Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daffodils and SNAKES!!!!

If you're creeped out by snakes, you may want to make a graceful exit along about now. Come back tomorrow.  But Martin H. over at Square Sunshine asked what dangerous snakes we have in the US and here they are, beginning with the Copperhead, of which we have quite a few on our mountain. 
 

Copperheads are venomous but rarely fatal. (I have a friend who was bitten by one and she said it was the most pain she's ever experienced.) They are fond of wood piles and rock walls so we try to be cautious around both.

The darker race of copperheads look a lot like our Northern Water Snakes but Copperheads have the slim neck and wide head of the pit viper. They also have vertical pupils whereas the water snake's pupils are round -- a handy identification reference, if you can get that close. 


The other venomous snake in western North Carolina is the rattle snake.
There are many varieties of rattle snakes (rattlers) in the US; here in the mountains we have the timber rattler. Or so I'm told. I've never seen one on our place but that doesn't mean there are none. His scientific name is crotalus horridus but there are few recorded fatalities from his bite. 

No Water Moccasins in the mountains, thank goodness. If you ever saw Lonesome Dove and the scene where the cowboys are crossing the river- well, never mind but talk about creeping you out. . .
 
Water moccasins are also called cottonmouths. When disturbed, they will hold their heads up and open their mouths wide, displaying the pale interior. These snakes are aggressive and highly venomous.

We don't have any Coral Snakes so no need for the rhyme Scouts learn-"Red and yellow -- kill a fellow/ Red and black--friend of Jack."

(The harmless Scarlet King Snake looks very similar, but in the King Snake, the red and black bands are touching, not separated by yellow.)



Coral Snakes sound pretty scary -- related as they are to cobras, mambas, and sea snakes. But they are highly reclusive and non-aggressive. They aren't pit vipers and don't inject venom into their victim -- they literally have to chew it in.  I've never seen one in the wild, though I lived in Florida (which has all four venomous snakes) over thirty years.

The pictures of snakes came from HERE  
Click the link for lots more information on venomous snakes of the USA.
Or just enjoy a snake-free clump of daffodils.
 
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24 comments:

R. Burnett Baker said...

I'll avoid them for sure! I was bitten on my little toe by a sea snake in the waters along the border of Malaysia and Thailand right about where the Gulf of Siam meets the South China Sea. A friend took me by motor bike to the doctor. It hurt like heck and I thought I was gonna die. Of course the snake was a baby and I wasn't in any real danger, but still! Got an injection of something, probably some saline solution, and was sent on my way.

I stayed away from the ocean for a while. But for several years after, I would frequently have an itching sensation in that little toe.

I'm NOT itching, however, to see (sea) any snakes!

Rick

Marilyn said...

I was VERY creeped out by the snakes but did read about them all the while feeling very thankful that I live in a snake free country! I appreciated the beautiful soothing daffodils at the start and finish.

Victoria said...

I like snakes and, while I wouldn't go up to a venomous snake (we have 6 kinds of rattlesnakes here, including the Mojave Green whose venom is 40 times more deadly than that of a Diamondback,) they don't creep me out. We don't have Timber Rattlers; the western version is called a Speckled Rattler and doesn't get quite as long as the Timber.

I have ivy growing all around. I've seen harmless little California King snakes (they resemble Coral snakes) and Garter snakes in it. Their little faces look so friendly!

Joan said...

After many years of teaching and pretending not to be afraid of creepy things.. I find snakes do not scare me as much as would once have done ..but .. I am very happy to live in a land with no snakes. We can walk through long grass and through the bush with ne'er a care.
Some Saint Patrick must have been here before us! I think your snakes are really beautiful.

June said...

I understand we have rattlesnakes around here too, but I've never seen one. I think I have not seen a snake larger than a garter snake since I was a little kid.
A friend of ours was bitten by a rattler, intentionally... He wanted to know what it was like. It didn't kill him. Hurt, but didn't kill him.
He's crazy. by the way . . . and was before the bite.

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

This was so interesting! I'm not a fan of snakes but I have to admit that they do have their own beauty....via a photograph! However am I glad that the only venomous snake we have in the U.K.is the Adder, very shy and rarely fatal.
I've been to Florida myself a long time ago now, on holiday. Whilst there my friend's little boy stood on a snake on the path of a Dennys as we left one evening. Miraculously it didn't bite him! At first we thought he was mistaken..had stepped upon a garden hose or something, but as he exclaimed and pointed we saw it wriggle away. A waitress on a break nearby came over at our raised voices and when we explained, she said it was most likely a Rat snake with a nasty but not fatal bite.
We can only think because he was only seven years old and very slight so not heavy, and also wearing very light-pumps or rubber soled sand shoes it didn't make it angry! It certainly put the fear of God in us for the rest of the holiday though!

Thank you so much for visiting I loved your comment ;)
The daffodil picture at the end was lovely and peaceful.

Jane

Pat in east TN said...

I've experienced several copperheads and one rattler over the years while living in western NC and east TN. I'm always on the look out.

Miss_Yves said...

I'll comeback tomorrow!!!

Brian Miller said...

seen a few of these in my day...just held a snake yesterday...non venomous, but with a nipping little bite...it was a baby...

Bouncin' Barb said...

My late hubby was bitten when he was young by a copperhead on the foot. Luckily he didn't lose the foot because it turned all black but he said the pain was definitely horrendous and he was sick with a fever for a few days. The scar, 40 years later was as clear as a bell. The 4 fang marks. Ugh!!!

Martin H. said...

Vicki, thank you for posting on this subject. After reading about the Blacksnakes, I was curious to know what else lurked and slithered in the mountains. You've been there a long time, though, and seem to be living side by side, just fine.

Kath said...

Super helpful reminder of what to be aware of. Great photos. Thank you.

I'm hoping to only see the daffodils.

Jill said...

Wow. I have never seen the darker version of the Copperhead snake. It really does resemble the Water snake. Nice post.

NCmountainwoman said...

The first time we took our dogs to the veterinarian here he gave us instructions for first aid for copperhead bites. Being heavily wooded, our community has lots of copperheads although we have seen only a couple of them.

Deanna said...

I am not a fan of snakes... at all! According to the Missouri Conservation Department, Missouri doesn't have poisoness snakes. I have to disagree since we have a skin from a copperhead hanging in our basement (my hubby is crazy that way). He got it the Crocodile Dundee way by flinging a rock at its head! I'm pretty sure we also have the cotton mouth. Did I mention I hate snakes?

Interesting information.

Louise said...

Though there are isolated pockets of poisonous snakes in New York State, there are none around the area where I live. That suits me just fine. I'm not afraid of snakes, but they often do startle me when I surprise one in the garden.

All in all, I liked the pictures of the daffodils better.

Brenda said...

Eeeeek.... thank heavens for the sweet little daffodils to restore peace to my soul.

Star said...

I'll take the daffodils, thank you. I assume all snakes are venomous and avoid them. The only venomous snake we have in England is the adder so I'm not used to living where I have to watch where I walk all the time. Thank you for the information.

Vicki Lane said...

I'm slowly getting around to catching up on my visiting -- you guys have some interesting snake stories.

The thought of sea snakes really scares me; glad it was just a baby, Rick.

I have a friend who was bitten on the finger by a copperhead and she says the finger tends to ache every year on the anniversary of the bite.

Darla said...

Interesting post; cute how you bookended the snakes with the daffs... ;-)

GrandmaK said...

Snakes are frightening to me...a copperhead kept us from entering out house in OK for nearly 3 hours! It was a once in a lifetime experience! Thanks be to God! But I did enjoy this post! Thank you! Cathy

Desiree said...

Thank goodness those weren't photograped in your garden or worse, inside your home!!!

My sister lives in Brisbane, in a forested neighbourhood and they occasionally get snakes popping indoors! Frequently venomous types, too!

Years ago we spotted a huge Cape Cobra slithering across the road right outside our house and disappearing down the drain! Since then, our area has become very built-up & so I'm sure any snakes moved away long ago!

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, your first pic is actually a northern water snake (ironic since you mentioned that they closely resemble copperheads!) It has actually flattened its head as a defense mechanism to make you think that it is a copperhead, but unfortunately that makes many people want to kill them. This snake has an offset banded pattern completely unlike the hourglass one of a copperhead, it's pupils are round (which you actually mentioned again in your post but apparently didn't really look at your snake)

Vicki Lane said...

Oh my goodness, you're absolutely right, Anonymous! I shall put a real copperhead picture in its place. Thank you!