Fear Temporarily Suspended by Compassion


So I drove back into my garage today and noticed one of our bug glue traps was just outside the garage.  I actually had seen that trap there yesterday but was too lazy to but it back.  I parked the car and got out intending to place that trap back inside the garage, when I was stunned to see a snake hanging out of the glue trap.  I immediately tensed up in defense.

I carefully thought about what I would do.  I could just pretend it’s not there and close the garage door and let it slide away.  But wait.  It was directly in the path of the garage door. If I closed it, it might squash the snake.  OK.  I’m a bit squeamish about having a half squashed snake at the front of my garage.  Not to mention the guilt for knowingly killing him. So I thought more.  … I grabbed a special long reach grabbing tool and then prepared to scare or fend the snake out of the garage area then just close the garage door.

And as I approached the snake stretched out away from me and stood still.  He was trying to get away.  Then I realized he was stuck by the glue inside the bug trap. And then I suddenly felt sorry for the snake.  He wasn’t too big, maybe about a foot long.  I picked up the trap with the grabber tool with the snake writhing away, trying so desparately to get away.  I looked inside the trap and saw a good part of him was stuck all over, along with a bunch of dead bugs.   Oh man … he’s really stuck.

I thought more.  I ran inside, grabbed scissors and some leather gloves.  I picked up one end of the trap and asked the snake: “please don’t bite me”.  My plan was to cut enough of the trap away from his body so that he could at least crawl away.  I mean when I placed the snake in the grass, he could almost pull the entire trap with him.  But he was mostly stuck and would certainly die if left him that way.  So I started to cut, hands inches from his body, being careful not to harm his body with the scissors.  But then the scissors started getting stuck in the glue and then each cut started to cause the trap to flail around slightly and also flail the snake around back at me … ahhh!

Oh boy.  What a predicament.  I looked inside the trap and his body was even more wound up.  It looked real bad.  Then I thought briefly that I’d just carry the entire trap with snake into some remote bush and leave him there to perish.  But I couldn’t.

I looked at the print on the outer part of the bug trap and it described all the bugs it would trap, as well as small mice and snakes.  Then a brief critical voice blamed me for not putting trap away the day before. If I had done this the snake wouldn’t be here and now I’m faced with having to knowingly put a snake to a slow eventual death.  Another voice says this is nature and if you were smaller and the snake larger, he’d have no problem killing you.  Besides out on his own he’d always be at risk of being eaten by a large bird or run over  by a car.

I was turmoiled.  The snake actually started to look a bit cute. He was definitely terrified.  So I thought if there was some way to maybe dissolve the glue.  I read the directions on the outside of another bug trap and saw a paragraph on “human release”. The directions mentioned using vegetable or mineral oil and then using your hands to loosen the animal off the glue — WHAT!! I thought.  YOU WANT ME TO PEEL A TERRIFIED SNAKE with my fingers off very sticky glue!!  I could just see me starting to peel away snake skin from glue.  That’s got to hurt for the snake so that snakes going to lash all over me — This was not going to work.

I ran back inside and found a bottle of mineral oil and started pouring some over the snakes body where he was stuck to the glue.  There was no way I was going to get my fingers on his body, but I was hoping maybe the mineral oil would possibly dissolve the glue.  So the snake was covered in oil, writhing and still stuck. I then noticed his skin seemed to be getting slightly looser.

So I picked up the trap with writhing snake with my grabber tool.  I walked over to a remote bush area, oil dripping off the head of the snake.  I placed him on the ground and immediately the snake started pulling with all his strength towards the nearest tree.  He dragged the trap with him, started crawling up a tree with more of his body free.  He actually was getting loose and was almost completely free, except for one tiny area that I didn’t put oil on,

I thought briefly if I should bend down and put in more oil … but I waited because I could see he was very mobile and capable of striking me hard … So I silently prayed and cheered on the snake.  “Go go go … pull harder … pull harder”

And then he was free!!


He went up the tree slightly.  Then he dropped down and moved so fast along the grass away from me.  He was runningly so magnificently away from me into safety… Yeah.  I felt so happy for him.  But probably more for me as I didn’t have live with having killed a snake, I over rode a fear and I treasured life.

I thought more that this was also a creature that might prey on small birds and maybe someday scare or bite a small loved pet or human.  Oh well.  “The circle of Life” I thought to myself.  I don’t have much wisdom but much confusion and conflict.

I am content to have for about 20 minutes of my time offer great love and compassion to a creature I will likely never see again and no one else will ever have witnessed or known.  Oh well I better get ready to mow the lawn.

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