Our Northwest

Tenino woman encounters 5-foot snake at home

Saturday, December 5, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

A Tenino resident stepped outside her apartment Tuesday and discovered a 5-foot snake mere inches from her feet.
     The snake, pictured in this Olympian article, is not native to the area.
     The woman’s uncle captured the snake, which they figured was an escaped pet, but no one living nearby claimed it. Thurston County Animal Services placed the chilled snake in a heated holding pen.
     If I stumbled across a large snake in my path, I’d freak out. Somewhere very early in life I developed a fear of snakes, and even as a full-grown adult I occasionally have reoccurring dreams of being cornered by slugs in my mom’s backyard. The slugs close in … and transform into rattlesnakes!
     So you can imagine my displeasure with my lone snake-in-the-wild encounter. In 2005, I took our family to Mariners spring training in Arizona. One night we ate at Mining Camp restaurant near Apache Junction.
     Afterward we drove out to a nearby trailhead, because I’d always wanted to hike up the path far enough to see Weaver’s Needle, a prominent Superstition Mountains (and mining lore) landmark. I hiked a quarter-mile from the parking lot to a small hill where I shot pictures of the Needle, then retraced my path.
   Soon I saw a small group of people ahead, standing in a circle. As I approached a woman said, “Be careful, there’s a poisonous snake in the middle of the trail!”
     There, coiled on the ground, was the object of my nightmares. Worse, the woman said she saw it slither out from under a trailside bush – a bush mere inches from where I had walked moments earlier.
     Here’s proof. And no, I’m not brave. I shot this from a good 10 feet away, using my telephoto lens!

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