Today I went down to our basement and found a little baby Northern Ringneck snake ( Diadophis punctatus edwardsii ). I have never seen a snake in our house before. But the real surpise was the situation that I found him in. Apparently he must have been small enough to crawl between the crack around our basement door. I found him about 2 inches from the door (or less) caught in a spider web!
At first I thought he might be dead. He was just hanging there in the web a couple of inches off the concrete floor. Apparently he had gotten caught in the web, and then only made his situation worse by writhing around and wrapping himself up more and more and more. (Which is what happens to most things that get caught in spider webs.) But after watching him for a couple of minutes I saw him move just a little.
I caught him and we took him out side. My husband brought out an old aquarium tank and I put him in that, to try to work on him. I didn’t want to leave him in the shape that he was in. He was covered from head to tail in spiderweb. And his head was stuck to his tail. And there was an excess of it wrapped around his head and mouth like an overzealous muzzle. I wish I had thought to take a photo of him before I started freeing him, because it was a really shocking site. But I didn’t think of it until I had him 3/4 of the way cleaned off. The more free I got him, the more easy it became for him to strike at me. He had no idea I was trying to help him of course. So he was striking fairly often. My husband was sure I was going to get bit. And honestly I figured I might too. But I didn’t want to leave him like that to suffer. And Northern Ringnecks aren’t poisionous so if I got bit it would be a big deal anyway.
I pulled what I could off with my hands, but ended up having to use tweezers to get a better grip. I tried to be very gentle, as snakes can get infections if their scales get ruffed up or injured. And those infections can go on to later kill them. So I was very cautious. I couldn’t believe how difficult the process was. He was really wrapped up good ! I ended up having to get some tiny scissors and make some cuts on the web because there was a couple of strands of dog hair caught in the mess, keeping me from pulling it apart. The whole process took probably an hour. Maybe an hour and a half.
Here are some photos after he was about 3/4 cleaned off :
Below are some photos of him after he was free of excessive amounts of spiderweb:
Isn’t that a neat reflection above?
He was very stressed during all of this. But after I got him clear he seemed to relax a great deal. And he even spent some time just casually checking me out with curiousity. Almost like “Why did this giant free me? Maybe it doesn’t want to eat me after all.” 🙂
Now he’s like…”Ok I’m ready to leave now.”
My husband walked him to a safe place in the woods where he could go on about his business – spiderweb free. 😉