Blairsville, GA — Last week, little did I know that sitting in the serenity of my home on a cold winter day would quickly turn chaotic, stressful, and informative. While I was studying for a college test in the comfort of my living room, my dog Gollum alerted me to an event that, after almost 5 years of living in the mountains, would forever alter my way of supplying the fireplace with logs.

Gollum let out two loud barks from the kitchen, which I quickly dismissed, but then let out a loud yelp that I did not ignore. I rushed to see what the matter was and saw him limping and licking his front left leg. Still not knowing what happened, I walked over to him, and just as I did a 2 ½ foot long, Copperhead snake sprang at my right leg. The snake narrowly missed me but Gollum was not so lucky! I jumped away from the snake, shooed Gollum upstairs, and told my roommate to immediately contact the Vet. I was worried that Gollum might have gotten a fatal bite and that if I did not handle that snake quickly the Copperhead might bite someone else.

Who in his right mind would ever consider that a snake would be slithering around in January after three weeks of below freezing temperatures? As my roommate quickly got Gollum in his car and drove him to the vet, I stood guard in the kitchen where the snake had slithered under the refrigerator. Not knowing what to do at this point, I called a few friends to help in the search and capture of this unwanted and unwelcome visitor. After Brad and Tyler Niebrand’s arrival, which seemed like an eternity but was actually about 20 minutes, the search began to capture the snake. Not sure if the snake had slithered elsewhere without me seeing it through the chaos, Brad and I tore the house apart.

After the other locations were searched and the snake not found, we decided to take off the back panel of the refrigerator. Just as I removed the last screw, and slowly tilted down the panel, THERE IT WAS! Coiled up and ready to strike again. I reached for the machete to show the snake I meant business! I got one puncture wound on his head but this was not enough to disable him. The snake slithered quickly to the coils of the refrigerator where it was unreachable.

After about an hour of cat and mouse, chasing the snake from front to back and around the coils, another friend Joe Nickerson rushed in to help. Joe brought with him a ¾ inch-4-foot long PVC pipe with a small cable rope threaded through to make a noose on the open end. Finally, this tool would help in capturing the beast. After a few more minutes of cat and mouse games with the snake, we captured it in the noose of the cable. The snake was carried outside and met his maker.

After a careful discussion, it was decided that the load of firewood I had carried in earlier was the winter hibernating spot for the snake. There was a small hole in one of the logs and, apparently, the snake was in the cavity, thawed out in the warmth of the home, and crawled out of the log, its fatal mistake. Knowing that a Copperhead this size can crawl into an opening the size of a dime, I have now decided to bring in one or two logs at a time and immediately put them in the fireplace. No longer will I stack firewood in the log holder in the living room.

Gollum is fine now, although his leg looks deformed from the swelling. He will be on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications for the next week. I guess we could say that Gollum took heroic measures in alerting me to the snake, taking a bullet (so-to-speak) when facing down the snake in the kitchen.

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Scott Anna

Scott Anna

Scott Anna is a writer and artist in Blairsville, Ga. His Web site is www.scottanna.com.

16 Comments
  1. Scott Anna

    It was necessary to kill the snake because I had first injured it when trying to retrieve it from under the fridge. Don’t worry I don’t live with the philosophy that “The only good snake is a dead snake”. I believe all creatures have a reason to exist!

  2. Frank Povah

    Thanks Scott – I was just curious. I like snakes you see, though they don’t seem to be aware of the fact. In Australia it’s usually “snake! kill it before it thinks about biting someone!” I must learn not to tar everyone with the same bush.

  3. Cathleen Hulbert

    Scott, I hope this amazing story can spare someone else, be it human or man’s best friend. I know how passionate you are about wildlife. Thanks for all that you do to raise awareness about the sacredness of animals. Dying was not an option that day and I know that you did what had to be done with the snake. The bears need you! Keep on writing.

  4. Scott:
    I am so happy you guys are alright. After staying there for the weekend in your beautiful home with my sister and son, I came to know you and your love for all of God’s creatures even better. You did what you had to do to protect yourself and your loved ones, but your first choice would have been for that snake to have ventured outside on its own and be back in its own environment. We look forward to coming back up to visit soon!

  5. Scott Anna

    Thank you Cathy, and yes the only reason for writing this article was for awareness. I myself had never thought about when carrying in firewood and sitting it next to the fireplace in a holder that it could also bring in a snake. I would have thought the snakes were hibernating back in the woods, in brush piles, etc…
    Frank: don’t worry about the tarring! With my stance against hunting, especially the American Black Bear, I have been ostracized on many occasions with my writings.

  6. Scott Anna

    Thank you Michael. You know that you guys are welcome anytime up here to share in the beauty of this area, and me filling yours ears with bear stories.

  7. Frank Povah

    I have always wondered about Americans’ penchant for hunting things. Is it a hangover from pioneer days or does the right to bear arms have something to do with it? I don’t think I’d like to actually meet a bear face to face – give me a brown snake any day – but I don’t want to shoot one either. I’m a bit disappointed about what’s going on in Kentucky re the b’ars. Both my neighbors are huntin’ ‘n’ shootin’ men, but they’re nice men too and I accept that they have a right to do so. Many Australians also like to kill things for fun, but gun ownership laws make it a little more difficult.
    I apologize if I offended you with my original remarks – I was ever one for foot-in-mouth disease.

  8. Scott Anna

    You didn’t offend me Frank, just like I, you have the right to share your opinion. I always appreciate feedback about what I write, with the positive comes negative. Thankfully for the past 4 years of writing for newspapers, magazines and now the internet, I mostly get positive. All you asked was “Why was it necessary to kill the snake?”, not something I would take as negative criticism! Like I said earlier “the only reason for writing this article was for awareness. I myself had never thought about when carrying in firewood and sitting it next to the fireplace in a holder that it could also bring in a snake. I would have thought the snakes were hibernating back in the woods, in brush piles, etc…” Get the word out, pass on this link, make people aware that they could easily bring into their house something that could be potentially fatal to children, small dogs, cats, and create an uncomfortable homelife in a normally comfortable home.

  9. Frank Povah

    I shall one day write a piece to reinforce your attitude – a real-life brown snake adventure (an eastern brown snake Pseudonaja textilis, extremely dangerous and fairly aggressive) involving an inefficient old refrigerator and a trip to the Australian Museum.

  10. Scott Anna

    If you haven’t yet you can view other articles I have written that are posted on my website. Click on my name it will take you there. Then click on “my repertoire of writings”

  11. Terri Evans

    Scott, I finally summoned the courage to open your story! I was fearful that there would be a photo of the copperhead. I can’t even bear to look at pictures of snakes – especially copperheads. I always know when there’s been a photo of a snake in the newspaper because my husband cuts them out before I see the picture. Yes, very silly, I know. I DO have SOME courage related to other things (crisis in general, for instance), but NOT when it comes to snakes. It seems I inherited both from my mother. So happy to see only pictures of your pup and sad to see that he was injured. Now for a brief snake story of my own, although it’s difficult for me to even type the word s-n-a-k-e. We lived for several years on Nancy Creek Road in Buckhead, which was indeed near water, but was also not exactly rural (I mean this was Buckhead). Despite this, I had many snake sitings there, including the first day we moved in our house (okay, the truth is, I didn’t see it off the screen porch – my husband did, and never told me until I had my own visual encounters). It’s downright spooky to me to admit that most of the “encounters” were on the first and last days we lived there. On the very day we decided to put the house on the market after 6 years, there were two such slithering creatures sunning on the hot-tub. That sealed the decision for me. On the day the moving vans came, two more such creatures slithered through the doggie door and into the kitchen. I suppose they were saying good-bye, which suited me just fine! Oh yes, and then there was the day I almost stepped on one the size of a sea monster (at least it seemed that way)! It was curled up and sunning on the sidewalk beside the gate to the courtyard. I ran like hell to my car, locked the doors and squealed out of the driveway. I headed straight to Home Depot where my husband was, had him paged and the rest became a laugh track for my husband whenever the topic comes up. Despite the fact that our next door neighbor (a “man’s man”) later killed the sea monster in his garage and swore to the size of the thing, my husband still doubts the veracity of my own description. I’m just sorry that my husband never saw it when the neighbor actually packed it in a LARGE cooler and toted the thing all the way up to North Georgia to show it off. BTW, we live in a high-rise now.

  12. Scott Anna

    Thank you Terri for your great insight, although-it-be-fear, and am glad that you finally built up the courage to read my article. Your stories are great, enjoyed this posting. Gollum is much better now, he had his last dose of medication this morning. The swelling has gone down and he is back to chasing squirrels and deer in the backyard. I will be taped by a reporter tomorrow morning on 11Alive News sharing this story (mine), and making those who have been unaware that they may be bringing in snakes-even during the winter. This occurrence has definitely changed our way of snuggling up to a warm fireplace on cold evenings. No more pile of wood next to the fireplace, or on the front porch. The firewood that is brought into the house goes directly to the fire.

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