Snakes and Bugs – Parenting Plights & Delights

Lynn Kelley, Lynn Kelley Author, Parenting Plights and Delights, Curse of the Double Digits, BBH McChiller, Monster Moon mysteries

I asked my sister Cindy if she had any bug or snake stories, knowing how much her son Joker loved bugs as a kid. She told me about the time he was seven. Joker and his friend Joey found a stink bug and painted it pink with red and blue stripes, then sprinkled it with silver glitter.

1460048

Brown mamorated stink bug
(Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons)
(This is image is image No. 1460048 at Invasive.org)

The boys put it in a clear container and showed it to Joey’s mom, Shelli. “Oh, my gosh!” she exclaimed when she saw it, thinking it was a strange new species. She caught on quickly, though, when she saw the smirks on their faces.

Cindy also told me about another time when Shelli came over to borrow something on a dark wintry night. “Were your kids playing with rubber snakes today?” Shelli asked. She was barefooted and walked past one lying in the driveway. (They live in California.)

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)  (The original uploader was Dawson at English Wikipedia.)

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)
(The original uploader was Dawson at English Wikipedia.)

“No, they don’t have any rubber snakes,” Cindy told her.

Cindy’s two boys and Joey followed their mothers out front to check out the rubber snake. Shelli was about to pick it up when the boys suggested they throw something at it to make sure it wasn’t real.

So, Shelli threw a rock and the snake moved. Both moms screamed for Shelli’s husband Phil to come deal with the snake.

Phil checked it out and informed them, “It’s a baby rattlesnake.”

What wise little boys, huh?

That true tale makes me wince. I’m not fond of snakes or creepy crawlies. My son always wanted to get a pet snake. No way, no how. Not even a so-called harmless garter snake.

Lynn Kelley Author, Curse of the Double Digits, BBH McChiller, Monster Moon Mysteries

“Harmless” garter snake

If it gives us high blood pressure or a heart attack, it’s not harmless, right? Besides, I just discovered on Wikipedia that “recent discoveries have revealed they do, in fact, produce a mild neurotoxic venom.” Too mild to kill a human, “and they also lack an effective means of delivering it.”

Would you want a pet snake? My niece had a pet ball python. A few months ago, the snake got its very own credit card out of the blue in the mail. You can read about it here.

Lynn Kelley Author, Curse of the Double Digits, BBH McChiller, Monster Moon Mysteries

Do you have a funny or yucky bug story? If you missed the story about the shiny black beetle, you can read about it here.

Are you pro or con as far as slithering creatures and creepy crawlies? Please share in the comments.

Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory or another story you’d like to share?

If you’re not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too!

 Warning: I might feature your story in a future post.

(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I’d like to thank all those who have shared their stories.

These posts wouldn’t be the same without your input.

If you have a lengthy story that you don’t want to leave in the comment section, feel free to email me at: contact@lynnkelleyauthor.com

 

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35 Responses to Snakes and Bugs – Parenting Plights & Delights

  1. Pingback: New Post on My New Site | Lynn Kelley: Random Acts of Weirdness

  2. My 2nd born, Storm, loved any kind of non-traditional pet. She had a large tarantula that she loved. She had a large habitat for it. One day she found another tarantula outside. She decided the first one was lonely and needed a friend. The next morning, she yelled out my name. She found out the hard way that tarantula’s are very territorial. The only thing left of the smaller furry black spider was a few bits of its legs.

    • Yikers, Jolene, I gasped when I read the end of your comment. Not a pretty site. Isn’t it something how some kids like tarantulas? One of my nieces has always like them and other creepy crawlies. I got heebie jeebies just writing this post!

  3. Yvette Carol says:

    Yes, I’ll share a bug story. We get a rather large, ugly, critter down here called a weta – they have formidable heads and jaws, they bite and their jaws don’t let go, and their barbed feet can hook into you and hold on too.
    We used to have a clothesline that brushed up against a large hedge. Anyway, one day, I brought the washing in and when I was sorting it, I put the long-sleeved shirt straight on. I lifted my arm and saw sticking out of the end of the sleeve, two dead-straight antennae waving – the sort of extra-long & strong sort of antennae that can only belong to a weta – I yelped, and my arm flung out, away from me, out of instinct. But I was standing so close to the wall, that I whacked my hand against the wall quite hard, which hurt a lot, and I yelled again. I threw the shirt off me, and then the most annoying thing was, the weta had disappeared – I searched high & low, & couldn’t find it anywhere, it had shot out to kingdom come apparently – so I had to live for weeks afterwards, jumping at every little thing, thinking it was still in the house. Never did find that critter, it’s a mystery whatever happened to it.
    I have loads of critter stories too. But I’ll share one more for now… it happened recently (last year, I think), when I was working in the garden here. It was summer, I was wearing a long floaty shirt and pruning plants. Then, I noticed a tickle sensation on my back. I put my hand up the back of my shirt – and right away, I knew by the armoured feel of the body that it was a weta – you’ve never seen anyone strip a shirt off so fast! And yep, sure enough, on the underside of my shirt was a large weta. Sheesh! I had to run with the shirt on the end of a stick, up to the back of the garden, where I could deposit the weta on a shrub, and then discreetly dress in my shirt again behind the tree. Encounters with wetas tend to bring out the raw Neanderthal in a person… 🙂

  4. Oh, dang, Yvette, just reading about your run in’s with those wetas might give me nightmares tonight. I’d never heard of them before, and they sound like they’re right out of a horror movie. *shivers and shakes*

    Thanks for sharing these incidents with us. I’ll save them for future posts, and I look forward to cringing some more when you share your other bug stories!

  5. A baby rattlesnake? That was close. They’re even more deadly because they can’t control their venom.
    Not a fan of snakes and certainly don’t want one as a pet!

  6. Since the hub’s mom is no longer around to tell this tale, I will do it for her. When the hubs was three, she found him sitting under a grain silo holding a rattlesnake. That’s right. To this day they don’t know why it didn’t strike. When she could speak, she said sharply, “Put that down.” He did and the snake slithered away.

    We have a garter snake the lives in our yard. I am not happy about this, but am unclear how one evicts a garter snake. Sometimes it will sleep on my doorstep, preventing me from getting the mail until the sun moves. O.O

    (I like the new digs!)

    • Pauline, that incident about your hubby holding a rattlesnake at three years old is a heart stopper. I like how you said, “When she could speak.” I think it would take me awhile to find my voice, too.

      Bummer about the garter snake making himself at home on your doorstep. Better than a rattlesnake, though! Thanks for sharing these stories with us. Definitely will use them in a future post!

  7. If they don’t have legs, those critters scare the beejeebers out of me. AND they always find me.
    My son love ’em and once while driving home I noticed he was busy looking under the seat, and then at me. It seems one of his “pets”– a small green snake– had gotten loose in the car. I didn’t discover this until after we pulled into the garage and it slithered over my foot. Fortunately, the car was stopped and the brake on or who knows where we would have wound up?

  8. I do like snakes; I have a healthy respect for them and keep my distance. We have copperheads and timber rattlesnakes here (which are endangered). I love that they eat mice and tend to scare the chipmunks away too. One year, a copperhead took up residence under a blueberry bush so the &$?# chipmunks couldn’t steal all our berries. I told people it was our pet guard snake. 😉

    No, I wouldn’t let my kids keep one even if they’re wanted to. I believe that wildlife belong outside in their natural habitat. If they’d ever asked if they could take a turtle or frog or whatever home, I would have said “would you like it if some giant or space alien plucked you up and took you home away from all your family and friends?” 🙂

    Yvette’s weta story creeped me out!

    • Whoah, Teresa, copperheads! I’m not familiar with timber rattlesnakes. That’s funny that you told people the copperhead was your guard snake. I’d be afraid to pick the berries with that thing under the bush!

      I love what you would tell your kids if they wanted to take a critter home from the wild. Reminds me of one of Stephanie’s sci-fi short stories! Heehee!

      • Yvette Carol says:

        http://www.nhc.net.nz/index/insects-new-zealand/weta/weta.htm
        Here’s a link for anyone interested in what our darling native insect species looks like in all it’s formidable glory! Warning: not for the faint-hearted!
        They make a big warning sound by scraping their legs together against their body. You can hear the sound every now and again and that way, gauge how big the nearest critter in your garden is. It can be intimidating just hearing the sound. I wrote a children’s book called ‘Wally Weta’, and it took me a while to realize that really only we down here in this country actually know what a weta is! Ha ha 🙂

        • How big are wetas? Some of the pics look like crickets and others look like the stuff nightmares are made of. Eeekers! Thanks, Yvette.

          Since most people have never heard of wetas, except for those living in New Zealand, I think you should submit your Wally Weta picture book. Kids can learn what a weta is!

          • Yvette Carol says:

            Ha ha, these guys are the stuff nightmares are made of – even the little fellas are as freaky as all get-out – most people here have slight phobias about them. The pic of weta with back legs raised is scariest for me – because that’s when they’re in attack mode. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in this country who hasn’t had a run-in with one. When my gran moved here, she said once, after clearing some of her front garden, ‘there was an insect on the wall, and it was the biggest, ugliest thing I’ve ever seen’, and of course, we knew right away she’d met her first weta. Oh, and I forgot to mention they jump – they do the almightiest leaps you’ve ever seen – so that’s another scary thing, is when you see one, you don’t know if it’s going to jump on you. We did say ‘nightmare material’ didn’t we?
            Yes, I thought the same as you, Lynn, that considering they were an unknown, that would make them ideal candidates for a story. So, the plan was to include a picture of an actual weta and a blurb of info about them.
            Another weta story for you – I have tons. When my sister was little, she put her hand into the long grass to get her ball, and came out with the ball and a weta on the back of her hand. She screamed, shaking her hand for all she was worth. But the weta had hooked its barbs in, and wouldn’t come off. My dad had to come and hit it off with a spade, then he chopped it in half and both halves hopped around the driveway for a while before it finally expired.
            Oh, and how big do they get? I won’t tell you about the giant wetas down south, apparently the cave wetas grow the biggest. They’re left over from the age of dinosaurs apparently. But up here in the north island, in my back yard I can get wetas as big as my hand.

  9. We’ve had a couple of run ins with snakes around here. Nothing for a while though, so we’re in the clear. I’ll probably stand on one tomorrow now I’ve said that. Hey Lynn, since you are so busy this month why don’t you take a complete blogging break. It’s probably the best down time there is all year. You must enjoy the summer! :0)

    • Catherine, I sure hope you don’t step on a snake either. Just commenting about them gives me the creeps! a month long blogging break might be needed in August while I adjust to being care giver to two babies, but I’ll still post here and there, especially for the Emblazon Tween the Weekends posts when we’re all participating. As far as other posts, I’ll just have to take it one day at a time and see how it goes. I definitely need to get out to the pool before the weather turns. Haven’t gone swimming in it yet!

  10. Yvette – Those things jump? As big as your hand or bigger? Your poor sister getting one stuck on her when she was little must have traumatized her for life, especially watching its two parts hopping around. I better string some garlic around my neck to ward of whacky weta nightmares. I think you should write a picture book called The Weta Made Me Wet Meself!

    • Yvette Carol says:

      LOL! Wow, that title’s a winner, the kids would go nuts for it!
      And yes, Jag says it was that experience as a child that’s given her her phobia of them!

  11. I like snakes, but not in my house because we have gerbils.

    One of my coworkers loves slasher movies, has no trouble viewing gross things like autopsies, but wouldn’t get her mail for a week because she saw a little spider in her mailbox!

    • Lynn Kelley says:

      Jennette, No, snakes and gerbils wouldn’t be a good mix! And isn’t that something about your friend? It’s funny how people can handle certain gross things, but other things like spiders or rats freak us out! These are the things that make for good characters in our stories, huh?

  12. No snakes, bugs, or spiders for me! Not as pets, anyway. You should see me harvesting the veggies from our garden. I am so careful to avoid the spiders and bugs that I probably look like I’m diffusing a bomb. 🙂

  13. Patricia says:

    I’m not especially fond of snakes. They don’t give me the creeps or make me scream or anything, I’m just not really into them much. I dated a guy once who had a pet corn snake. He didn’t take it out and touch it or anything, but I never really liked seeing that thing in it’s aquarium. And I hated to watch him feed the dang thing. Those poor little mice. Yuck!

    Any my husband practically has a coronary when he sees a snake. He screams like a little girl. It’s really funny.

    I think bugs are kind of interesting, but I don’t like them in my house. Sometimes I try to rescue them and put them back outside, but sometimes I just whack them with a shoe.

    So there you have it – my take on creepy crawlies.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Lynn Kelley says:

      Patricia, I don’t like bugs or snakes in my house either. And I couldn’t watch a snake eat a mouse. I think it would make me sick to my stomach. Glad to hear there are men who react like some of us women! We won’t tell your hubby you mentioned him screaming like a girl! Thanks for sharing your take on creepy crawlies!

  14. Joni Hahn says:

    I HATE SNAKES!! My worst nightmare would be stuck on the edge of a high rise building roof with snakes all around me, and a ocean full of fish, sharks etc. below me. Ahhh…

    Once I walked out to the garage to grab something and my husband looked at me funny. I said, “what?” He just shook his head and I went back inside.

    THE NEXT DAY he told me a snake had been less than a foot away from me in the garage and I didn’t see it. I would have passed out cold. While he looked for something to kill it with, it climbed inside the wall between the sheetrock and the outside brick. He sealed it in the wall! Aahhhh…

    I still look around before I step in the garage. Snakes are abhorrent creatures.

    Did I mention I’m scared of heights and the water? 😉

    Next time warn me when you post pictures like that so I don’t look. =)

    • Lynn Kelley says:

      Joni, Wow, your comment about your worst nightmare would make a great blog post! You’ve got enough in your comment here to post it! And I bet you’ll get a lot of responses, too. I’m so impressed with all the stories people have been sharing about their experiences with bugs and snakes!

      I agree those pictures are freaky to look at. I was creeped out the whole time I worked on this post! Thanks so much for sharing your worst fears!

  15. Diana Beebe says:

    No reptiles for me! I’m not afraid of snakes in general, but I wouldn’t want it to disappear in the house if it got out. In college, one of my roommates was “snakesitting” her brother’s baby king snake. We had fun finding him. We did though! 🙂

    • Lynn Kelley says:

      Having a snake get loose in the house is the reason I’d never let my kids have a pet snake. I don’t think I could sleep at night, knowing a snake was in the house, even in an acquarium. The snakesitting incident would have freaked me out. Glad you had fun looking for him. I wouldn’t have had fun with a snake on the loose! 🙂

  16. Debra Kristi says:

    I had a baby rattler coil up and shake a tune for me once. I scared him when I opened my side gate to bring up the trashcans. The best story I probably have, though, is the time the hubby and I stepped out to admire the back pond together. Suddenly two King snakes dropped out of the side vegetation and into the water, spinning around each other in some romantic aqua dance. In that moment I saw a bunch of baby snakes in our future.

    I just so happened to look down then and noticed a third snake coiled up at my feet. Man, did I jump back quick. Fortunately for me he was busy swallowing a big meal. We carefully relocated him – far, far away – after getting a few good pictures to remember him by. 🙂

    • Lynn Kelley says:

      Debra – Yikes! That was a close call with that battle rattlesnake. The story about the King Snakes, whoah! Dropping out of the vegetation and into the water. And visions of baby snakes! Eeks. And a third snake at your fee! Got the heebie jeebies reading all that. Thanks for sharing! I think. 🙂

      • Lynn Kelley says:

        That s/b “baby” rattlesnake. Not “battle.” And “at your feet,” not “at your fee.” I think I need to take a breath and slow down before typing a comment!

  17. Oh, what a lucky save with that baby rattlesnake! Yikes… I know I say I’m an animal lover, but I’m less loving when it comes to creepy crawlies, I’m afraid. Especially of the flying variety…

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