So last evening, when he had been missing for about an hour, I began to worry. I checked my bathroom again, then my bedroom closet and the powder room, all places I had been in the past few hours but no Mojo. I went down to the finished basement fortunately I turned on the lights at the base of the stairs before heading down. As I rounded the corner I found him staring at an object on the floor. At first I thought it was a cord or something, I had been in the basement sewing earlier in the day. As I got closer I realized the cord seemed to have a head. Now at this point I have to say with pride that I acted largely like an adult and didn't scream bloody murder. I grabbed Mojo, flew up the stairs and slammed the basement door. Needless to say, Mojo was less than happy to be separated from his toy. My first fear was that it was poisonous and he had eaten some of it. Based on the amount of complaining he was doing I figured he was ok. Mind you, this was at 9:00 last night so like anyone else, I was in my pajama which on this particular evening consisted of men's Fruit of the Loom boxers and a camisole as it was a warm evening. A this point I wouldn't have cared if I were naked I had the Loch Ness Monster in my basement and I wanted him out. I did what any articulate, capable, single woman would do - I ran next door to get my male neighbor. I knew he was still wake because the lights were on in their living room. I had to ring the doorbell several times. He said he thought it was his wife and since he knew she had her key he wasn't going to bother coming downstairs until he realized her car wasn't outside. I was so scared I could barely talk. There are two things of which I am afraid frogs and snakes. Frogs creep me out but thanks to a bullying episode in elementary school, I am terrified of snakes of any size. My poor neighbor must have thought I had a python in the basement. He was kind enough not to laugh hysterically when he saw that the predator was smaller around than my pinky and barely eight inches long. As I curled up on the top of the back of my sleep sofa, he moved the creature via a shovel to the backyard. Before he left he said the way to tell if they are poisonous is to look at the shape of the eyes. My response was, "sweetie, I don't EVER plan to be close enough to a snake to look at the shape of his eyes". Once I opened the basement door, Mojo flew down there and stayed down there the rest of the night. I don't know if he saw this intruder as a playmate or something against which he should defend me. I choose to think of the latter. I have continued to praise him for keeping his mommy safe.
First thing this morning I went out the basement door and covered the back with mothballs and crushed eggshells. I have heard both are deterrents to snakes. I had what I think was a baby copperhead outside that door earlier in the summer. After placing the mothballs I didn't see it again. I was thinking that I needed to replace them as we had had several days of rain. Guess I didn't do it soon enough. The more disconcerting thing is that when I was putting out the mothballs I found the skin to a much larger snake by my seldom used trash can. I live in an interior unit and it is a pain to bring the can up the hill to the curb so another neighbor is kind enough to let me put my one weekly bag in their can. After seeing the skin I have no plans to move that can until those miserable reptiles hide for the winter.