.

The driver and my aunt, equipped with walis ended up smashing the small snake's head, pounding his frail body until it moved no more. I saw his skin open up. My mother wasn't done wailing at this point. Harvey was scared and watched, not really his usual brave self. My brother had a glazed look in his eyes as if he's enjoying the show. Whereas surprisingly, I felt pity on the snake.

After the confrontation, our driver picked it up and my mother instructed all of us to burn it and to not just throw it away. She kept on asking if it was done and she was cursing and wailing all over. Once it was finished, she cursed the spa-like bathroom my father designed with flowing water, stones and plants that might have been the habitat of the little snake. It was a sound theory upon seeing the section of my parents' bathroom. There is a silent therapeutic waterfall, different kinds of stones and plants reminiscent of a quiet stream or lake. My mother decided to have it rebuilt and torn down immediately. It took her a couple of hours to enter her room and enter the bathroom.

Thinking about it, snakes do not just come out of nowhere. The little snake must have a mother, a bigger version I'm sure. It must have brothers and sisters frolicking god knows where. He was just an unfortunate soul who explored and got caught. The problem is, where are the others? That's what we're trying to figure out as we let the dogs loose and Harvey on a lookout. Our grounds are relatively spacious with lots of corners, nooks, vegetation, moist areas and stones. Few of us in the house regularly maintain all areas and visit all these places. In terms of snakes, it doesn't belong in the list of pests we look out for. We were all caught by surprise and as much as possible, we don't want to hink of the growing possibilities.

However, some say snakes are signs of good luck especially if it's in the house. But honestly, as much as I've shared that fact, my mother wouldn't hear any of it. I would understand her. I'm not really a fan of snakes anyway and I'd rather have them away than in my home. I might not agree on how to get rid of it, but I wouldn't know what's the most effective way of doing so without killing it. There was no other way at that time.

Surprisingly as much as I hate snakes, I felt sorry for the juvenile snake. I don't like killing animals, especially those that are defenseless and small no matter how I hate it. I want it to be driven away, but not killed. I'm sure lots of pet lovers and snake lovers would condemn this, so I apologize for the hurt we may have caused in the ecology and creature itself. If only we knew another more effective and guaranteed way of getting rid of it. But in terms of superstition, I believe the safety and peace of mind reigned more than the supposed promises of good luck it might or might not bring. We'd rather be alive and sane than dead.

My father, upon hearing the tale, was amused and kept asking us if we really did kill it. He is the superstitious one in the family and was unusually calm when my mother told him the actual snake was found in their room. My sister who had a pet water snake in her room might feel devastated once she hears this. I on the other hand feels relief and guilt at the same time.

I don't even know what kind of snake it was. Our maid told us that it was a TANKING or a Philippine Cobra, which is highly toxic. With that knowledge I feared for Harvey and our dogs for constantly sniffing on the grounds and now expected to hunt for these snakes. My mother immediately commissioned them to it upon remembering from an article she read that cats are good killers of snakes, but I reminded her that no one, not even a giant of a human who isn't an expert can't be reliable in getting rid of a Philippine Cobra or any Cobra for that matter.

* The juvenile snake we saw in my parents' room

*A common house snake (

Highly skeptical if it is really indeed a Philippine Cobra, my brother and I tried to study the prints to that of the juvenile snake we caught. With what we've gathered, we highly believe the juvenile snake is just one of those common, defenseless house snakes we saw on the net. But of course we are not snake experts. We could never be sure. Also, rest assured that by next week my mother would call someone to inspect the house grounds for the possibility of more snakes. Until that clearance comes, we're all silently on a look out.

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