There was a dead mouse hanging from inside the wire trap she was holding. The mouse was the bait. She was the local pest removal expert trying to catch the snake in my neighbor’s garden yesterday.
For the past week, my neighbor here in rural Hong Kong has been liberally sprinkling a popular local snake deterrent — sulfur dust — around the perimeter of his property. Two days ago, another neighbor ringed his house with yellow sulfur powder. Another snake sighting on the street? (Or defensive paranoia?)
It is believed by my neighbors that snakes will not cross sulphur. (Query: if a snake is already in one’s garden wouldn’t the sulfur then keep it from escaping?)
This is what one Hong Kong snake expert, Goatee Tony, has to say about sulfur:
“I tried [sulfur] out myself. I sprinkled some sulfur on the floor and a snake glided right over it. The only thing that might happen is that the snake might get some sulfur between its scales and feel itchy.” (Source: this HK Magazine article)
So now my neighbors have itchy snakes in their gardens.
I should mention that my husband found a snake in our living room a few weeks ago while I was still in America. It was the length and breadth of a wide shoelace with a head the size of an almond. It was extremely docile and he easily coaxed it outside.
Someone later told us that it is very lucky to find a snake inside one’s house. This same person asked my husband why he didn’t “pop it,” meaning to quickly kill it by grabbing its tail and slamming its head against the ground. She said this would kill the snake but not the lucky blessing.
I asked my husband why he didn’t call a snake removal person to take it away from our house, as some snakes in Hong Kong are actually poisonous. He said the snake was not aggressive and, ”There could always be a snake in our garden, so it doesn’t really matter.” I replied, “Yes, but now we know there is a snake in our garden because you put it there.”
But, despite my apprehension, we haven’t seen the small brown snake since it slithered off.
It seems, however, that our neighbors have. Is this tiny thing the snake that they’re trying to rid themselves of? If so, I hope it scurries back off to the jungle before anyone has the chance to “pop it,” trap it or strike it with a shovel.