A woman from Mooresville, NC was doing the one thing she loves – gardening. On a ladder, trimming hedges, Heatherly Noble suddenly felt a sharp pain and when she saw it, she knew what had happened. Snake bit.
As Noble passed the hedge trimmer across the top of her hedges, a black snake shot out quickly, biting her on the left hand. Not sure what exactly had happened, Noble then saw the snake rise out of the hedges. The entire ordeal was caught on Noble’s security camera and can be seen below.
“In about two seconds I had to realize that one, you’ve been bitten by a snake, I don’t know what kind it is. Secondly, it’s there it’s not going away because it’s mad,” she told WCNC. She also needed to react because, as she said, the snake was mad and looking for more.
The problem Noble now faced was that she was standing on a ladder, so when she stepped away to avoid another strike, the ground wasn’t there to catch her. “Unfortunately, I was four feet up and stepped back into thin air,” Noble explained via WRAL.
Down Noble went and hard. “Stepped back with my left leg and left the right on top of the ladder and did a little bit of damage,” Noble said. On the ground, though, Noble was less worried about her body and more concerned about a possible reappearance of the snake.
That wasn’t her only issue. She was unable to call 911 for help as her cell phone was across her yard, too far for her to get to. With her mobility in check, Noble did the only thing she could do. Yell for help. Luckily, her neighbor heard the commotion even before Noble started yelling as was on the scene fairly fast.
The eventual damage Noble suffered, as she explains, was extensive. “My right knee didn’t make it. I’m in a hip and ankle brace right now and really can’t get around very well.” The right knee actually suffered a torn ACL, the hip injury a bruised tailbone. Then, of course, there was the ego-bruising.
All in all, though, things could have been much worse. Noble came quite close to falling on top of the blades she was using to trim her hedges.
The snake in question was a Black Racer. Thankfully, they are non-poisonous, though like most snakes, have the appearance of something more monstrous. A Black Racer is fairly common to Noble’s surroundings, calling tall grass, bushes, and other vegetation their home. When cornered, a Black Racer will begin to shake its tail, similar to a rattlesnake. But unlike a rattler, the Black Racer doesn’t own a noisemaking, fear-inducing rattle.
Black Racers aren’t the only black snakes in the area, causing some confusion and fear when spotted because some of the black snakes are poisonous. They are often mistaken for the black rat snake, the black king snake, and even the black-phase eastern hognose snake.
Black Racer snakes are non-aggressive, only striking out when feeling threatened, as this one did with Noble. For the most part, Black Racers are lovers, not fighters, and per their name, they’d rather race away than attack. Still, that does nothing for a person when the snake lashes out in anger.
“I guess any snake when cornered is going to come after you,” Noble said. “It literally took a split second for this to happen. I should have been wearing more protective gear. The snake won, if anyone is wondering. We don’t want to kill them all, but just be aware that they are out there.”
So, what does this do for Noble’s love of gardening? Well, first she is going to have to heal before she can get back out in her yard. Then she says it will be baby steps. She can see it will be a struggle the first time or two she picks up her hedger and starts trimming. Now that she knows Black Racers are real and present, “careful” will be her middle name from now on.