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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Seven: Case File No. 37-349

Gus standing on the countertop reaching up to the cabinets.

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Where We Left Off:

The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency discovered brand new neighbors unlike any they’ve had before.

The Ballad of Mice and Snakes:

I already know this case file will disturb and upset some readers because my short version of the case on Instagram received comments. 

—Content Warnings—

  • this case involves the discovery of dead animals (snakes and mice)
  • the deaths were tragically the result of glue traps which The Biographer (Amber!) does not endorse using
  • phobias: snakes, mice

Now that all of that has been spelled out, please continue to read the case file to get the whole story. Gus and I have time on occasion to inspect our mobile command unit which is currently parked on the property and backed up against Garter Snake Ridge, the Junkyard, and beyond that Bunny Hollow and the woods.

garter snake showing defensive behavior, moving in a tight form towards camera, sticking out tongue

Apparently, we haven’t discussed snakes and their magical counterparts, Gorgons, since 2022. However, last October, Gus and I had a close encounter with a growing Gorgon in a situation where we scared each other. On that day, Gus was looking for chipmunks while I walked over to Gnome Grove and wanted to clean the space a little. The Grumpy Old Man had the cover to some machine laying on a metal chair. It bothered me that it looked messy with fallen leaves and white stuff that could have been old cobwebs or spreading fungus. I wasn’t sure. I reached out and lifted the cover at which point something fell to the ground. I was startled! I took a step back and don’t remember if I kept hold of the cover. I looked down and saw a coiled snake creature.

Before focusing on the creature that fell to the ground, I decided to check the cover more thoroughly and see if more were coiled in the wrinkles. I didn’t find more snake creatures, but I found something bizarre. It was a huge slug called a leopard slug. It was the largest slug I have ever seen in my life!

thick leopard slug on nylon fabric next to a measuring tape showing the length is approximately 2.5 inches long.

My attention went back to the snake creature on the ground. I took some photos and videos, but Gus and Oliver decided we didn’t need to open a case file on it at the time. The poor creature was erroneously evicted from its cozy resting place and we felt pretty bad about that.

Jumping to winter, Gus and I were struggling with how we could get the mice out of the mobile command unit. The Grumpy Old Man had glue traps hidden. He had also sprayed a mint solution that was supposed to repel the rodents, but obviously wasn’t working. He also put steel wool into any opening like around plumbing pipes.

Gus inside the cargo compartment of the mobile command unit

Every time we go in there, the scratching and rapid clattering is heard in the ceiling. On one of our inspections, I used a small power screwdriver to take down biggest vent screen in the ceiling. There was nothing to see though. It was a few inches of clean space and a solid board of insulation above it. I held Gus up to the space to see what his reaction would be. He didn’t have any interest in it.

One morning, The Grumpy Old Man came home and saw us in the backyard.

“I left something for you in the trailer,” he said.

Gus standing on the countertop reaching up to the cabinets.

I couldn’t exactly order Gus to go to the mobile command unit and expect him to listen. It had to be his idea. When that day came and Gus ran to the steps, I let him in. I put down my camera bag and parasol on the couch. I headed to the kitchen which was one spot I rarely go while the extension is collapsed because then there’s no room for me to get between the table and counter. The table was teetered over on an angle and resting on a cushioned bench. I had to use some flexibility skills from yoga to get one leg over then the other.

“Gus, did you know these were here?” I called out to him. I saw the gruesome scene in the cabinets below the sink.

black cat Gus sitting on the bed inside the trailer conducting a stakeout by listening to all the scurrying mice in the ceilings.

He was too busy on the other end and wasn’t interested in what I had to do. I used the flashlight from my phone to look at the scene. I put on my gloves and got to work. There were two glue traps stuck together because a good size rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) was stuck on both traps. There was also a partial tiny snake with half its skin and meat missing. The last victim was a grey mouse which is what probably lured the snakes to the traps in the first place.

GLUE TRAPS (and nets) ARE HORRIBLE. I’ve said it many times and though I don’t need to repeat it, it is possible that if you’re reading this, you might not have read previous cases or Instagram posts where I’ve denounced their use. One thing that helped me get through this was that all the creatures were long dead by the time I got to the traps. In the past, I’ve worked hard at getting live critters out of the glue and released with some food near them so they don’t have to go far to try and heal. You definitely should not use glue strips to catch spotted lantern bugs, mosquitoes, or flies. Birds, bats, butterflies and anything else capable of flying get caught in those too. Glue traps don’t discriminate. Don’t wrap your tree trunks with anything sticky or nets for the same reasons.

black cat Gus at the door of the trailer exiting; "I prefer my mice and snakes alive."

I was able to peel the dead snakes off the traps. They were transported in plastic baggies. We got back to the detective agency and met up with Oliver to discuss what we could do with these specimens. I took an aluminum tray and had enough desiccant sand (used in drying flowers) to fill about half of the tray. I was able to cover both specimens. I put another tray on top of that. The stacked trays were then put into a garbage bag and labeled. Then that was wrapped up in an oilcloth tablecloth burrito-style and left outside on the observation deck. Technically when trying to dehydrate something, you should store it in a cool and dry place but there isn’t anywhere here that’s both cool and dry.

Case Findings:

Oliver, Gus, and I took the time to closely review the photos and short video from the crime scene. It was deemed that while The Grumpy Old Man did want the mouse dead, he did not want any snakes or juvenile Gorgons to die in the process. If anyone knows how to get into the roof space of a trailer, we’d love to hear it. The specimens are drying and will hopefully be able to be added to our creatures and cryptids collection.

Case Status: Closed

Exit Now Before Photos of Dead Things!

cartoon cat Pusheen with rainbow mane and tail and a unicorn horn





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