You CoTHers are influencing me with all this snake talk...
I let a snake live yesterday. Totally uncharacteristic of me. I do NOT like snakes. Actually, I'm terrified of snakes. I'm generally not too wimpy, but they can actually make me cry, given the right level of surprise and proximity.
I walked into my small barn yesterday morning and upon entering the feed room (a converted stall), there's Mr. Black Snake playing contortionist/gymnast, hanging from the header on the back wall, winding his way behind the gap at the top of the plywood wall, looking for breakfast.
AAAARRRGGGHHHH! Of course, my first reaction was to grab the shovel. And I stood there and watched him ~snake~ his way along the top of the back wall. >>shudder<<
And I thought of CoTH...and all the I-love-my-black-snake-in-the-barn stories. All the they-kill-rodents accounts (considering my barn was overrun with mice last winter). All the they-keep-other-snakes-away legends (which I understand might be mythical, but if one person claims it's true, I'll cling to hope). All the they-are-good-creatures pleas. And I felt a little soft spot somewhere deep inside (did I really just say that?!?!).
But still...sharing this small space with him??? So I ran outside to call my DH off the mower to get him to relocate Mr. Black Snake at least to the woods for the time being. But upon our return to the barn he was...gone. GULP. And the horses were waiting very impatiently to be fed. And I had to go in there. DOUBLE GULP.
SO now I'm living in a perpetual state of fear, like the stalked girl in a bad horror flick, constantly checking over my shoulder.
Truly, he's not out to get you, he doesn't want to be near you any more than you want to be near him, which is why he left. And he's a great natural rodent control system - quiet, effective, and clean.
He really IS a good guy, even though his packaging gives you the creeps. Let him stay
The more you see snakes around, the better you will get at not letting yourself go into a panic, kind of immunizing yourself to snakes.
I'm not so sure of that - we have had many around here, and I still panic when I see one. I agreed to let the non-poisonous ones live (after DH killed two rat snakes that scared me and we both felt awful). But I still have been known to cry when I see one. I TRY not to be a wimp, I do! (I learned my fear from my dad who is truly phobic. I am not as bad as him, and I hope I can hide my unreasonable fear from my daughter so that she won't be scared at all!)
I saw a documentary several years ago that suggested we may be genetically programmed to 'run away' from snakes and spiders as a survival tactic.
It was noted that because woman tended to have more fear, it was probably due to their role of child raising.
I don't mind (non-poisonous) snakes at all, I think they are neat. Mr. OR, on the other hand, detests them (I think he's scared of them but would never admit it.). We occasionally see a garter snake in our yard but that's it.
Good for you, OP!
What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!
Yay OP, but I'm sorry for the fear you are feeling about seeing him again. I do not have phobias, but I know better than to tell someone with a phobia to just stop being afraid. Irrational means just that-- it's not something you can think your way out of. All you can do is think your way through the correct response, try to control the actions you take. Which is what you did, and that's pretty damn heroic.
Speaking in general, I wonder if the phobia is more about a) the startle factor. Usually they're well hidden so our first sight of the snake is when we're quite close and they suddenly move away. This makes them seem sneaky when actually it's just that we're spectacularly inattentive
and 2) they move so mysteriously. When startled by animals with legs, in an instant we can intuitively make sense of how they move, what an aggressive posture looks like, even something so basic as what direction they're going to go. That slithering side-winding motion is hard for us to "interpret" in the heat of the moment. So maybe that contributes to the phobic type of fear, because we can't understand them.
We get pygmy rattlers here. Poisonous, yes. Aggressive, no. I told hubby (who was raised with good old fashioned okie values: the only good wildlife is dead wildlife) that he is expressly forbidden from killing them unless his own life is in danger. We get some sort of water snake down at the pond too, but it skedaddles too quick for me to identify it.
I don't like snakes. I have one hay storage shed that frequently has a snake hanging out. I use my rake to gently ask the creature to move on until I can get the hay out. But I hate it when I pull down a top bale and a snake comes down with it. Want to see an old lady run fast?