It was bound to happen. Had to. I hoped it would have taken longer.

It was bound to happen. Had to. I hoped it would have taken longer.

Then Saturday came.

Let the dog out and had just settled on the couch to read some philosophy or watch a rerun of ďLaw & Order,Ē I forget which, when the dog freaked out.

Mencken doesnít bark much, but when he does, he means it. Surely, he was seeing a neighbor over the fence or a sprinkler going back and forth. Could have been a bird, but he usually only barks a couple times, and then the bird has flitted away.

What could it be?

Walked out the back door, and there Mencken was, facing a corner of the patio absolutely freakiní out. I turned the corner, and there it was.


Big olí thing.

Fifteen, 20 feet long. Probably the diameter of a stovepipe. Evil in its cold, slitted eyes.

What kind of snake was it? No idea.

To me there are only two kinds ó live ones and dead ones. Yeah, yeah, I know. Some snakes eat mice. Hey, if I have a mouse, Iíll get a trap.

Finally got Mencken into the house, lest he get bit, and dispatched the snake. (Watch the event unfold on camera at

First run-in with one at the house, but not my first by far.

There was the time my cousin and I tied the boat up to a log to fish a while. What caused me to look inside the log, I donít know, but there was the biggest wad of water moccasins Iíve ever seen. Swear we paddled that boat away at planing speed.

Then there was the one right underneath the step leading into Momís and Dadís house. One of the sisters was graduating that night, and after the ceremony I got to the house. Just as I opened the door and stepped up, I wondered what that black pile was under my foot. Only when I got in and turned around did I recognize it as a snake.

The night I stopped frog hunting was the night that same cousin somehow talked me into a ditch to walk down it, grabbing frogs instead of gigging them. His light found the tell-tale eyes, and I was just about to reach for them when I saw the slithering body behind. Quickly remembering that frogs donít slither, I broad-jumped the creek and headed for the truck. They sell frog legs at most any fish house.

Some snakes are good, some people say. They eat vermin and insects and will trim hedges if properly trained.

Theyíll also scare the ever-loviní daylights out of you when you find one unexpectedly, as Dad did one night while we were frog hunting in a boat. That thing fell out of a tree, and I donít know what kept Dad from beatiní the bottom out of that boat.

But some snakes will outright kill you. Just ask the father and son who handled the snakes as part of their religious services ó well, you canít ask them because theyíre stone dead.

Over the past few years, Iíve not had much good to say about the feral hog population in southern Arkansas, but I will say this: Hogs eradicate snakes at a high rate.

Growing up, I and my uncle, S.P., operated a little hog operation. Canít tell you how many times I watched a hog go over to a coiled-up snake and start sniffing it. The snake would bite the hog on the nose, and as that snake was coiling up to bite again, the hog would be eating that snake.

So, thereís one good thing about wild hogs.

Iíd much rather contend with them eating my deer corn than open my stand door one morning and have a pair of slit eyeballs lookiní back at me.

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Rick Fahr is publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway. His e-mail is