Beware the slither.
I watched someone years ago who was so terrified of snakes that when they walked up on one they immediately froze in fear. It wasn’t until the snake was long gone that they calmed enough to move on toward where they had been headed.
Growing up here, and spending a lot of time in the woods, we were reminded constantly to pay attention and look out for snakes.
When we were kids, there was two paths that went down to the bottom of the hill. The one we were more apt to use for our can you make it to the bottom without going into the creek challenges was straighter and wider. The challenges were to ride anything with wheels, get to the bottom and not in the creek without using brakes. The other path was more narrow, had more turns and had a tree that leaned over the path right as it reached the first spring. My grandfather had driven a long pipe horizontally into the ground where the water came out. It had formed a small creek that was a wonderful habitat for minnow, crawdads and tadpole. But that tree was an obstacle of sorts. We always feared that there was a snake stretched out on that tree hanging out waiting on us to come through. As a group we would make our way happily down the path until we reached a point a few feet from the tree. Then one by one we would run under the tree stopping a few feet past. Looking back it makes little sense unless we thought the snake couldn’t get us all that way, most of us would get through and be safe. Once we were all past the tree, down the rock steps and to the creek to play. Never considering what we would do if there had been a snake of that there might just be a snake somewhere around the water.
Living out here in a semi-rural area with my house backed up to the woods, seeing snakes is nothing unusual. Most are harmless, but we do have the venomous copperhead who appear from time to time.
When I lost my job to the pandemic I needed something to do to stay busy. I decided I would clear away years worth of neglect. In the process I dealt with several copperhead who didn’t appreciate my clean up efforts. Since I have cleaned up the area and outbuilding, I haven’t seen another copperhead. For which I am thankful.
Over the course of the past few years, I have become less afraid of snakes. To the point where finding them to photograph has become an enjoyable past time. I have handled a rat snake, though it wasn’t one of my finer moments. I try not to do them any harm as I know there are many benefits to having snakes around.
Even a venomous copperhead has purpose. https://fbresearch.org/copperheads-curing-cancer/
And if you really want more in depth information..https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6832721/
I have learned, especially over the course of the past year, to be more aware of snakes. Sometimes though…
I decided I was going to take one of my hikes through the woods. I made my way down the hill and to the small pond. As I started around I noticed something on a slender limb that stretched out toward the pond. I thought that my niece’s son had managed to get something he had been tossing for his dog to fetch tangled in the tree. I was wrong. As I finally got close enough I saw that what was in the tree, was in fact a very large rat snake simply hanging out in the sunlight. I quickly decided that I needed to go the other way.
I made my way around the pond back close enough to the snake and took a few photos before going back around the pond and on my merry way.
When I was still in process of clearing my property, I needed to take something to my niece. As I walked up the driveway, something told me to stop. Just as I was about to put my foot down on a rather large copperhead.
I walked around my house one afternoon headed for the back yard, dodging fledgling birds to see a really long rat snake making its way back to the woods.
Amazing things snakes…as long as I see them first.