Monday, December 12, 2011


I don’t exactly dislike snakes. I’ve no problem at all with most of them.

But I have never warmed to the poisonous varieties. There are lots of them in Florida; most of the Northerners who move here probably aren’t aware of how thick the scrub country is with rattlers, how many moccasins are lurking in those canals and ponds. Of course, everyone knows that the occasional poodle becomes an alligator meal. Fewer realize that the coyotes filtering into the north part of the state are responsible for cat disappearances. The retirees in their manicured subdivisions are largely oblivious to the fact that they are living with poisonous reptiles.

I remember my dog, Shortie, carrying on and going out to find a huge rattler curled up inside his house. Dog and snake were not going to coexist so removal via shotgun was necessary. Not too much damage to the dog house! I remember walking into my front yard in South Florida and finding not one but THREE large moccasins. I smelled them before I saw them; their rotten-cucumber reek is quite unmistakable. Unmistakable to me, anyway, I know the odor and have me a pretty good sniffer.

Maybe it’s not the good environmentalist thing to do, but I killed all of them. In their place, in the woods, I have no problem with coexistence. When they come into my yard, it’s another matter.

Incidentally, there is no way I would walk around in the wilds of Florida with exposed legs. Heavy jeans and boots for me; I’ll leave the khaki shorts to wannabee Crocodile Hunters.

I am more than aware that poisonous snakes are every bit as numerous where I live now as they were further south. When living close to the Steinhatchee River (yeah, I know using both 'hatchee' and 'river' is redundant), I did see moccasins from time to time. The picture is my nephew Jeff with a medium-sized cottonmouth he speared there. The pine scrub lands around there were and are prime rattler real estate.

As it no doubt is here in the Panhandle. Though the only one I have seen was a little rattler that decided to glide through my flower bed one morning. Ha, maybe I should wear those boots while gardening too!


Michael said...

Poor snake. You know, these cottonmouth snakes are interesting aside from the fact that they're (yeah) dangerous. Did you see its artificial hand?

Most of the Cottonmouths used threat displays to avoid the danger in the form of an artificial hand, and less than one out of three snakes tried to attack the artificial hand.


Cottonmouth snake said...

Why would you kill the snakes if they weren't threatening you.