Tons of rain creates a lot of unpleasant problems. Streets flood. Rivers, streams and lakes overflow and invade basements and fields. 

I can’t think of one positive thing to say about a flood. So many people lose their homes, vehicles, even their lives. Property damage often totals hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The floods also impact animals. Livestock are often placed in jeopardy, and moving a herd is difficult. Finding a safe place for the animals can also be a problem. 

The rising water also affects wild animals. Deer, possums, skunks and other creatures are driven out of their natural habitats. Some will seek refuge in areas they usually avoid, which also puts humans at risk.

Most of those animals I can deal with, but when the snakes start showing up — that is a totally different matter. I do not like snakes. I don’t care what kind of snake it is, or how harmless it may be, I don’t want to be anywhere near it. 

I know that most of the snakes in this area are non-venomous, and are actually useful. If not for these creatures, we’d soon be overrun with rats and mice and other varmints that I don’t like to be around. 

While I totally dislike and even fear snakes, they have nothing to fear when they are around me. Fear is one of the reasons I never try to kill them. I can’t explain it, but there is just something about a snake that gives me the creeps. 

I shouldn’t be afraid of snakes. I grew up on a farm, and seeing a snake was not uncommon. Perhaps my fear stems from my mother who was deathly afraid of snakes. Dad always told us to leave them alone, but mom would scream and insist that we do away with them. Killing a snake meant that I had to get much closer to it than I wanted to be.

The bad thing about snakes is you never know where they are going to turn up. I hated being sent out to gather the eggs. The inside of the chicken coop was dark, and you had to feel around inside the nests to find out if there were any eggs. More than once, I reached in and found a big old bull snake there, enjoying the eggs I was supposed to collect. I was never bitten, but I always ran screaming out of the coop. Dad would just laugh, catch the snake and send it on its way to wherever bull snakes like to go when they aren’t scaring people. 

When my oldest son was a teenager, he wanted to keep a snake as a pet, and he wanted to keep it in his room. It was a small red tailed boa constrictor. I don’t remember where he got it and I went out of my way to stay out of his room. He’d feed it small, live baby mice he called “pinkys.” It was something I could never bring myself to watch. 

Just knowing we had a snake in the house was bad enough, but from time to time it would manage to escape its enclosure. Just knowing it was slithering around the house was enough to make me want to check into a motel until it was caught and confined. 

It would turn up in the most unlikely places, and for some reason I always seemed to be the one who found it. I think I lost a couple years of my life on each of those occasions. 

I’ll never forget the time I went to put some clothing in the washer and found that thing curled up inside of the lid. Another time I was getting ready for work, and as I tried to put on one of my dress shoes, I noticed something was inside. I reached in, and you guessed it, it was that darn snake. But the very worst was the time I heard our little pet bird thrashing around in its cage, and found that snake trying to have it for lunch. 

I wanted it gone, but after much debate, my son assured me he could fix the cage so the snake would never escape again. Somehow the snake still managed to find a way out. We searched and searched, but could not find it.

Weeks went by. The thought of that thing hiding out someplace in the house, doing who knows what was enough to make me want to move out. It had grown fairly large, which made me even more afraid of it. 

A month passed and we pretty much determined that it must have escaped the house and was now slithering around the city. That was fine with me. But a few weeks later, the snake finally turned up. I pulled into the garage late one night, and as I headed into the house, I saw it on the garage floor. I had accidentally ran over it and it was dead. 

I don’t like snakes, and I never wanted that snake to be in my house. But I did feel really bad about killing it. I felt remorse, but not enough to allow my son to have another snake. 

The wet weather hasn’t brought any snakes or other wild animals to my house. I am grateful for that, I know some residents haven’t been that lucky. I know this will sound crazy, but I think I’d almost rather have water in my basement than I would a snake. 

With my luck, I’d probably end up with both.

CourierTraveler reporter John Shelman can be contacted at (620) 442-4200 or

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