tEWWWsday (Snake)Tales

Collage was easy with the help of Fotor app for Mac.

EWWWW! Is a gut response usually reserved for spiders and snakes.  Somewhere deep in our collective memory we carry a native fear buoyant on a  deep layer of disgust when it comes to certain kinds of animal. Plants, not so much.

I, OTOH, rather enjoy having both spiders and snakes a part of our warm-season co-inhabitants and have recently shared a celebration in webs.

But what I am realizing here past mid-way through the summer of 2015 is that we are not seeing our herptile regulars–the brown water snakes that bask on the rock foundation of the barn or the black rat snakes that sun on top of the sliding doors of the barn [the one pictured here is Lumpy–with probable tumor not a hen’s egg.]

We are not seeing the colorful corn snakes that have startled me imitating rope in the shed or the queen snakes basking in the blackberry canes that arch out over the creek or the rough green snakes we see every couple of years. It’s been maybe since early June that we’ve seen a single snake.

So where are the snakes this year? Is it just here on Goose Creek (that is always a few degrees cooler than most everywhere else) that fewer snakes are showing up?

Graphic cobbled using Canva

Are you seeing MORE snakes this summer or LESS than you typically do?

What triggered the direction of this morning’s thread was this NatGeo article below that elucidates the exact physiology of death by constrictor. Now this has a certain EWWW factor, if you’re up for some informative videos and deadly details. You’re welcome.

Why We Were Totally Wrong About How Boa Constrictors Kill

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred, you are right! I don’t recall seeing any up here. We normally have tons of black garden snakes. We have had a LOT of rain this summer. Might that pose difficulties for them?

  2. Interesting article on constrictors! Seems like we’ve had about our normal compliment of snakes around. I’ve unfortunately seen two black snakes dead on our road in the past couple of weeks. I haven’t seen Stumpy Joe around lately, but I usually only see him about once a year anyway.

  3. I was thinking just the opposite about the snakes (at least those of the non-venomous sort). We have had an overload of rat snakes and black racers. I do have to admit that, with the exception of one that was trying to get in a window, most of the rat snakes have been high in the oak trees. However, with the increase in alligators on the Bayou, I have not seen near as many cottonmouth moccasins lurking about the area.