“Rain, snow, but not the snakes?” Fox 32 Chicago quotes Bill Hawkins as saying. Hawkins and his neighbors in Chicago's Rogers Park are having a hard time getting their mail thanks to the annual springtime boom in garter snakes and a mail carrier deathly afraid of them. A sign in one frustrated neighbor's front yard reads, “Snake-free zone. Could we pleeze have our mail?" the Chicago Tribune reports. The problem started in late March, and some neighbors have gone longer than a week without mail at times. A Post Office spokesperson says mail carriers have to right to decide if an area is a safety risk. "In this case, the woman is terrified of snakes," he tells the Tribune. "It is irrelevant if the snakes are dangerous or not. Our employees' safety is the utmost priority."
A supervisor has been walking with the mail carrier for the past few days to assess the situation. The supervisor goes up to a house and signals the carrier if the coast is clear. Hawkins tried to move some of the garter snakes out of the way for the carrier to no avail. “She was freaked out about snakes completely," he tells Fox. Neighbors say they've been told by the Post Office it's their responsibility to get rid of the snakes if they want their mail. "It's not an infestation of snakes. It is a normal amount of snakes," resident Marry Harris, who has no plans to chase the snakes out of Rogers Park, tells the Tribune. "I just want my mail." Chicagoist reports Rogers Park was named the city's most livable neighborhood in 2016. The snakes would seem to agree; the mail carrier, likely not.