As it should, Rehoboth’s merman has a Pride flag as a tail

Eastern rat snakes are good pest control, as long as they remain outside the house
August 4, 2023

Story Location:
Sea Finds
42 Rehoboth Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

I got to Rehoboth Beach a little early for an interview the other day, so I killed time by walking around a few of the shops in Penny Lane. One of the shops was Sea Finds on the Wilmington Avenue side of the lane.

My mom has a collection of mermaid-themed ornaments, so when I saw that Sea Finds was offering some for sale, I went over to the display – it’s never too early to begin thinking about the holidays. I immediately noticed it was a display of mermen, not mermaids. Almost as quickly, I noticed there was a Rehoboth-themed merman that came with a rainbow tail, an obvious homage to the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

Store owner Linda Abrams said they sell multiple mermen a day. They’re the second most popular item in the store, she said.

“There’s a very strong gay population in Rehoboth, and I have a bunch of loyal customers who are always looking for the newest ones,” said Abrams.

As far as I could tell, the Rehoboth-themed merman was the only one that didn’t have a clever name attached to it. There’s the tennis merman named Ace; the pilot named Mr. Friendly Skies; the merman wearing a cropped apron with a crawfish on it named Craw Daddy; a teacher named Hot 4 Teacher; an African American, Navy-themed merman named Navy Soul; the skater named Sk8r Boy; a barber named Fresh Cut; a fireman named Back Draft; a surfer named Hung 10; and, my personal favorite, a baker named Sticky Buns.

Some of the names are a little risqué, but they’re all in good fun, said Abrams, laughing.

I haven’t decided which merman I’ll be getting my mom for Christmas. She was a nurse at one point in her life, so maybe it will be the merman named Nurse Six Pack.

I’m fine with snakes – as long as they stay out of my house

This past weekend, for the second time this summer, I had to move an eastern rat snake that was getting a little too close to my house.

A few weeks ago, my wife noticed one curled up in the well of my basement window, sunning itself on the warm rocks. She came and got me so I could see. The snake must not have been excited about two grown adults hovering over it, because it started to slither up under the siding of my house. The situation quickly went from, “Isn’t it cool that a snake is sunning itself here?” to “I don’t want that thing setting up shop in my house,” so I grabbed it. After a few seconds, the snake gave up and I was able to pull it out from under the siding.

I came across the second rat snake while cleaning up yard work tools. It was making its way along the shed in the back corner of my yard, heading toward my house. I managed to pin it in place with a rake and picked this one up with much less urgency, which is why there’s a photo of me holding it.

According to an article on snakes found in Delaware, written by Delaware state herpetologist Nathan Nazdrowicz, eastern rat snakes will grow to be about 5 feet long as adults and feed primarily on warm-blooded prey such as mice, small birds and bird eggs.

Rat snakes are excellent climbers and can scale trees or poles to access bird nests, or even climb a brick wall of a house, said Nazdrowicz. They are harmless, he said, but they will rear back in a strike position and may vibrate their tails if they feel threatened.

“When the tail vibrates in dry leaf litter, it may produce a sound similar to a rattlesnake’s rattle,” said Nazdrowicz.

I believe Nazdrowicz when he says that the rat snake is harmless, but I can guarantee that if I hear anything close to what I think is the sound of a rattlesnake, that first snake would've enjoyed the air conditioning of my home until an exterminator came and found it.

Joke of the Week:

National Watermelon Day was Aug. 3. Watermelon growers from the area were on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk the day before handing out slices. There are few things more enjoyable on a hot summer day than a slice of watermelon. The thing is, I enjoy a variety of melons, so I found a joke that hits my big three of summer – watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. As always, send jokes to

Q: A watermelon proposes to its sweetheart: “Honeydew, want to get married?”

A: “Oh yes,” she replies, “but we cantaloupe!”

  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

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