Thursday, June 2, 2011

I thought I was over my Snakey Fears.....

Then I saw this bad boy at the pond.
Meet the Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin.

When Scott, Conner, and I walked up to the pond this evening Conner spotted a snake. My first thought was, "Conner!! Leave my sweet little snakes alone!!!". 

(You know, because I've all but kicked my highly irrational fear of snakes. I kind of like seeing my little pond snakes. Kissy found one the other day under the wood pile and they all came and got me to see if he was a snake who would be sharing the woods with us....or if he was going to meet the business end of the shotgun. He was  just a little pond snake who will continue to share the land with us.)
Then I caught sight of the actual snake. I didn't really see anything but his body and I went into FULL PANIC MODE!!! 

(That means that my heart began to race and I felt like I was going to throw up.)
One of the cool things about the Master Naturalist class was that I learned a lot about snakes. Some of it I knew. Things like their valuable part in the ecosystem and such. I also enjoyed learning the things that you should look for when you are identifying a snake and the information about their behaviour. 

The knowledge has really helped me to OBSERVE the creatures instead of just freaking out.

When we talked about the poisonous snakes I found out a lot of interesting tidbits. Things like.....they usually aren't aggressive.....bites are pretty rare......when people do get bit it's usually guys in their 20's and they are bit on the hand because they were jacking with know, good info. CALMING info. Information that allows me to step outside my door without freaking out. :o)

But actually seeing the heavy body that we'd talked about in class threw my survival mode into full gear. 
(BTW, my survival is usually much more about FLIGHT than FIGHT. Call me a girl, I don't care. Call me a wuss....nope...doesn't bother me. Just come kill the snake for me so I don't have to watch it slither or take a whack at it myself. Because when I see the icky icky BAD snakes......{by icky icky BAD snake I mean the cottonmouth feasting on bird at my pond}............I want to do my trademark backwards high step with sobbing squeals until I'm far enough away that I feel safe. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 feet usually does it.) 

This is not a snake that gets to share the woods with my knowledge. This is a snake that has to go the the happy snakey place in the sky where God has provided lots of lovely birds for him to eat and ponds that don't frequently have children, dogs, and ME running around them.

I know venomous snakes are people too. But they just can't be people in my backyard. 

Some tips to identifying cottonmouths. 

They have a heavy body. 
They will vibrate their tails when they feel threatened. This is try and convince you to eat the wrong end.
If they feel they can't escape they will coil up with their head in the center of their coil. If they do this......LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!!   
(Leave them alone anyways. Don't become one of the statistical goobers who gets bitten on the hand.)
 They have a triangle shaped head. I believe all pit vipers do. (I knew it was a cottonmouth because of it's body. Scott knew it was one because of the head shape. I didn't even think of head shape at the time. )

Always remember that snakes can be dangerous, but they're not mean. 

Remember that snakes can be dangerous, but they're not mean.

Snakes can be dangerous, but they're not mean.

(That will be my mantra tonight when I wake up from the nightmare where the giant cottonmouth slowly eats my house while eyeballing me to let me know that I'm next.)

Maybe one day I can see a venomous;plyu snake and not have a ball of fear develop in my stomach.

But probably not.:o)



Susan Thornton said...


I'm about to move to Bowie, next door to my sister and her husband. They have chickens, which is so great and egg abundant. I have asked several times about the "snake population" - I'm a nature girl and am good with anything but - snakes. They told me that there were no snakes except a few little grass snakes (which make me squeal like a little girl, but I at least feel silly about it later). Well, my sister just posted a pic on Facebook of a 4 foot long snake her husband found in the chicken house. I. Am. Freaked. But I have to go to the "Big Girl" place and find peace with the possibility of the slithery things. Looking forward to the country life, except for that. And, are you selling any of your farm goods?

Restless Prairie Farm said...

The only thing I'm selling right now is flour, soap, wool and spinning wheels. The store is finally ALMOST done. The ceiling went in yesterday and I think we may actually make our June 15th deadline. Hopefully. :o)

The snakes are usually fine for me until they start to move. The movement freaks me out. Rat snakes are good to have (if they're not eating your chickens) because they really do keep the mice population from exploding and taking over your home. But it has taken me a LONG time to not absolutely freak out at the sight of ANY snake.

I was glad Scott was home when we saw it. The bad thing about having to shoot them is that you have to look at them. If they are moving....sheesh...It would be SO hard for me to do.

Good luck in your new home! I'm sure you'll love it out there. Snakes and all.:o)