Today there was a procession of tradesmen and contractors traipsing through the rental property as a result of my quixotic tilt at activating every service and resolving every issue within 24 hours of arrival. There was the air conditioning guy, the plumber, the cable guy, the audiovisual guys, the pool guy, the gardener, the rental and company car guys and last, but by no means least, the pest control guy with space suit and sprays.
Pest Control Guy: Okay, I’m done with the standard spray, but I see y’all got snakes round your aircon vents
Me: [curious, but relaxed] Really? What kind of snakes?
Pest Control Guy: Black ones…’bout yo big [gestures two feet]. They’re drawn by the cold into your—
Me: [neither curious nor relaxed] Can you get rid of them?
Pest Control Guy: Sure, but you can do it yourself. You’ll need to put on a mask and gloves, put down some lime, then you have to—
Me: How much will it cost for you to get rid of the snakes?
Pest Control Guy: $300?
We arranged for him to return tomorrow but after he left, the plumber decided to take a break from failing to fix the pressure on the kitchen tap to tell me that they’re probably ‘only black racers, which are no problem to anyone’. Not like the cottonmouths that really are dangerous and very aggressive. Cottonmouths? You can tell a cottonmouth from a black racer because they’re much thicker and have the same distinctive head shape that the other pit vipers have. Other pit vipers? Not only do black racers eat cottonmouths, but they also eat the rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes! Coral snakes aren’t a big threat either, unless of course your children pick them up. Well that’s all right then.
Basically, black racers are ‘serious scrappers’ and having them around means there aren’t other snakes around. One of the audiovisual guys helpfully added that I’d also notice a lot more lizards running around when the black racers were gone. It occurred to me that the best course of action might be to leave the black racers be and let Mother Nature take her course. It would certainly be cheaper.
But no. I’m going to kill everything.