Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara Larry

A Snake in the House

Later in the summer I caught a yellow rat snake that was about two feet long.  Our fish had all died making the 10 gallon aquarium available, so I made a screen top for it, put some sawdust in the bottom and put the snake in it and placed it on the top of the bookcase that was in the family room.  Dad didn’t say anything about it, he probably done the same as a boy, but Mom wasn’t too happy about it.  Well snakes like any animal need feeding, and it was a rat snake, but rats were not easy to come by, but mice were.  I could buy a mouse at the pet store for a dollar so once a week I would buy a mouse and put it in with the snake.  It was fascinating to watch, the mice at first did not notice the snake and  would scurry about, after all, they had never seen a snake before. The snake would quickly notice the mouse, slowly raise its head an inch with its forked tongue rapidly flicking in and out, move its head from side to side, raise its head more and coiling back into a S shape and then so quickly Yellow Rat Snake eatingthe I could hardly see it, strike at the mouse, grabbing it in its mouth and in a snap of your fingers wrap itself several times around the mouse slowly constricting it with the mouse’s eye bugling out as is struggled in vain and in a minute or two be dead.  The snake then would uncoil from the mouse and reposition to get the mouse’s head in its mouth and then ever so slowly, with the snake stretching its mouth open two or three times its normal size, swallow the mouse whole.  Over the next few hours, the mouse would travel as a lump in the snake as it made its way deeper into the snake. Over the next week the  lump would slowly subside and be ready for the next feeding.

After a couple of months, I decided that mice were getting expensive, so I decided to raise my own and bought a male and a female mouse and built a mouse house for them out, a box with a glass front and removable lid.  I put sawdust in the bottom for them and hung a single Christmas tree light a couple of inches of the bottom for light and heat.  I kept the mouse home on the floor of the bedroom.  It didn’t take long before the mice had five or six babies when it happened.  I was off somewhere but fortunately Mom was home when she smelled something burning and realized that the mouse cage was on fire, smoke pouring out of it.  It seems the mice had pilled the sawdust up into a small hill around the light which then caught on fire from the heat of the bulb.  It was more of a smoldering fire with the smoke killing the mice and their babies before Mom unplugged the light and poured water on it.  We were lucky that Mom was there, or the house could have burned down.  With no more mice and not wanting to buy anymore I let the snake go.

Updated: 10-31-2022