Snakes

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
213
255
63
Deep East Texas
I looked up what type of snake it was in my snake identification book, and it said it was a venomous snake, but I might have misidentified it. I don't care, as long as I don't see it again. I respect snakes living in the wild, but not living in my garage.
^^^^^

This is my position as well. We live in the country on property we own. I've been an avid outdoors-man all of my life and have no fear of snakes. Encounter them fairly often. But I can't allow 'venomous' snakes up around the house or outbuildings near the house.

On occasion it is necessary (or at least the most expedient thing to do) to dispatch a snake.

A couple of years ago in the early fall...I was cutting and splitting firewood down near my shop. When out from under a storage shed came a Copperhead. It immediately assumed a defense posture and was acting uncharacteristically aggressive. Typically, they are more than happy to flee.

This snake was acting as if I were an intruder on its territory. NEVER seen that from a Copperhead before.

I decided right then and there that this particular snake doesn't need to be where I am constantly working, reaching in and around things.

Since I had the chainsaw still idling on the ground and the snake still sitting there feigning strikes I thought I would just take care of the problem.

Here is a little PRO TIP:

IF you decide to to dispatch a snake with a chainsaw, use the TOP of the bar. As soon as lowered the saw onto the snake the chain (moving my direction) snatched the snake right up around my feet! I mean RIGHT on my feet. EEEK........!

So use the TOP of the bar where the chain is moving away from you.

CopperHead1.JPG
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
3,693
1,416
113
North of Pittsburgh PA
Back when I was a world traveler(50+ years ago) by motorcycle, I remember being on a good paved road in Thailand, and moving at a good clip, maybe 50 MPH or so.

I see this large snake crossing the road up ahead, I think I will just run over it, slightly behind the head.

When I say large, I mean like 3" in diameter and 10 feet long, or so. Any bigger than that I would have moved over to the back side and just passed him by.

Anyway, what amazed me was I was sure I was going to get him. But I did not feel any impact with the handlebars, and I looked back and he was just leaving the road.

I can only assume he was fast enough to pull his head back and that I missed him, then he carried on uninjured.

Not sure why I even thought to do this. I LIKE snakes...

That's my snake story for the day! LOL
 

jyoutz

Well-known member

Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
1,193
616
113
Edgewood, New Mexico
Last night I encountered a 3' snake of unknown heritage in the garage. I grabbed a stiff bristle broom and pushed it outside. I looked up what type of snake it was in my snake identification book, and it said it was a venomous snake, but I might have misidentified it. I don't care, as long as I don't see it again. I respect snakes living in the wild, but not living in my garage.
A key identification clue: venomous snakes have triangle shaped heads, looking like a shovel head attached to the handle. Non-venomous snakes have tapered heads.
 

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
213
255
63
Deep East Texas
A key identification clue: venomous snakes have triangle shaped heads, looking like a shovel head attached to the handle. Non-venomous snakes have tapered heads.
Coral snake does not. And a good number of harmless water snakes also have triangular heads or will flatten them when disturbed. So head shape by itself is NOT a reliable diagnostic tool for I.D. and has been the cause of needless death (because of mis-identification) of countless numbers of snakes.

Here is a Southern Watersnake for example:

SouthernWatersnake.jpg


Except for the Coral Snake....all of the rest of the venomous snakes (indigenous to the U.S) are Pit Vipers.

There is a prominent 'pit' between the eye and nostril. I would look for this first.

Pit vipers in the U.S. are the various species of Rattlesnake, Copperhead and Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin. They DO have triangular heads and a relatively narrow neck behind it. But I would caution against using this physical feature as a 'key' identification tool.
 

jyoutz

Well-known member

Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
1,193
616
113
Edgewood, New Mexico
Coral snake does not. And a good number of harmless water snakes also have triangular heads or will flatten them when disturbed. So head shape by itself is NOT a reliable diagnostic tool for I.D. and has been the cause of needless death (because of mis-identification) of countless numbers of snakes.

Here is a Southern Watersnake for example:

View attachment 81723

Except for the Coral Snake....all of the rest of the venomous snakes (indigenous to the U.S) are Pit Vipers.

There is a prominent 'pit' between the eye and nostril. I would look for this first.

Pit vipers in the U.S. are the various species of Rattlesnake, Copperhead and Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin. They DO have triangular heads and a relatively narrow neck behind it. But I would caution against using this physical feature as a 'key' identification tool.
You are correct. In my area, pit vipers are the primary venomous snakes, so the description of head shape works. In other locations, there are examples that you pointed out where that description doesn’t work. True, there are coral snakes, but they are very rare and most people have never seen one outside of zoos.
 

Dieseldonato

Well-known member

Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
573
310
63
Pa
My snake philosophy. If it's there by the time I come back with whatever is handy to kill it with, preferably via lead poisoning, it's dead. I don't like snakes. The wife does and if she's home she'll move it elsewhere or I kill it. Save the ring neck snakes. They don't get real big. We have copper heads and bunch of other nasty snakes but mostly just garter snakes and corn snakes. Bad run in with a rattler once upstate on a job site. Never cared for them since.

Ground rats get killed on site. They have a few holes they like to reuse and are a real problem with the septic system and around the out buildings. Have a tree hugging hippie for a neighbor he gets his panties in a knot when I kill one, the other neighbor wants me to kill them all. Poison is out of the question as well as any sort of body Trapp. Guess at one point he set a body trap near a hole and got a cat instead. I'm not home enough to baby sit a have a heart trap, and the skunks like to get in them too. Funny bit I like the skunks. They eat the Grubbs in the yard and do my aeration for free lol. Got coyotes in the area too, but they don't come around much. Don't think they like my Sheppard, but we all shoot them when we see them. Fast little things.
 

DustyRusty

Well-known member

Equipment
BX23S
Nov 8, 2015
1,857
1,072
113
North East
^^^^^

This is my position as well. We live in the country on property we own. I've been an avid outdoors-man all of my life and have no fear of snakes. Encounter them fairly often. But I can't allow 'venomous' snakes up around the house or outbuildings near the house.

On occasion it is necessary (or at least the most expedient thing to do) to dispatch a snake.

A couple of years ago in the early fall...I was cutting and splitting firewood down near my shop. When out from under a storage shed came a Copperhead. It immediately assumed a defense posture and was acting uncharacteristically aggressive. Typically, they are more than happy to flee.

This snake was acting as if I were an intruder on its territory. NEVER seen that from a Copperhead before.

I decided right then and there that this particular snake doesn't need to be where I am constantly working, reaching in and around things.

Since I had the chainsaw still idling on the ground and the snake still sitting there feigning strikes I thought I would just take care of the problem.

Here is a little PRO TIP:

IF you decide to to dispatch a snake with a chainsaw, use the TOP of the bar. As soon as lowered the saw onto the snake the chain (moving my direction) snatched the snake right up around my feet! I mean RIGHT on my feet. EEEK........!

So use the TOP of the bar where the chain is moving away from you.

View attachment 81268
Just because you chopped that snake into pieces, doesn't mean that it still can't strike at you. I have heard of people being bit by a snake that they had chopped in half. The head lives for a while after the body is damaged. I haven't seen it myself, but I am very cautious around snakes. I just don't like them, but I respect them for what they are.
 

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
213
255
63
Deep East Texas
You are correct. In my area, pit vipers are the primary venomous snakes, so the description of head shape works. In other locations, there are examples that you pointed out where that description doesn’t work. True, there are coral snakes, but they are very rare and most people have never seen one outside of zoos.
No, the description of head shape is not a single diagnostic tool (anywhere) to I.D. Venomous snakes since other non-venomous snakes have the same characteristic (even if not commonly encountered). If you'll divulge your approximate geographic area I will happily provide examples.

Depending on where a person lives.... Coral Snakes are anything but 'very rare'. "Most" people have never seen one outside of a zoo because "Most People" don't venture into areas where any snakes live (venomous or otherwise). Regardless.....it remains an example contrary to your claim.

Head shape....in conjunction with other identifying characteristics can help to correctly identify a venomous snake. But some of these things require you to be in close proximity or actually handle the snake. It is pure folly to say if it has a triangular head.....it is venomous. And if it doesn't it isn't.

This type of misinformation (seeking a simplistic way to I.D.) will either get someone bitten, the snake killed or cause excitement where none was warranted.

I would encourage folks to simply take the time to educate themselves about the venomous snakes that might occur in your area (or where you plan to be). In some places they are few, in other places there are at least four (or more if there are subspecies).

Good grief.... we live in an age of the internet. Virtually anything you care to know about is at your finger tips. A 10 minute search would provide a novice all the info they needed to develop a sense for what they were looking at.

One last comment: It's OK to be wrong. Learn from it.
 
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Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
213
255
63
Deep East Texas
Just because you chopped that snake into pieces, doesn't mean that it still can't strike at you. I have heard of people being bit by a snake that they had chopped in half. The head lives for a while after the body is damaged. I haven't seen it myself, but I am very cautious around snakes. I just don't like them, but I respect them for what they are.
Yes, I am well aware. I have handled many hundreds of snakes in my lifetime both venomous and non.

And yes, for a period of time it is 'possible' for a severed head or otherwise dead/incapacitated snake to have a bite reflex. That is well documented and I've seen it personally.....particularly with rattlesnakes.

So your warning is both correct and a valuable bit of information. (y)
 
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leveraddict

Active member

Equipment
2017 BX23S 60" LP BoxBlade 54" mower 60" BackBlade EA 12" 1 bottom plow & Forks
Apr 1, 2019
487
248
43
Madison,Pa.
I have gotten within 5 feet of a large yellow timber rattler. Very beautiful and rare to see! As a boy I stepped on a young coiled rattler while walking down the rail road tracks. I was lucky that day! The annual Noxen Rattlesnake Roundup is next week. Its a yearly fund raiser for the volunteer fire co! You would think theres an easier way to raise money!
 

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
213
255
63
Deep East Texas
I have gotten within 5 feet of a large yellow timber rattler. Very beautiful and rare to see! As a boy I stepped on a young coiled rattler while walking down the rail road tracks. I was lucky that day! The annual Noxen Rattlesnake Roundup is next week. Its a yearly fund raiser for the volunteer fire co! You would think theres an easier way to raise money!
^^^^^

Doubtful. Legal way....anyway.

Snakes whether loved or feared seem to attract people. Just about any event featuring snakes will draw large crowds. And what makes the Noxen Roundup unique is that snakes are not harmed. They are measured, recorded and released again. The Timber/Canebrake rattlers on display are absolutely beautiful reptiles.


The public gets to see the snakes, learn some things about them Myths vs. Facts, learn to identify venomous snakes (vs non venomous) and enjoy an outing that provides many booths with vendors and other things to see and do.

In my State (Texas), rattlesnake roundups generally involve the slaughter of many of the captured snakes. The hides are used to make a variety of craft items (hat bands, belts, holsters, boots, etc) and the meat is cooked and sold. In moderate numbers this likely doesn't hurt the population and I am not against it, but it doesn't sit well with certain folks.

These round up events draw tens of thousands of people and generate a lot of revenue.