Basement Snake

Since Caine’s over posting badgers and mushrooms, I thought I’d drop a snake.

Basement snake

“Basement Snake”

I have problems with mice. They’re adorable but they eat books and soap and cannot be negotiated with. One year a mouse family made winter residence in one of the pockets of my ancien regime justaucorps and, when I wore it out to a fancy dinner, I discovered I had a pocket full of mouse poop. If I could convince them not to eat the books, I’d tolerate them. But, one day I discovered the mouse population seemed to be going away, and then I met “basement snake” — BS is just a milk snake (I hope!) but like many snakes he’s pretty good at pretending to be a rattler. BS’ primary residence is under the freezer chest in the basement, which is fine with me. Occasionally there are big streaks of snake poo (formerly mouse) but BS doesn’t eat books, so he’s welcome.

I’ve had a variety of snakes in the basement over the course of years. There is a whole line of black rat snakes that come in and out whenever they want to molt (which is also fine: they don’t eat books)

Router Snake

Router Snake

Router snake used to like the heat plume that came out of the side-vent of the T1 router. (Actually, I guess he should probably be “Firewall Snake” because that’s not a barebones router… Or perhaps “VPN Viper”…)   The T1 got decommissioned so the black rats tend to hide in some other inscrutable place.

I’m not scared of snakes but I admit I did a bit of yelping and running one time I was loading up the washing machine and I felt water dribbling across my foot, looked down, and discovered it was a 6 foot black rat snake leaving in a huff.


Mushroom, Badger, Snake, the collection is complete.


  1. lorn says

    Looks like what is known down here in Florida as a gray rat snake. The narrowness of the head, lack of a brow, and round pupils (hard to tell from the photos on that last one) that it isn’t poisonous. Rat snakes are considered to be good pets. Follow the rules of snake etiquette: announce your presence, move smoothly and slowly, approach from below their head, and don’t grip, keep your hands open so it doesn’t feel constrained; and you can slowly establish a relationship.

    I have two rat snakes. They are docile to the point of affection. Mine are housebroke and prefer to poop outside.

  2. ledasmom says

    Ooh, I wonder if I can acquire a basement snake. My husband might never do laundry again, but I think it would be worth it to have such a handsome housemate.

  3. says

    That’s super interesting! I thought snakes were kind of … not very smart. So they can be trained?

    I do wish they didn’t poop and leave shed skins all over the basement, but, did I mention, they leave my books alone? They leave my books alone!! And if I ever find snakes nesting in my clothes or shoes, I may re-assess the whole thing and try to get a basementferret.

  4. says

    Basement snake is very nice. You can probably train basementhusband using toxic masculinity as leverage. Or desensitize him by positive exposure to snake.

    Joking aside, I had a friend who was terrified of snakes, and I nipped down and grabbed routersnake, and brought h* up for dinner, in a clear plastic box. By the time we had all had a nice dinner with router snake coiled up sitting in the box, my friend had gotten over their fear and was acknowledging that routersnake was kind of beautiful. Wine helps.

  5. ledasmom says

    Husband is not susceptible to the call of toxic masculinity when creepy-crawlies are involved, although, to be fair, I don’t think snakes are a big “no!” with him. Spiders, wasps, bees and so forth are mine to deal with.
    Were you doing laundry in bare feet? It’s odd; when I read that I could quite clearly recall the sensation of a large snake moving over skin, the weight and relative coolness of the body and the feel of the scales. We rarely see sizeable wild snakes around here, unfortunately, but garter snakes are common and, at certain times of year, fearless to the point that you can hunker down and watch them breathe.
    I did hear of a house that had several hundred garter snakes move in for the winter, which might be too much even for me.

  6. lorn says

    Marcus Ranum @4:
    Sorry it took time to get back to this thread. My PC died a slow and messy death. The HD died, then their were GPU issues and nagging issues that made use a nightmare. All after I switched completely to Linux. Sooo … new HD install. The unit bricked so all new. Then it looked like a possible PSU failure – replace it … no joy. Need to research MBs but my computer is too sick to use.

    I recently inherited an ancient laptop and had planned on donating it. Into the breach. The Vista OS refused to recognize its own network card or network through the USB port. The Wi-Fi works but the unit won’t handshake. Soooo … I dropped Vista and loaded Linux. Network card works, just a bit. But I can now network through the USB port. Ohhh Joy :) .

    I’ve not used a laptop before. Damn the thing is frustrating. If I could kill ‘hover click’ it would be soooo much easier.

    Anyway, I don’t really train the snakes as such. I socialize them and get them comfortable around people. They seem to prefer to eliminate outdoors. When temperatures are close to 80F I walk with them. Walking is my exercise and mental health therapy. Taking the snakes gets them some fresh air and sunshine and along the way I find a sunny spot and set them down. They slither around a bit and, after a few minutes, poop.

    These are tame snakes. Even the wild-caught one, caught in May, are so comfortable around people that kids, with a little supervision, handle them without incident. They will let you know when they are getting stressed. Biting is clearly a last resort. They have no poison and their teeth are tiny, but very sharp.

    They will never be as warm and affectionate as a dog but they clearly trust me and grace me with a calm indifference.