Warning: Object Is Closer Than It Appears

Don’t click if you don’t like snakes.

We caught a little beauty today.  At first glance from the top of my tractor mower, it appeared a rather large copperhead was on its way into the garage.  Uh, not good.  I quickly jumped off the tractor and headed him off — trapped underneath Scott’s car.  I loudly summoned my husband outside and gathered a Rubbermaid bin, the usual jaunt for catch-and-release.

We are not snake killers, merely snake re-locators of sorts, finding them a more suitable location that’s not right up where the kids play.  But this looked like a venomous snake from my viewpoint; a teammate is always welcome.

Sorry if you’re snake skiddish.  I’m not as close to my specimen as it looks, the lens only a foot or so from its cute little face.  Love my Olympus E-volt for close-up shots.

Am I Venomous? Or not?

It’s not a venomous snake.  He’s a good size, between 3 and 4 feet, but small by Texas Rat Snake standards (they grow to 10 feet or more).  These are snakes we definitely want on the property, and we haven’t see one for quite some time, a couple of years at least.  Good to have him making rounds — keeping the rodent and squirrel population in check — as long as he doesn’t wind up in my garage for a barefoot surprise.

Non-venomous. Notice the straight (versus triangular) head and no pits. Plus, Scott’s not brave enough to handle a venomous version yet.

It’s nice when the kiddos get a freebie chance to learn about nature close-up.  We are training nature-lovers and nature-respectors — not nature-killers.  After the lesson (venomous or non-venomous, respect your critters), we promptly let him go in the garden.

As far away from my mockingbird family as possible.  Because this guy’s also a baby-bird eater.  crossing fingers

Nice and Easy!

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To view all of our lovely wildlife, these and other photos are at my Picasa Web Album Critters, which you may flip through at any time.

27 thoughts on “Warning: Object Is Closer Than It Appears

  1. I like snakes, though wouldn’t be wild about being near any of the venomous ones. When I was a lot younger, my sister had a boa constrictor and our window-cleaner of the time was so terrified that he fled and never came back! 🙂

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    1. We find that entire ethnic populations here have a superstitious disdain for the slithery reptilians (religious perhaps?). I’ve watched grown men turn into me-caveman-must-kill-before-being-killed when faced with a small, harmless, ribbon snake. Seriously?

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      1. I think there’s probably some basic instinct in some people. Don’t forget that a lot of animals completely freak out when they see or hear a snake. Maybe we’re the ones who aren’t being natural about them?

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  2. I love your perspective and your understanding of a balanced ecosystem. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you! I am not as freaked about snakes as spiders. Snakes don’t really bother me; so long as they’re not crawling around near my house.

    He’s a beauty!

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    1. Well thank you! I remember our first rat snake experience at this house, when Ginny was still just a baby. John was on the swing set (he was 5) and walked slowly away saying, “Mom, there’s a snake on the slide.” I remember thinking, NO WAY, but sure enough, there he was. A 5-footer up there on the swing set. Rat snakes are good climbers, did I mention that?

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  3. I feel the same way about snakes. Although moving a rattlesnake might be a little harder for me. We just had a garter snake slither under our shed a couple days ago.

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    1. The large Rubbermaid bin works great. Snakes really just want to crawl up under something anyway, so all we do is give them that cozy place, lay it down over them, slide the lid under it, and voila. Snake in a bucket. We simply carry to where we want to release and open the lid. They’re happy to get away.

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      1. I’ll remember that for the future. The only venemous snake we’ve seen in the yard was a coral snake although there have been rattlesnakes in our neighbor’s yards. Usually we just let the little harmless ones continue on their way.

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  4. I think it’s great that you’re teaching your kids about them! I just went to my parents’ country property here in Texas yesterday and we had a conversation about how to tell if a snake is venomous or not. It’s definitely good to know. I’ve only seen one snake in the wild and so based on my little experience with them, my game plan upon an encounter is to stay far away.

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    1. I’m more scared of driving my family on Texas highways.

      There are at least 40 varieties of snakes in Texas, and only 4 of them are venomous (i.e. dangerous). Three of those four are not at all aggressive, which leaves just one to keep an eye on: the water moccasin. Rattlesnakes will tell you audibly to back off, the copperhead will stay very still in hopes you won’t see it (don’t accidentally step on it!), and the most venomous of them is so small and has no fangs, you’d have to WANT to get bit.

      Therefore, nothing to fear! I taught my kids early on to come get Mommy whenever a snake is seen. The real danger is in the little ones getting bitten — snake venom is worse for a child because of their small size.

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      1. Thanks for the info! That makes me feel better. The funny thing is that I don’t even think I’m that scared of the bite itself, but the possibility that my family members (mostly the kids) or I couldn’t get to a hospital in time to take care of it if we’re out in the country. Knowing what you’re dealing with would certainly be useful if that ever happened. Now I’m wondering if there are snakes that bite that aren’t actually venomous. I’ll have to Google that…

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  5. Oh my God. I probably still would have screamed, just out of habit. We don’t have many snakes like that in North Carolina…and thank goodness Val and I haven’t run into any while camping! I’m not too squeamish, but snakes are a little out of my comfort zone, lol.

    Glad he was a good guy, though. Nice to have one keeping tabs on your rodents for you. He’s probably better than a cat!

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    1. You’ve got your share of snakes there in NC too, girl! Your herpetology folks have devised a super-nice on-line snake ID, so if you ever find one, you can quickly find out which one you have.

      http://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_nc/snakes/SnakeID/search.asp

      People’s first reaction to a snake is to kill it first, then ID it. That is the stigma I’m working to reverse. Snakes are extremely beneficial animals — even the venomous ones. They (like spiders) don’t get the respect they deserve.

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