I don't like snakes.
So when I saw my wife standing outside on our deck, knocking excitedly on our locked sliding glass door, yelling "I need some manicure scissors to save a snake," I was pretty damn impressed with her animal-compassion.
I rushed to a bathroom drawer and found the scissors. Later I heard another knock. And saw...
I've never even touched a snake, much less held a large one up in the air. This iPhone photo doesn't do justice to the size of the gopher snake. Here's how Laurel described her snake adventure in an email to her family.
Yesterday I spent about an hour or more rescuing a large gopher snake from entanglement in a big wad of netting we had used to cover some big windows to deter a randy robin from waking us up every dawn during nesting season (as the robin tried to attack its reflection in our big bedroom windows).
Brian had left the netting in a wad on the back patio, thinking we might need it again. I found the snake terribly stuck in it, as it tried to stretch through, one end in and one end out. Only a few inches of the head was out, with about 5 inches wound inside the wad, and about 2 1/2 feet of it still outside in the back.
The more it tried to get through, the tighter the plastic caught it, and it couldn't retreat because of the scales on its bottom. The plastic netting did not tear, and just stretched very tight around it's body in a number of places.
I had Brian get a little finger nail scissors, and I worked at cutting the bands that were tightly stuck on its body, as it writhed around and hissed at me. However, once I relieved some of the bands and got a certain amount freed up, it seemed to know I was helping it and calmed down, stopped hissing, and reduced the writhing.
It was a little creepy when it would wind its tail around my leg, but I had to get it free. Finally I got it free of the mass of netting, and it was calm enough that i got the remaining bands cut. I managed to carefully cut the bands without drawing any blood, and just messing up a few scales.
I had my grubby clothes on, so I may not look too great, but I brought the snake to show Brian when it was freed and he took my picture with it and the wad of black netting it had gotten into (apparently thinking it was some sort of dirt). It doesn't look that big in the picture, but if you notice, the head goes off to the right after a bend. In all it was pretty long.
So, I guess plastic debris on the ground can be just as bad for wildlife as plastic debris in the sea.