03 March 2011

He's Such A Happy Copperhead

I've always loved snakes.  I think they are beautiful and amazing creatures, whether they are venomous or big enough to swallow a five year old.  We have our share of poisonous snakes here on the island, mostly water moccasins and copperheads. I've seen them both, but not very often, and each time, they just wanted to go about their business.  None of them wanted to "run me down" and attack, they said hello and went about their merry way.  Then again, I didn't really startle them by screaming and jumping around either....

I think I've only gained some fear over the years from everyone else freaking out about them and how dangerous they are.  I recall there was a time up in North Park in western Pennsylvania, I was having a picnic with a few friends.  There was a tiny garter snake that I picked up and held.  He was so small he curled up in my palm.  He sat there calmly until one of the guys, trying to be macho, went to poke it.  The snake pulled away from him abruptly and wouldn't calm down again.  So back into the grass he went.

Then I noticed what looked like a tiny head moving in zig-zags across the water.  My first thought was perhaps it was a turtle.  As it came closer, I realized that it had trailing zig-zags behind it....snake!  It swam right towards us, and sat partially out of the water.  None of us moved for a minute, it was a fairly large one, maybe about 5 feet long.  I wasn't familiar with the pattern, and couldn't see it's eyes, so I didn't want to agitate it.  I decided to take a few steps towards it, slowly.  It continued to look at me, staying still.  I got about a foot and a half away from it, and it came a little closer to close the distance by another half foot...slowly.  I never felt threatened by it, I just wanted to say hello.  I guess the guys wouldn't be outdone by a girl, so one decided to jump off the table from which they were standing towards the snake.  (I should note this was the same guy that poked at the baby garter).  The snake raised its head for a second and then shot off in the opposite direction.  It's been a long time, and I'm still not completely sure what kind of snake it was.  It could have been a northern water snake, but I remember it looking more like a copperhead.  I only found out what a copperhead looked like much later, but that experience changed the way I thought of poisonous snakes.


  1. Him's cute!

    I've had water moccasins aggro on me, but never rattlers or copperheads. It's easy enough to throw a 5 gallon bucket with a lid in the car for any I run into doing somebody's yard. I figure it's better for me to move them elsewhere than leave them for the homeowner to squish in a fit of ZOMGsnakesSnakesSNAKES!!!

  2. Yep, because obviously snake means they're laying in wait for you and are out to try and kill you and your children. I actually had some girl run out of the museum the other day because we had a jar with a water moc in alcohol.

    We had a young water moccasin that was kind of upset, but he seemed more touchy than really out to bite. :)