If you live in Florida, you may want to read this. On winter nights, snakes come in your home and seek warm places to hide. They come through open doors, glide through pipes, crawl through holes in your screen doors and windows and corners where wasps nest. Small, black snakes; not all of them, just a particular type good at hiding and with an instinct to enter houses. They’re pencil-thin and have a strange awareness of their surroundings. You could be looking at a clothes hamper or cables behind your desk and never realize that snakes were there, odorless and still. They seem to understand what places we’ll never look, and where they will blend in. A typical garbage bag: a pack of four-inch snakes will be buried in the shapeless mass of paper, food, and plastic, and you will never know. Or in the pantry, behind spices and bags of flour you reach for only on occasion. The snakes hear you coming, too, and they move along the walls, under light bags and behind boxes. It’s of no use to clean out the shelves – the snakes are gone already by the time you’ve taken out the first few cans. They’re always moving when you’re moving, but when they know they’ve found a safe hiding spot they can be motionless for months. Most of the time they stay that way all through the winter, except when even the rooms in your house get too cold for them and they can no longer feed on scraps and bits of unpackaged food unnoticed. Then they rest and hope that you will cook dinner in your kitchen one night. The snakes slide out of your bathroom, behind the bookshelves, out of your clothes, and wait for their chance to hide in the warm food you’re preparing. You don’t always watch your cooking without a break, and even if you did, the snakes would somehow find their way into simmering pots of thick soup and casseroles in the oven. They do this out of desperation, and it kills them. As the heat breaks down their brittle bodies into thin mush and flakes like dandruff, the snakes can’t resist the bubbling mountain of food that now warms them after such a long, cold famine. They eat and they cook themselves and they become food. You may have eaten hundreds of snakes unknowingly - tasteless black strips of animals who killed themselves through drowning and burning. And you can never chase them all out before they do this.