Stow-Away Snake

By Liz, already wishing for summer…it’s freezing in these parts!

So Barb had a teaser the other day in the blog about a stow away story I’d shared with the Wickeds at one of our retreats. I thought in keeping with the theme of her release day for Stowed Away, I’d share my story with all of you. But I’ve gotta warn you – it’s pretty disturbing!

So it was a really hot summer day – the kind I’m wishing for right now, in fact – and I was off to work. I was working in Hartford at the time. I was wearing sandals, and these particular sandals tended to slide off my feet. So I didn’t think much of it when I was driving and my toe brushed up against something. I thought it was the gas pedal, that maybe my shoe had shifted or something. Forgetting about it, I reached over to pick up my coffee from the center console.

And a snake slithered right through the console and vanished into the backseat of my car.

I’m pretty sure I screamed. I have no idea how I didn’t rear end the 18-wheeler in front of me. Oh, and did I mention I was merging from one highway onto another?

I had no idea what to do. In my mind, the snake was the size of a boa constrictor, and I imagined it was readying itself to wrap around my neck and strangle me, causing a fifty-car pileup on I-84 and killing me instantly. So I was driving looking over my shoulder to make sure this didn’t happen.

Being in the middle of a merge, there weren’t a lot of places to pull over. When I finally reached a spot where I could get on the shoulder safely, I did so, then jumped out of the car and opened all the doors. I had no idea what to do next.

I didn’t see my passenger anywhere. I checked the whole backseat, pulled out the dog’s blanket, checked under the seats. Nothing. At this point, my hair was suffering from the 80-degree, high humidity weather, and I must’ve looked like a crazy person on the side of the road. Or a drunk person, although it was barely nine a.m.

I wandered to the front passenger side of the car and happened to glance in the window. I wish I had been thinking clearly enough to take a picture of what I saw.

The contaminated purse

This snake, who was clearly messing with me, had hopped into my Coach purse and was sitting there, looking around, tongue sliding in and out as he surveyed his new domain.

I opened the door, took the entire purse and threw it down the embankment. Then I waited ten minutes to make sure he’d slithered away, and I went and collected my things. I had some qualms about the bag itself – I mean, what if there were snake eggs in it or something?? but in the end I had no choice, since I had no other purse.

I went to work, a bit late and a bit disheveled, but I have to admit it’s been a great story ever since.

Oh – and it took me a few days to figure out how he’d come to stow away in my car. I’d put a bag of recycling that had been in my trunk in the driveway because I needed the room. When I put the bag back in  my car, it must’ve had a bit more than water bottles in it…

Readers, has anything creepy ever showed up in your moving vehicle? Or anywhere else it wasn’t supposed to be?

42 Thoughts

  1. That is terrifying! Kudos for not wrecking instantly. And, by the way, where is a cop when you need one? The police report for that would have brought instant fame. I can see it on the 6PM news – recidivist reptile runs out! Do you still use the purse? It’s gorgeous.

  2. Gah! I remember you telling that story but seeing it written is even better…or worse. In our house in the capital of Burkina Faso, we had geckos living on the walls. Inside. They don’t hurt people and they catch mosquitoes, so we left them alone. Mostly they hung out near the tops of the walls. But once I was putting away my sons clean clothes on shelves in a closet and a big-eyed gecko budged, starting at me from the back wall of the cubby. Gah again!

  3. Oh, wow, Liz! What a crazy story! Mine is similar but doesn’t hardly compete. I used to drive a convertible, and one day on a busy beltway, a spider lowered itself from the driver’s side sun visor, stopping directly at eye level. Like you, I’m surprised I made it to the side of the road safely, and by then it had dropped somewhere else into the car (maybe on me in the process).

    Only thing I can imagine is that it climbed aboard at some point while I was parked with the top down. Ugh. Never found it, which was one of the most disturbing parts. Kept waiting for it to show up again…..

  4. Liz, your story could give me nightmares! My worst surprise story was driving toddlers someplace and a spider began to spin down from the overhead light. They were hysterical! It was a tiny little spider, too, but I cleaned that car with pine scented cleaner (which is supposed to repel spiders) to the point that we had to drive with windows down for a week. I wonder what smell repels snakes?

  5. I remember when you first told us that story! I’m pretty sure we were in tears from laughing so hard picturing the whole thing. What are friends for besides laughing at dramatic stories?!

  6. Like Art, the worst story I can remember (not counting meeting herds of cows or flocks of sheep meandering across the road) was once when I borrowed my husband’s old clunker of a car. I was driving along on a local road, and suddenly a black spider descended right in front of me, swinging from a strand of silk, and stopping at eye level. I swatted it away, and it disappeared somewhere. Never did find the critter. Gave the car back to my husband ASAP.

  7. My worst was when we visited my husband at Officer Training Camp in Columbia, SC. I was cooking hamburger meat for tacos for dinner. Went inside and found a giant brown recluse spider on the meat. After flicking in into the hot frying pan, I went back outside and announced we were going out for dinner.

  8. Snakes and spiders make such good stories.
    Snake: When I was about 7 in 1950s, electric and telephone wires ran through some trees before entering our house at the attic. Mother went up to find one of those “in the attic” things and noticed what she thought was drooping BX (electric cable covered with metal) cable across a short peak. She reached for it, It slithered, but head and tale remained hidden. Screams, trying to remain calm for small children, she called my dad (20 minutes away) and the community caretaker, Otto, who lived next door. Just as Daddy arrived on the scene, Otto shot the snake as it raised its head slightly above the wire, using his WWII rifle. It was just plain scary — never watched shooting on all the cowboy TV shows in quite the same way!

    1. That is too funny – my old neighbor, who was a parole officer, encountered a garter snake in her basement. She called me freaking out, and after I told her I sure as heck wasn’t coming to deal with it, she shot it. 🙂

  9. Liz, how did you ever not slam into that 18 wheeler or any other thing? I used to drive that stretch of 84 a lot and not hitting or getting hit was difficult without distractions! Thank you for your snake tale.

  10. Barb, I’m impressed that you kept it together enough to merge, and then to pull over safely.

    I keep my car windows up at all times, even on nice days, because a horsefly once got trapped in my car while I was out in the country. Horseflies, for those who’ve never experienced these terrors, are HUGE, and their bite is very nasty–they can draw blood. Luckily, I was able to stop and get it out of the car without getting bitten.

    But the worst experience I ever had with unexpected wildlife was long ago when our washer and dryer were in the basement, outside of which was woods. I went to pull a load out of the washer, open the lid, and a garter snake fell out of the top. I’m pretty sure our neighbors three doors down heard my scream. I’m not afraid of snakes, but I am easily startled, and that sure fit the situation.

  11. Most critters don’t scare me, but a snake in the car would be a huge exception! You responded admirably, Liz.

    Once when resting in an open cabin in the Bolivian rain forest, I had a tarantula fall out of the natural material ceiling onto my pillow next to my head. I turned as it fell and saw it right by my face, but I didn’t look for long. I probably broke some kind of speed record for standing up. It clearly moved fast, too, because I never found it. I slept in a different cabin that night.

      1. OMG. 😮 I wouldn’t be as calm as you were with the snake. I doubt very much I would avoid an accident.

  12. I don’t know whether to laugh or shriek. What a story! I may be a bit more careful getting into my car this afternoon. There have been snake sightings in my garage during the summer. Ewwww…

  13. I don’t know how you kept control of the car – I would have freaked! Have to admit that I can’t stop laughing when I wonder what other drivers thought when they saw you heaving your bag down the embankment. Do you still have that bag?

  14. Like others, I too have heard this story several times, but reading it was way more disturbing! It’s like the beginning of a Black Mirror episode or something.

  15. I would have had a heart attack and my hope would be that it wouldn’t happen until I pulled over so no one else would also be killed by the snake. Makes me wonder about the history of other objects in a consignment shop…

  16. That is some story!! I think I would have crashed the car for sure.

    I do have a story. One day I was going through my garage to get to my mailbox to check the mail. It was a very hot day. As I walked through I felt something lightly hit the top of my head. I was having an anxiety-ridden day and didn’t really think about it. I stood at the mailbox and went through my mail and then I proceeded to make my way back through the garage when I remembered that something had hit my head. Probably a leaf I thought. So I put my head down and shook it and a black lizard hit the ground and ran off. I was so dazed that day I just shook my head and thought “story of my life.” You see, when it’s very hot outside lizards hang out on the rungs inside of our garage. When the door lifts they fall off. One fell off onto my head precisely when I was walking through to check the mail. I’ve gotten a lot of laughs out of that crazy, but very true story.

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