I Encountered a Massive Snake Last Week. Here’s How That Went.

If this picture scares you, you might want to avoid the video I’m going to show you next.

An Eastern Milk Snake

I should tell you I’m not afraid of snakes.  I don’t run and scream when I see them or cover my eyes when they show up in a movie. I imagine the only time a snake would truly scare me is if it I woke up with one wrapped around my neck. And even then it would have to be doing something weird like yelling at me in Latin or something.

I’m not afraid of snakes, however I sure can be startled by them.

Here’s what happened.  I skipped out of work about an hour early last week to go and weed my garden. The plan was to rip out a few weeds then return home where I could get back to my job of staring at my computer with a blank look on my face.

Around half an hour into my weeding I got to the point where I was in my meditative weeding state. That’s where your eyes glaze over and you realize you’re ripping out everything near you fingers whether it’s a weed or not.  Rocks, sticks, mice, fully grown carrots, everything.

Moving into a corner of the garden behind my tomato plants something snapped me out of my meditative state.

It was a snake tangled in my fence, hanging from the wire like a used condom.

Here is what happened next.


It was an Eastern Milk Snake and it was easily 4′ long. They aren’t venomous. They don’t bite.  Well they do bite, but only if you really aggravate them.  Like if  you forced the snake watch a  kid do that floss swish dance for hours on end I’m sure the kid would get bit.   At the very least it would get a good tongue lashing (in Latin).

Have a ssssssssssssuper weekend.





→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←


I Encountered a Massive Snake Last Week.  Here\'s How That Went.


  1. Christine says:

    Karen, you are a kind person. I also hate to kill anything – I even move spiders and other bugs from the inside to the outside.
    What I didn’t know until now is that non-venomous snakes will bite. Is it like a cat bite?
    Will they latch onto your arm or leg and not let go? Interesting!

    • Karen says:

      I assume it depends on the snake. I would think a non venomous one would simply strike out to bite and retreat again. But that’s just a guess. Luckily I didn’t find out. ~ karen!

  2. Grammy says:

    Beautiful! I’m not afraid of snakes, either, having lived a number of years when I was a kid in the desert southwest on the Arizona/California border. We were just taught not to turn over large rocks, etc. (lots of diamondback rattlers around) and watch what we were doing. I have never been frightened by a snake (unlike my abject fear of rodents which reduces me to hysterical sobbing if I think there is one around) but I generally just let them be if I encounter one in the garden.

    That said, I think your snake needed rescuing, and I don’t believe I would have been as brave as you when (s)he decided to have a stare-down. Getting bitten by a non-venomous snake isn’t something most of us would risk. So it is really cool that you not only performed such a courageous life-saving act, but managed to record a video for the rest of us while doing so.

    I offered to show my husband the video, but he’s really scared of snakes and didn’t want to watch it. That’s okay. He and I have always had an unwritten pact: I will always save him from snakes, lizards and spiders, and in exchange, he deals with anything rodent-like while I cower in the corner. Both of us agree, though, that we expect your snake will come back regularly to your garden plot and take care of the critters who want your veggies. You’ve got really good friends in low places.

  3. Lynn says:

    yeah………. what MARILYN MEAGHER said.


    you are one brave cookie!

  4. Lin N says:

    Karen, the Snake Hero! Awesome…..

  5. linda in Illinois says:

    Thank you Karen for saving a life.
    you are a hero for sure.

  6. Nancy Ann says:

    Hi Karen,
    Good for you! Dennis, a very sweet, laid back, seven foot corn snake, has lived in my barn for about seven or eight years, is not afraid of people and it doesn’t bother him when I walk around him or step over him, etc. He likes living here because of the available duck eggs (non-fertilized – only girl ducks here). The interesting thing about him is, he will not eat commercial eggs when there are no duck eggs, even when I’ve washed, rinsed, dried them and allowed them to come to room temperature. Makes me wonder what he knows about commercial eggs that I don’t.

    • Mary W says:

      So interesting – must be a smell from commercially cleaning the eggs that maybe gets into the shell. I would love to know what it is. Maybe a ‘snake expert’ could advise.

  7. Nicole says:

    You are cool, Karen. I don’t mind snakes either. We have Snaky Pete living in our flower bed out front, a large garter snake. I think Pete is a girl, because we’ve seen smaller babies around it in the spring. We let Snaky Pete live its life. He lets us live ours and all is good.

  8. Rachel says:

    Awesome! You rock!

  9. sheryl powell says:

    Ha, ha. I had the same thing happen this summer but with a half grown possum. It was running from my dogs and got head and front feet through the chain link fence and then got stuck. I waited to see if he could get out and then I pushed, I pulled, I squeezed. No way was he budging. So then I had the brilliant idea to go get my bottle of vegetable oil. He got his head through there it must be able to come out. So I greased him up and pushed, and pulled. Finally we had to go get tools and cut the fence. Next day there was a squished possum up the road. I asked “was it greasy?” Anyway, glad you saved the snake. By the way, possums are very soft like a cat not course hair at all.

  10. shelly bartz says:

    Holy cow! You’re brave and crazy! BUT….you are hilarious! I love reading your blog ! You’re my favorite!,

  11. Patricia H Otto says:

    I have to agree with you about the Floss dance. I’d root for the snake!

  12. Jess says:

    This little friend was probably just patrolling your garden and hunting any mice that were snacking on your veggies.

    I’m so jealous that you got to hang out with one!

  13. Ady says:

    I jumped 7 juvenile snakes while mowing last weekend. I caught three of them – two milk and one garter – just to study them a bit. We live next to my parents, and about four years ago a snake tapped my Mom on the bum while she was sitting on the toilet! Earlier this summer, one found its way to the bathroom sink to nap. Two enormous snakes turned our garage into a brothel last summer – I have video. And while we live in the country, I swear we’re civilized people who live in nice, clean houses with running water and real floors and everything!

  14. Carol Hogan says:

    Good for you, Karen. I live in Florida where we have lots of snakes, some of which are venomous (educational point – venomous is injected by fangs, poisonous is touched or consumed). Anyway, I have saved a few non-venomous ones who got into a place they shouldn’t be. They do bite. Wouldn’t you if a giant was touching and messing around you? They are only trying to defend themselves the way they know how. So, even if you are not afraid of snakes, you were still quite brave to risk getting bitten by a big beautiful snake. So, I admire and congratulate you for being kind and compassionate anyway.

  15. There’s one of these guys living in the foundation of my house, and when it rains, he hangs out on the top of the foundation walls. Meaning, he lounges near the hot water pipe and watches me do laundry in my basement laundry room. Freaked me out the first time, but I’m mostly cool with it now.

    My husband, on the other hand, refuses to go in the room. SMH.

  16. Carswell says:

    I don’t have a fear of snakes either – but four feet is one biiiiig snake. I like to think I could have done what you did.

    Just don’t talk to me about spiders.

  17. Heather says:

    Well done! That was a big snake!

    Years ago, when I was a teen, I saved a huge garter snake from a road construction site. I picked it up behind its head and it wound itself tightly around my forearm and released a most unpleasant smell. I carried it to the grass and released its head and it unwound rapidly and vamoosed. I was left with a very stinky arm for the drive home. :D

  18. Gigi says:

    Amazing, but then again, that’s what we’ve come to expect from you. Can just add snake wrangler to your resume. I do have 2 questions though. Did you know it was a milkshake because you’ve encountered those before?
    And, what’s with the one glove? That can’t be your weeding glove? It wasn’t going to protect you from a quick snake bite? It looks like the kind of glove used when you color your hair, or when painting? Was it for a better grip with the wire cutters? Just curiousssssssss.

    • Karen says:

      Those are indeed my weeding gloves Gigi. I find regular cotton gardening gloves to be too cumbersome. Like trying to weed while wearing boxing gloves. The thin latex ones keep my fingers clean but let me pull out even the tiniest weed. ~ karen!

  19. Joyce says:

    Pls send snake to my house. Tell her she can have all the chipmunks and mice she wants!

  20. Veronica says:

    I can’t TELL you how happy I am that the video didn’t load. They utterly freak me out, but I am there for all your spider removing needs.
    I did touch one once, at the SportsmanShow at the Ex, years ago, to try to put this terribly rational fear behind me. I touched it, but still don’t want to have to deal with them.
    I understand how good they can be, and if they come into my garden, all I ask is that I not see them.

  21. Lori Hope says:

    Wow, you earned a badge today, for sure! I hope that snake appreciates your bravery! ;)

  22. Ev Wilcox says:

    Well done you! Milk snakes are so innocuous. My daughter has a 7-8 ft red tailed boa. We never hold him-he holds us. Has had him since he was a 10″ baby, a beauty. Raised my kids right, I did. good for you Karen.

  23. Helen V. says:

    The same thing happened to a neighbor here in North Carolina, last week. My husband, a scientist who has studied snakes for his career, has a standing offer to members of our community that he will collect any snakes that they see and want to have transported off their property. We have snake tongs and a bucket (with a screw-on top) at the ready, and in a case similar to yours, the snake got tangled in fine mesh plastic netting that had been put out to keep the deer from munching on stuff. He had to cut a large swatch out of the net fence, with the snake caught in several places, and he brought it home where he held the head with his snake tongs (it was a copperhead, so we didn’t want to get bit) while I cut the netting away from the snake, thread by thread. The netting gets caught amongst the snake’s scales, and it surely would have died. Glad to hear that there are others who appreciate the fact that all these critters have important roles in the web of life, and they occasionally need a bit of help from us too. That said, don’t handle snakes or other creatures unless you have some expertise and a good reason for doing so! Live and let live.

  24. meredith says:

    Pretty. I would have saved it too. I have stopped along roads to get snakes off the pavement. I do not like to be startled by them though. And poisonous ones freak me out a little. My husband hates them. Once on vacation in Outer Banks, NC, we were walking in the maritime forest which also has a lot of swampy areas. My husband was getting over a back injury and walking was helping with the pain. He almost stepped on a coiled up, big fat cotton mouth. I screamed “SNAKE” and he stopped about two feet from it. Scared him to death. But the adrenaline rush kept him pain free for almost 36 hours afterward!

  25. Susan Claire says:

    What video?????

  26. Cathy says:

    How did you film all of that AND be the Snake Whisperer?
    Anyway, we’ll done, you !

  27. jaine kunst says:

    You are a badass women, Karen. I would still be running away from the snake.

  28. Sherri says:

    Karen Bertelsmann, snake whisperer.
    Many years ago, while teaching in a rural school, I was walking a 5th grade student to his classroom when we saw a very large bull snake curled up in the corner of one of the main entrances of the school. It was autumn and the snake had probably sought a warm place to take a long nap. I decided to take the snake to the Science classroom. While the student (Billy) watched, I grabbed the snake behind its head and slowly lifted it until I could get a good grip with my other hand under a point further down its body. The snake didn’t protest so Billy, the snake and I proceeded down the hallway. Billy the Kid was so excited as we neared the Science classroom door that he started yelling, “We have a snake! We have a snake!” The Science teacher looked up as we entered the room, jumped up on his desk (all 200 muscular pounds of his assistant football coach body) and started screaming “like a woman.” I really didn’t know he hated snakes, spiders and other creepy, crawly beasts. All of the other students in the room were strangely quiet. The snake was very quiet, too. Maybe they knew they couldn’t be heard above the screams of their teacher. Billy and I (with the snake in tow) quickly exited the room, left the building and released the (now fully awake) snake in a nearby field. S/he happily slithered off to find another napping habitat. It’s been 40 years since the snake event and I had to gift several batches of brownies and a 6-pack of beer to the Science teacher, but they still say my name with reverence in that small Nebraska town. It was so worth it! 🐍

    • Mary W says:

      Love your story and happy ending. I had a huge indigo snake under my house for years. One day the man that cut my grass said he tried to kill a bug moccasin under my house but it got away – he said it was huge and didn’t know they got that big. I did tell him it was a protected indigo snake that would have tun off other kinds if they came into his territory and then said he didn’t need to come back to cut my lawn. We live miles and miles from any water so it literally couldn’t have been a moccasin and since it was over 10 feet long, it literally couldn’t have been a moccasin. He kept rodents away and was a joy to watch as he searched around the place for food. Some days he would be out in the field in front of the house with his head sticking a couple feet up from the weeds as he watched me drive to work. Loved that thing but never saw him after that guy tried to chop him up. Indigos are also very beautiful colored blue/black. I am VERY afraid of spiders, though. So I respect each persons fears and appreciate your story so much. I can’t see Karen’s video, it doesn’t show up for me but I’m sure she was kind to it, also.

      • Sherri says:

        I’ve seen photos of Indigos, but not a live one. I don’t know if they’re native to eastern Nebraska, where I live.

    • Karen says:

      GREAT story, lol!! ~ karen

  29. Catherine Vosper says:

    Good for you!!!

  30. Thera says:

    Brilliant! I too am not afraid of snakes but prefer to each have our own space. Tomorrow is my birthday and this was a lovely thing you did and a video to kick off my weekend!

  31. Sondra says:

    No snake video or link in my copy of this article. Clicked all over the still shot and re-read the entire article but no link. Wanted to see you bravely save the snake! Even refreshed the page several times but boo-hoo no video! Not afraid of snakes unless they are rattlers and then I keep my distance AND THEN SOME!

  32. Jenny W says:

    Fearless Canadian Woman taken’ care of business :)
    Way to represent!
    One question, did you automatically know what kind of snake it was, and that it was basically harmless? I’m not scared of snakes either, but if I ran into that one I’d have to google it lol!

    • Karen says:

      I knew what it was. That type is relatively common around here although not that size and. I had another one like it in my garden last year. Maybe even the same one! ~ karen

  33. Connie Bridgham says:

    You are awesome. What a great way to start my day!
    I shall dub you Queen of the Canadian Safari!

  34. Lisa Eubanks says:

    Yay!! So happy you could save the beautiful snake… Kind and brave 😊

  35. Centi says:

    I think it’s a very beautiful animal and I’m glad you rescued it. Well done!

  36. MrsChrisSA says:

    You are braver than brave.
    At least I have friends who love snakes – they could get a rescue call from me whilst I was cowering in the corner!!

  37. Tina says:

    The same thing happened at my son’s last week! My DIL had put up some plastic netting or something to keep birds out of the plants and she’s showing it to me and I’m like “…but is that a snake?” And it was. But it was SO tangled. I think it had tried to untangle itself and was so badly trapped. So son and wife cut it out, which took forever and I watched the kids to keep them out of the snake. I would have liked to save the poor darling.

  38. Marsha says:

    Made me laugh because I can relate, not afraid but not stupid either! I have hauled off many a snake from my chicken house.

  39. Vikki says:

    Thank you for saving him, Karen.
    It says a lot about the person you are within.
    You are tough, but you are kind.

  40. Georgia girl says:

    Yay! Go Karen! Go snake!
    Happy ending 👍🏻

  41. Sachi says:

    I am mortally afraid of snakes. And here in tropical Sri Lanka, there’s plenty about! But if you Karen, my absolute fucking hero of late, say you aren’t scared of them, (what a legend argh!) I will still my terrified heart and watch this video. Damn. #starstruck

    • Karen says:

      O.K. it’s MUCH easier to not be afraid of snakes in a country that doesn’t have any venomous ones, lol. (well we have one but it’s rare) I’m guessing Sri Lankan snakes are a bit more to contend with. ~ karen!

    • SueB says:

      Do you use an ad-blocker Debbie?
      I use ABP and if it’s not disabled, sometimes I see the videos and sometimes I don’t on this site.

      • Ann Roberts says:

        No video for me either. I specifically went and turned my ad blocker off for this site and reloaded. There is still no sign. No error message, no broken icon, nothing. Just a space between 2 paragraphs that is a line or two more than usual

        • Karen says:

          Try clearing your cache if you haven’t Ann. You may need to do that after disabling your ad blocker. Also, sometimes just having an ad blocker in your browser will prevent the video from showing no matter what, even if you disable it. ~ karen!

      • Karen says:

        Yes. Ad blockers not only block ads (and my only source of income ;) ) but they also block videos. ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      You have an ad blocker on. You need to disable it. ~ karen!

      • Mary W says:

        None of your videos were blanked out before – this is first one. I haven’t changed anything. Maybe YouTube has done something.

  42. Barb says:

    OMG! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or scream!! I think I would have tried to help too. You are a true animal lover. Great video and I don’t remember ever hearing your voice before? I think that I have but I don’t remember. I forgot that you are Canadian. LOL! Love you and all that you do.

  43. Lisa says:

    Yay! Well done Karen. Woman after my own heart – and yep – snakes are stoopid, But so lovely to see the critter slithering off to digest somewhere quiet. Must say – your snake did have beautiful markings. Almost python-ish.

  44. Gretchen Sexton says:

    You win the Good Sssssssamaritan prize! That was a HUGE snake! Well done. You are my hero.

  45. Kristin says:

    Wow! Beautiful and helpful with rodent control… Well done you!
    I had a snake day too!
    Only the one I rescued was in my horse’s indoor arena. It was a ‘just hatched’ baby Garter Snake… It was only 4 inches compared to yours at 4ft!

  46. SuzanneLH says:

    Good for you both! HA. I was the little girl who wasn’t afraid of snakes either. Once at camp, a boy dropped a poor tiny garter snake down my shirt, hoping, I’m sure for a big response. Took the little thing out of my shirt and told the boy that was a nasty thing to do to the little snake. Kept it in my pocket till the counselor made me let it go. Needless to say the boy was less happy than the snake…

  47. Mark says:

    I think the Eastern Milk Snake is a beautiful creature. I don’t know why people are afraid of it – must be fear of the unknown.

    But what happened? I don’t see anything about how it became disentangled from the fence.

  48. Amy Greer Cruce says:

    I’m not afraid of them, either. But they need to be somewhere else 😉

    • Duffi says:

      Well, not exactly. The snake needs to be in the garden, just not stuck in the fence. It’s YOU who needs the snake to be somewhere else….

  49. Marilyn Meagher says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *