The Snake Dance

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Coral SnakeIn this part of the country, there is no “cold” season where snakes hide underground until spring time.  Not at all.  Snakes can be seen year around if you know where to look.  Sure, there are a few cold days, maybe even below 30 degrees three to five days in December or January.  This part of the country it is common to see tall brush even inside city limits.  The soil is sand, not soil.  These are ideal conditions for snakes.  There are all kinds of snakes here too.  There is the usual plethora of non-poisonous snakes but more than that, there are several species of poisonous snakes too.

Yesterday there was a coral snake on the front step.  In the United States there are sixty five species of coral snakes and there are eleven species in the other parts of the world. I’ve also seen water moccasins, diamond back and sidewinder rattlesnakes,   Mind you not all at the same time.  They seem to take turns about which one is the venomous snake on the property.  But, there is always something on the property, or near by, that is dangerous if not respected, if not a snake then scorpions, killer bees, wasps, and others.

Therein lies the rub.  If you don’t respect the fact that snakes are going to be more present in our environment because we have encroached on theirs, they will take us by surprise.  Which is what happened to me yesterday.

It had been months since I saw any kind of snake up near the house.  I waltzed right out the front door to look after the chicks and ducklings when right at my feet, a mere three inches away, was the coral snake.  YIKES!!  Talk about doing the snake dance.  And I didn’t know I could scream like a pro.

When I jumped up on the freezer in the garage, my husband came running out.  “Where’s the snake?” he asked.  Now for most of us that is enough.  But later I asked him how he knew it was a snake.  He said there is only one thing that truly frightens me and that is snakes, so it had to be a snake.

How many times have you gone to your garden or hen house only to find snakes of some sort?  For me, that’s an immediate about face and find my husband reaction.  It’s happened often enough that I don’t go to less frequently used parts of the land without his careful check for snakes.

There’s not much you can do to keep snakes off your property.  If you don’t want to do The Snake Dance, the best you can do is be respectful of the fact that they are there some where.  Pay attention to habitat.  Keep the yard mowed, and mow extra wide paths for walking so that you can maximize your ability to see snakes before you get too close.  For me, I like the paths to be at least fifteen feet wide.  Watch your where your footfalls will land and survey the surrounding areas too.  Watch ahead and behind and to each side.  When you come back through that same path, don’t assume there are not snakes because they weren’t there the first time.

(the other half!)
photo by: Bird Brian