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A slithery shopper

Havre Daily News/Zach White

Sidney native Falon Laroche shows off the baby rattlesnake she almost stepped on in the Dollar Super Center in the Holiday Village Mall Wednesday afternoon. An employee said it was the first time she had heard of a snake in the mall in her 19 years working there.

It can be easy to forget that Havre lies in the middle of a high desert surrounded by wildlife, but one visitor met a small rattling reminder earlier this week.

Falon Laroche was shopping at the Dollar Super Center at the Holiday Village Mall Wednesday afternoon, looking for a balloon for her 5-year-old daughter, when her foot touched something slippery on the floor in the middle of an aisle.

"I turned around, and it was a snake, " Laroche said. "I didn't know if it was real or not. "

She said one of store's employees told them it was a baby bull snake, but the snake's colors and special tail led to a different conclusion. It was a small rattlesnake.

"The people in the store were freaking, " Laroche said. "The only person who didn't mind was the person working there. "

Laroche's father, David James, grabbed a small tupperware container, scooped the little rattler up, and took it home.

This was only Laroche's second time in Havre, visiting family from her home in Sidney. She said she had heard from her family about snakes in the area, including a sign at the HRDC building warning to keep doors closed and snakes out, but never anticipated this.

The snake was still alive this morning, in the same tupperware container on Laroche's grandmother's porch.

"We still have it because she doesn't want to let it loose in her yard, " Laroche said.

She said her father will probably take the snake north of the river and let it go.

Becky Blake, who was working at Dollar Super Center this morning, was not at work when the snake appeared, but she heard about the excitement.

She was surprised by the news, as it is the first time she has heard of this happening in the nearly 20 years she has worked at the mall, for the past four years at the Dollar Super Center and 15 years at Herbergers.


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