can anyone identify this snake?


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yongxingfreesty
August 11, 2007, 02:21 AM
found this snake in my backyard, prob ate my fish or frogs.
killed it with a shovel to the head. can anyone tell me more about this snake?
if wrong section, sorry.

http://i17.tinypic.com/66t0s47.jpg
http://i19.tinypic.com/5xzv05v.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/52bykvm.jpg
http://i19.tinypic.com/62sw5fo.jpg
http://i18.tinypic.com/66ud2jq.jpg

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koja48
August 11, 2007, 03:06 AM
Unfortunately, a very dead, perfectly harmless, & formerly very beneficial garter snake.

yongxingfreesty
August 11, 2007, 03:08 AM
awww CRAP! now i feel so bad, it scared the heck out of me when I saw it.

Novus Collectus
August 11, 2007, 03:12 AM
Yeah, it's a garter snake, but don't fret, there are probably a few more where that one came from coming soon.

Art Eatman
August 11, 2007, 09:35 AM
Only four poisonous snakes in Texas, and what you'd see depends on location.

Most folks know what rattlers look like; they're pretty much in all parts of the state. Moccasins, of which the cottonmouth is the only poisonous one, are rare if you're not near a pond or stream.

Copperheads? I know they're around Cuero in DeWitt County; never saw one around Austin, and certainly not out here in the desert.

The coral snake is pretty uncommon. They move slowly. Sluggish. Small. Half to three-quarter inch diameter; not often over 18" or so in length. They don't really strike, as does a rattler or copperhead. Black bands, and red and yellow bands adjacent. Distinguished from one of the harmless king snakes by the doggerel, "Red and yellow, kill a fellow; red and black, friend of Jack."

Everything else? Harmless.

H&Hhunter
August 11, 2007, 10:20 AM
Yep,

That was a perfectly harmless little garter snake. Poor little thing. And she probably had a had a nice little family back in her home. Now they will be orphaned and raised by foster parent snakes.

Some or most will probably have trouble relating with other snakes in snake school and most will probably be institutionalized before they become adults.

;);)


Many people have an automatic reaction to a snake any snake and that is to go into kill mode. Most snakes are very beneficial. And the vast majority are harmless.

However you should never approach or attempt to touch or pick up a snake that you are not familiar with.

yhtomit
August 11, 2007, 11:38 AM
From the look of your kill, I bet you could erase doubt about what it ate with the aid of a filet knife :)

Snakes, even "harmless" ones, sure give me the willies -- not as bad a case as they give my sister, but still.They're like cockroaches; I know that some people can somehow manage to not be bothered, but as for us normals, no way :)

(However, as a kid I once helped to cruelly kill a snake -- almost certainly a completely harmless one, and I have always felt bad about that since, so I'd be leery of killing one unless I knew it to be harmful.)

timothy

MCgunner
August 11, 2007, 11:47 AM
I've had garter snakes make a home in my garden and I even had a pet one for a few days as a kid until my mom made me set it free. :D . I remember getting the bejesus scared out of me by a hog nose in a wood pile once. UGLY big headed creatures, but totally harmless. The only things we have that are bad news are moccasins, rattlers, and copper heads and they're easy to identify. I have seen coral snakes, too. They have a very potent poison, but not much of a delivery system for it. Still, I shoo 'em away, rather not test out their delivery systems, LOL. They're not aggressive snakes. Copper heads aren't aggressive nor that potent, either. The two snakes that really get me moving are cotton mouths (hate those ugly, nasty things and they can be aggressive) and rattlers just because they can be deadly. I'll normally shoot the moccasins just because, will side step a rattler and leave it alone in the field if I can unless it's a big one and I wanna eat it. :D

hexidismal
August 11, 2007, 12:25 PM
Since this thread has already delivered it's useful info.. just for fun I'd like to take this thread opportunity to relate to you all a little personal history with snakes. They hate me, plain and simple. I've never really had anything against them.. but man o man, do they hate me. The first incident I can remember was in grade school, maybe 4th or 5 th grade. My school would take it's students on a yearly trip to a nearby old unused reservoir which was used for picnics and swimming and the like. I was, as far as I know, the only kid who had to be brought in from the lake and taken to the hospital (just to make sure) from REPEATED watersnake bites. Totally harmless, and normally scared of people. Now, skip ahead some years, and I knew a girl who kept constrictor type snakes. One day one of her snakes was passed around from person to person, totally placid.. and yep, you guessed it, bit me for no reason when it got to me. Again skip ahead. In high school science class, a teacher had brought in a tiny little baby garter snake. It didn't even have any teeth to speak of, but when passed around it repeatedly tried to bite my finger. Just basically smacked its open mouth against me. And I was the only one that happened to in the group. So, it's been about 13 years since then, and I've refused to hold any pet snakes since then. BUT.. friends who do have pet snakes are always saying "he doesn't normally do this" when I'm around, because the snakes tend to get cagey and annoyed easily. So.. there you have it.. unexplained to this day, snakes hate me. :uhoh:

H&Hhunter
August 11, 2007, 12:33 PM
hexi,

You must produce some of those danger pheromones that snakes hate so much!

I once had a HUGE green mamba slither by me as I was seated on a rock pile. Apparently I was sitting on his house.

I held perfectly still and he just slithered by about two inches from my feet all 8 or 10 feet of him.

I'm sure glad that I don't have the same effect on snakes that you do! That would have been bad.:uhoh:

TehK1w1
August 11, 2007, 01:05 PM
Just for the heck of it...
That is an Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis). It is indeed harmless, and is one of the most common snakes in your area(where I also happen to be located) It's a rather pretty animal and it's a pity you killed it, but that's better than getting bitten by a water moccasin. It is found in basically the entire eastern half of the US, and can be found in fields, forests, and back yards :uhoh:

I'm a biology major, can you tell? :rolleyes:

Sources available on request. :D

tkendrick
August 11, 2007, 09:12 PM
When I was a kid, about 13 or so, my old man decided that my character would be better developed if I worked in the summer instead of hanging around the community pool with my pals.

One afternoon, I stepped down of the JD 4020 to take a P, and felt something slapping my leg. Turned out I had parked on a big Bull Snake and he was thrashing around pretty good.

Funny thing......I don't REMEMBER climbing on top of the cab!

Hikingman
August 11, 2007, 09:46 PM
That Garter snake is looking hungry! Well, he probably caught his next meal soon afterward. It is likely a "Thamnophis sirtalis annectens" or Texas Garter Snake for short.

TehK1w1
August 11, 2007, 11:16 PM
Well, I was checking out Hikingman's suggestion and I have come up with another idea. I think that this may not be a Garter snake, but a Western Ribbon snake (Thamnophis proximus proximus). It is very similar in appearance, but has the orange stripe this snake is showing.

MCgunner
August 12, 2007, 07:51 AM
Well, it's just a garter snake to me, and yeah, I was a biology type, fisheries management. :D Didn't take any herpetology. Most did, but I was busy with chemistry courses for electives, wanted to be one of the few to get a job when I got out.

MSarge
August 12, 2007, 11:18 AM
Snakes I can handle. Spiders are another story. I'm not responsible for what I do if a spider gets on me.

tkendrick
August 12, 2007, 11:51 AM
Spiders are another story. I'm not responsible for what I do if a spider gets on me.

Me too. And at least once or twice a year, I get a tarantula the size of a sanitation truck in my back yard.:eek:

koja48
August 12, 2007, 12:55 PM
Ditto . . . with all the Black Widows in this area, when I encounter one, it's history.

pax
August 12, 2007, 01:11 PM
"Red and yellow, kill a fellow; red and black, friend of Jack."


Art ~

I learned a variant of that.

"Red on yellow, kill a fellow.
Red on black, poisons lack."

pax

MCgunner
August 12, 2007, 02:37 PM
Red and black, venom lack is the official south Texas version. :D

Copperheads? I know they're around Cuero in DeWitt County; never saw one around Austin, and certainly not out here in the desert.

Wooded areas in the eastern half of Texas have copperheads. We don't have many down here on the middle coast where my property is at and the big tree is scrub oak or mesquite or huisache, but just a little inland in the post oak/live oak, they abound. I grew up south of Houston in Brazoria County, lots of 'em back in the woods there. Their poison isn't that bad, never heard of anyone being killed by one, but getting bit by one ain't exactly fun from what I hear and is to be avoided. Not as many rattlers where I grew up and they're everywhere you step down here. I think I'd trade the rattlers for copperheads. Plenty of moccasins both areas as both are wet.

As I understand it, there's only one moccasin, well, cottonmouth anyway. All those yellow/black and different versions of water snakes that are non-poisonous are of a different genus, Natrix. They get big, are nasty looking, can infest a pond or tank, and can be very aggressive, but have no venom. They're mean son of a guns, though, will come after you upon slightest provocation and test how confident you are in your snake identification, ROFL! Been there, done that. Lots of the Natrix are blotchy colored or patterned and are easily identifiable as not being a moccasin. However, there's about a bazillion species and if they're coming at you such that you can't see the head well enough to identify it as a pit viper, I just shoot first and ask questions later. ROFL!

http://www.hlasek.com/natrix_natrix_4197.html

TehK1w1
August 12, 2007, 10:47 PM
That's my thought, if it comes after me I'm going to shoot it, if not I will ignore it if harmless, relocate it if poisonous and in a location where it could cause harm. Catching copperheads is not an activity for the faint of heart :p My count so far is 5 caught and no bites :D

p35
August 25, 2007, 05:59 PM
Garter snakes like that are common around here and harmless. I don't mess with them because they tend to poop all over when picked up, especially on whoever is doing the pickupping.

Jimmy Newman
August 25, 2007, 07:03 PM
I would just like to add one thing to the discussion: While "red touch yellow" works in North America, it does not in Central and South America where there are some coral snakes where red and yellow bands do not touch. It may also not work on other continents not mentioned :).

I've seen plenty of rattlesnakes, a few water moccasins, a couple of copperheads, and no coral snakes. I have a friend who is a major snake lover and he taught me a fair bit about them and how to tell the different types apart. I mostly live and let live unless they're right around a house.

I did have a speckled king snake for a pet for a number of years, they make pretty easy to take care of pets except for the biweekly or monthly cage cleaning, which is kind of gross.

MCgunner
August 25, 2007, 08:06 PM
I've seen several coral snakes in the woods around Brazoria/Freeport, Texas area, live oak and heavy undergrowth. There're small and while highly poisonous, I never worried a lot about 'em because they're rather docile and their venom delivery system is such that they're really not much of a threat if you just leave 'em alone. I killed one that was on my wood pile at my home on the river south of Brazoria once, only one I ever whacked and that was just because I didn't want it hiding in there when I went for wood. Copper heads were numerous in that area.

Carl N. Brown
August 25, 2007, 08:09 PM
I encountered a garter snake in my side yard and after
I got over my snake-o-phobia panic attack and ID'd it as
nonpoisonous, it went its way and I went mine. Some
folks report an allergic reaction to a garter snake bite,
but they do not have venom.

Usually, if I see a snake and can avoid it, it's live and
let live. I have killed what appeared to be a copperhead
in my mother-in-law's bathroom; when she had a black
snake in the kitchen, I caught it alive and carried it about
a quarter mile in the woods and released it.

My father told me early, though, if I killed everything that
was ugly or looked dangerous, I would be very very busy
and it would be a underpopulated world. Live and let
live; kill only if the alternative is dieing yourself. Learn
from mistakes.

Heck, I once killed a copperhead at my uncle's barn
and he was mad: was I going to hang around and
eat the mice for him? He could avoid the snake, the
mice were the problem.

roo_ster
August 26, 2007, 10:48 PM
Think of it this way:

That garter snake was eating bugs, rodents & stuff. Now he's gone. I wonder which snake will move in on his old territory?

Double Naught Spy
August 26, 2007, 11:14 PM
Didn't take any herpetology.

I did.

Only four poisonous snakes in Texas, and what you'd see depends on location.

Not exactly. There are 4 genera made up of about 10 species and 17 subspecies.

Copperheads? I know they're around Cuero in DeWitt County; never saw one around Austin, and certainly not out here in the desert.

There are copperheads in Austin and in west Texas. The broadbanded copperhead ranges from Langtry and Big Spring in the west and eastward to about Velasco and just east of the I-35 corridor. The Trans-Pecos all around your area, Big Bend, etc. They are both subspecies of the same species.

countertop
August 28, 2007, 11:34 PM
Used to have a pet garter snake I caught in my parents garage in New Jersey as a kid.

Working as a pool cleaner boy (and generally swimming pool maintenance and plumbing guy), I used to catch copperheads (and other snakes) all the time when we were shutting pools down. They would always (like 95% of the time) be hanging out inside the pool heater late season warming up.

I generally don't like snakes, but don't see too many these days in the DC Suburbs. Still, I wouldn't kill one if I saw it (unless it was a moccasin).

huntinstuff
August 29, 2007, 11:03 AM
Garter snake my a**......that there is an Ecuadorian striped malfador. Deadly. I think someone is trying to do you in. Probably someone from Ecuador. Have you been there lately? They usually travel in groups of three and they nest between the boxspring and mattress.

Art Eatman
August 29, 2007, 01:22 PM
DNS, in some 35 years of rattin' around the "greater Terlingua" area, I've seen a fair number of different kinds of rattler, but never a copperhead. I'd heard of them around Austin, but I never saw a copperhead in my outdoors years there. I did get to watch a king snake kill a rattler, but just the one time. I guess it was around 1943-ish.

From the standpoint of not wanting fangs in your leg at all, ever, does it really matter about species or subspecies? :D

Art

Double Naught Spy
August 29, 2007, 06:16 PM
From a standpoint of behavior, species and subspecies can matter as some are more aggressive than others. I would much rather handle most copperheads over cottonmouths, same genus, but different species, the latter tending to be more aggressive.

You said there were only four poisonous snakes in Texas and that really sort of paints an inaccurate picture. You would not say that there is just one type of cat in Texas even though both indigenous cat species are of the same genus, Felis, whether you are talking about a bobcat or mountain lion. You would not say that there is just one type of indigenous deer, Odocoileus, even though there are both white tail and mule. You would say that there are two types of cats and two types of deer. So for snakes, there would be 10 types of poisonous snakes.

Sorry you have missed out on the Trans-Pecos Copperhead. They have been reported from your county and those surrounding your county (see Dixon, James R., Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas, Texas A&M Press). Of course, it may be that you have not seen one because the are nocturnal? According to Alan Tennant in A Field Guide to Texas Snakes, the Trans-Pecos Copperhead is one of the most commonly seen nocturnal snakes [in the area]. I haven't seen them either, but then I don't get out your way very often, maybe once a year or so.

McCall911
August 29, 2007, 07:58 PM
Around my neck of the woods, we have black king snakes. They're solid black on top with a yellow underbelly with a sprinkling of yellow scales along their lower sides. Of course, they're harmless but if you happen upon one, they will sometimes shake their tails in the grass to make you think they're a rattler. (No kidding.) Bad plan, because many of them have given up the ghost thanks to that little display.

Art Eatman
August 29, 2007, 10:31 PM
DNS, on a pounds/acre basis, the Chihuahua Desert has more bugs than animals. One thing about a desert is that the population density of any critter is real low--except bugs. :)

Still, from a layman's standpoint, there are only four poisonous snakes in Texas. Face it: If that sucker's got rattles on its tail, why should anybody care which subspecies it might be?

Dr. Ditmars I ain't. :D:D:D

Art

Roebuck
August 30, 2007, 05:26 PM
Back in 1987, I visited a friend who had a paintball set-up in Austin. Whilst building a bridge over a creek on the gaming ground, I shot a water moccasin. Walking back to the truck, my friend (and I) saw and killed a copperhead.

Larry Ashcraft
August 30, 2007, 06:11 PM
When I was a kid, one of our neighbors was bitten by a big garter snake while irrigating. He ended up in the hospital, not because of venom, but because of infection.

We used to play with small garter snakes all the time, but the larger ones can be quite aggressive. And they do have fangs, but they are very small ones. A friend of mine was bitten by one when we were catching them in a ditch one time. He had small fang holes in his hand.

The only snakes we've seen at our place are garter snakes and bullsnakes. We had a bullsnake hanging around this spring that was easily over six feet. I tend to let them be, mice are a much worse health hazard.

koja48
August 30, 2007, 09:05 PM
Still have a corn snake my DAUGHTER left behind (the Girl loves critters, but also doesn't mind dropping coyotes, deer, elk, and game birds!). Next to the "light-sleeping Lab" and the Jack Russell, not a bad pet . . . doesn't whiz on the carpet & doesn't bark or whine; never chews slippers, lawn sprinklers, siding, belts, nor has it ever filtched a succulent rib-eye off my plate; doesn't hog the bed (and I don't hog the terrarium) never needs to go out in the dead of a nasty night, eats once a week, and clean-up is a breeze . . . kind of like a "live" Nature show & the sheds are quite popular as Show & Tell fodder with the neighbor kids (I have standing orders).

Cannonball888
August 30, 2007, 09:11 PM
Didn't take any herpetology
Me either. The thought of studying herpes is disgusting!

koja48
August 30, 2007, 10:25 PM
The thought of getting them is worse . . . Lordy I'm glad I'm 60, think with the big head, and live ONLY for my Kids, guns/outdoors! Who says aging is bad?

Pigspitter
August 31, 2007, 10:09 PM
Looks like it was helping your vermin problem. Too bad, guess next time you'll know better.

351 WINCHESTER
September 1, 2007, 09:20 PM
I had a paperroute when I was a kid. I used to collect my money as well as the paper companies money. One afternoon I knocked on this ladies door. She answered and asked for help as she had a snake in her kitchen. She didn't bother to tell me that she had already shot it with a 12ga. double bbl. It was a rattlesnake of the eastern variety. She really messed up her kitchen though.

moongroove
September 1, 2007, 09:34 PM
we have a 6' maryland black snake living under our porch. I just let it live and we both ignore each other when we our paths cross.

koja48
September 1, 2007, 09:38 PM
. . . and NO mice living under there . . . Ma Nature built "the better mouse trap" a long time ago . . .

FieroCDSP
September 1, 2007, 10:07 PM
::shudders:: can;t stand snakes. I might leave a garter snake alone, but anything longer than my arm is finding a new home, be it released by protective agents or in hole I dig. Makes me wish I had a silencer for my P22, just thinking about it. I live in a city, so I don't see them much, fortunately. Ugh.

tkendrick
September 3, 2007, 12:54 AM
When I was in 5th grade, about the time dinosuars went 'stinct, my granddad would pay me a dollar for every bull snake I caught. He would throw them in the hay barn to keep the rats down. We had some really fat and lazy bull snakes by the end of each summer!

Any how, not being real knowledgeable 'bout snakes, I walked in one afternoon with a 3 foot Copperhead. I guess the amazing thing was how laid back he was. I think he musta been a California Beach Copperhead, 'cuase if he could of talked I think he would have said, "Duuuude, I'm gettin' a free ride, totally bitchin!"

Unfortunately for me, and even more so for Gramps, Gramma walked out the back porch just as I was coming up the steps. The snake mighta been dangerous....but Gramma was deadly!!! If you ever get a couple miles east of Goodman, MO, that smoking crater is where my Grandma exploded in 1964!!!

Novus Collectus
September 3, 2007, 01:31 AM
One time when I worked landscaping I found a big snake and picked him up showing him to coworkers. It was sluggish and easy to catch and handle. Later that day I described the snake to a friend of mine who is a snake enthusiast. He said I picked up a copperhead and when I looked it up, sure enough he was right.
He said I was lucky because it was early spring and the really cool day made it sluggish because of the cold blooded thing and all.

kungfuhippie
September 3, 2007, 01:57 AM
Garter snake my a**......that there is an Ecuadorian striped malfador. Deadly. I think someone is trying to do you in. Probably someone from Ecuador. Have you been there lately? They usually travel in groups of three and they nest between the boxspring and mattress.
Just because I lived in Ecuador...
Wait a minute, they don't look a think like that. The tarantulas of Ecuador are what I hated, that and the stray dogs.

Double Naught Spy
September 3, 2007, 05:43 PM
One time when I worked landscaping I found a big snake and picked him up showing him to coworkers. It was sluggish and easy to catch and handle. Later that day I described the snake to a friend of mine who is a snake enthusiast. He said I picked up a copperhead and when I looked it up, sure enough he was right.
He said I was lucky because it was early spring and the really cool day made it sluggish because of the cold blooded thing and all.

Of the venomous snakes in North America, copperheads are some of the more laid back. That does not make them less dangerous, just less likely to be aggressive. Temperature and timing can also be critical. Mating snakes that normally would be less aggressive and be very aggressive, for example. Stepping on a snake doesn't make it happy either. However, some do quite well with being handled if they are not handled roughly. They are best not handled at all, however.

Rey B
September 3, 2007, 06:03 PM
What color is your corn snake Koja48? A friend of mine has one that is bright orange. She calls him Habibi and she uses him as part of her belly dance routine.:D The most mellow snake I have ever handled.

Blackfork
September 3, 2007, 06:33 PM
Thanks for posting. Looks like it's been identified. Most snakes are well enough left alone. I've gotten to where I don't even kill the poisonous ones unless they are in the yard or close to the house.

Only person in the family that has ever been bitten was my daughter, who has never been off pavement our out of air conditioning in her life. She stepped on a young copperhead after dark when she was wearing flip flops and getting out of her honda on new asphalt. Bite but no injection. Still cost a 1200.00 ER visit. The rest of us, hunting, fishing, working, outdoors, handling snakes poisonous or not....never a bite.

U.S.SFC_RET
September 5, 2007, 07:54 AM
There was a 20 year study conducted by a professor at the university of Georgia on Water Moccasins. They get a bad wrap for being too agressive. Most of the time they will leave the area when you are there. Their bite is more serious than the copperhead. A copperhead's best defence is to bite first and asks questions later. They are by nature a bit on the bold side so keeping your grass cut down doesn't deter a copperhead like a rattler.

Wheeler44
September 7, 2007, 04:59 PM
Back in the early '80's construction slowed down quite a bit here in God's country. So another fella and I headed off to Florida to build retirement homes for rich Nor'easterners. About the first week I was packin' sheeting boards for the roof. For me it's hard to see over a 4 foot wide board when I'm caryin' it so I was just followin' the path that I made in the dust, just followin' my old foot prints. About halfwaythrough the morning I'm carryin' a board watchin' my path and WHOA, right in my path all curled up and ready to bite is some kinda snake. Now I know most of the critters around here but I had been down there only about a week. I jumped back and dropped the plywood. He musta been fixin' to bite or somethin' 'cause his head was stickin' out from under that sheet of plywood and he was upset. Well to make a lon story short I splatted his head right back through that piece of plywood and skinned him.

birdv
September 7, 2007, 05:08 PM
garter snake

If I do not know I try to piece together the body for ID

Carl N. Brown
September 10, 2007, 01:47 PM
I might be reading too much into yongxingfreesty's handle,
but it could be a case of our harmless snake resembling a
poisonous snake from someone's native country.

Which raises the question, how many of our non-venomous
snakes have a foreign lethal look-alike?

McCall911
September 10, 2007, 02:26 PM
There was a 20 year study conducted by a professor at the university of Georgia on Water Moccasins. They get a bad wrap for being too agressive. Most of the time they will leave the area when you are there. Their bite is more serious than the copperhead. A copperhead's best defence is to bite first and asks questions later. They are by nature a bit on the bold side so keeping your grass cut down doesn't deter a copperhead like a rattler.

A water mocassin bite can be deadly, no question about it.

A true story that occurred some years back on my shift when I was working 911:

One spring (1997, I think) we had had been having heavy rains/thunderstorms in the area. A man had been working helping to try to salvage some of the stock from a flooded store and was bit on the leg by a water mocassin. Trouble is, he didn't know it at the time, figuring he'd just snagged himself on something, and continued working. He worked for a couple of hours, then drove home. Shortly after arriving home, he began having complications which he reported to us. At the back of my mind was snakebite, but I couldn't say for sure as I wasn't there. So we paged the call out as a possible anaphylactic reaction, and medics and ambulance arrived promptly.
The ambulance was almost unusually quick in leaving with the patient, who had requested transport to a hospital in Birmingham, AL, about 30 miles away. While enroute the man coded, having gone into respiratory arrest, and we paged another rescue for mutual aid with the ambulance. The second set of medics (from another department) were very quick in responding and one of the medics stayed with the patient on board the ambulance all the way to the hospital.
Obviously it was some time before we heard the specifics, but we learned from the last medic who responded that the man was very lucky to be alive. I don't think he was dramatizing when he said that if he'd been thirty seconds later, the patient would have been going to the funeral home instead of the hospital.
So, yeah, I agree that water moc bites are pretty bad!

WuzYoungOnceToo
September 10, 2007, 03:40 PM
Still, from a layman's standpoint...
Since the layman's standpoint is generally an ill-informed (and incorrect) one I fail to see a reason to cling to it while rejecting the more informed position.

That said...I've only killed one snake in my life, and that was while on a hog-hunting outing earlier this year. I was on TX public land in a "shotguns only (slugs allowed)" area with my Mossberg 500 and scope-equipped rifled slug barrel. After a long and unsuccessful morning of scouting for feral porkers I was returning to the parking area when, with about 30 yards to go, I spotted a large cottonmouth at the base of an oak tree along the path back to my vehicle. I froze for a moment and watched the snake from about 10 yds away. He appeared to be writhing about, but did not move away from the tree at all. After squinting a little I could see that there was a length of barbed wire wrapped around the base of the tree, and that the snake appeared to be caught in a loop in the wire. Screwing up a little courage (or perhaps stupidity) I decided to move closer. He was indeed caught fast in the loop of wire, which was just about the same diameter of the fattest part of his body. He had impaled himself on one barb that was angled toward his tail and, apparently in trying to move backward, caught himself on another barb that was angle toward his head. It was obvious that he wasn't going anywhere, and was in for an almost certainly long and painful death. Since freeing him from his predicament wasn't a viable option, I decided to put an end to his suffering. So I returned to my vehicle and swapped out my slug barrel for the smooth bore that I'd brought along in case I wanted to do some rabbit hunting. I then loaded it up with some #6 shot and returned to the tree. When I raised the gun the snake cooperated by raising his head and presenting his fangs. This allowed my to get the end of the barrel in close and take his head cleanly off.

A much quicker, far less agonizing death than the one he was otherwise in for. If not for that than I would have simply avoided the beneficial animal and been on my way. However, I also have a "you kill it, you eat it" rule. So I removed the (5' long...a big 'un) body from the barbed wire, skinned it, gutted it and took it home where I doused it in a little cajun seasoning and broiled it. Not bad, really. About on a par with 'gator tail, although a little tough and dry due to the decision to broil it rather than use a quicker (and wetter) cooking method.

Ghost Tracker
September 10, 2007, 06:13 PM
Well, I've BEEN Water Moccasin bit...and his reputation for aggressiveness seemed perfectly intact to me!

But as a youngin' (about 8 years old) I proudly showed my Great Uncle Dub the big black (rat) snake I had killed in his barn while he was out plowing (my uncle was plowing, not the snake). Dub then calmly explained the snake's previous job of eating mice/rats in the barn. He then suggested that I spend the afternoon in the Tobacco Patch until I caught 2 (two!) snakes and put them back IN the barn as replacements. It was one of the best lessons I ever learned!

Art Eatman
September 10, 2007, 07:18 PM
'Scuse you, WYOT, but from this layman's standpoint, does should it matter to us Chihuahuan Desert folks if it's a blacktail, a bandtail, or a Mojave? The particular KIND of rattler seems to me to be immaterial. They all have fangs, and they all are poisonous.

Explain to me how anyone is safer knowing the particular sub-species of rattlesnake?

Okay, I'll rephrase: From a practical standpoint, there are four and only four kinds of poisonous snakes in Texas.

It does help to know that the cottonmouth water moccasin is the only poisonous moccasin, as they're all commonly aggressive and will bite: The bite of a non-poisonous snake can be septic.

A word of advice: When fishing, do not use a shotgun on a snake if it's on the floor of your boat. :)

Art

WuzYoungOnceToo
September 10, 2007, 08:23 PM
'Scuse you, WYOT
No need to "'scuse" me.

, but from this layman's standpoint, does should it matter to us Chihuahuan Desert folks if it's a blacktail, a bandtail, or a Mojave? The particular KIND of rattler seems to me to be immaterial. They all have fangs, and they all are poisonous.
The behavioral characteristics of a given species are very much material in terms of assessing its potential danger to you, as well as the best way to handle an encounter with it. You're free to cling to a simple-minded, "I don't need me no fancy book larnin'" approach for yourself, but don't insist that others so limit themselves.

Explain to me how anyone is safer knowing the particular sub-species of rattlesnake?
See above.

Okay, I'll rephrase: From a practical standpoint, there are four and only four kinds of poisonous snakes in Texas.
How is that a practical standpoint? I mean, you just got done saying that all you cared about was that they all had fangs and are all poisonous. So you should now be claiming that there's really only one kind of poinsonous snakes, for "practical" purposes. The one's with fangs.

It does help to know that the cottonmouth water moccasin is the only poisonous moccasin, as they're all commonly aggressive and will bite: The bite of a non-poisonous snake can be septic.
Here's an idea. If you encounter a snake, just leave it the hell alone/

A word of advice: When fishing, do not use a shotgun on a snake if it's on the floor of your boat.
I won't even ask how you managed to end up in a boat with both a loaded shotgun and a snake.

U.S.SFC_RET
September 10, 2007, 10:09 PM
1. Cut your grass low!

2. Who has the right of way?

3. Give them a wide berth.

4. Kill em if you have to.

5. Jeeter don't pick em up!

Double Naught Spy
September 11, 2007, 08:55 AM
Okay, I'll rephrase: From a practical standpoint, there are four and only four kinds of poisonous snakes in Texas.

If you are going to ignore taxonomy and biology and reclassify things based on a different perspective practical standpoints, then you have needlessly over-complicated the issue. I don't know why you would bother with a genus level of classification at all then. From a truly practical standpoint, there are TWO types of snakes, poisonous and non-poisonous.

Then I recalled that a herpetologist was killed by a boomslang in 1978, a rear-fanged colubrid snake (African) that was thought to be non-poisonous. As it turned out, a goodly number of colubrid snakes (colubrids being the largest family of snake in the world and are composed typically of what we consider to be non-poisonous snakes here in North America) are actually quite toxic. In many of the "non-poisonous" snakes are Duvernoy's glands, a pair of glands located on either side of the head behind the eye. These are the homologues (the evolutionary counterparts) of the venom glands of vipers.

In most cases, the method of envenomation is via grooves in the rear fangs, and not syringe-like hollow tubed fangs as in viperids such as copperheads and rattlesnakes. Some, including some North American varieties are highly toxic. However, the matter of toxicity is relative if the snake is incapable of penetrating human skin with its rear fangs or if it is incapable of delivering a large enough dose to be fatal. There have been reports of envenomated reactions from North American colubrids, but because of the shallowness of delivery or lack of delivery amount of venom, reactions are usually simple swelling, heat, discoloration. This cannot be said for some Asian, South American, and African colubrids that have proven lethal to humans.

So the reality is that there are more than just 4 kinds of poisonous snakes in Texas. The moniker of "poisonous" and "non-poisonous" does not really apply to our traditional way of thinking. It is more of an issue of whether or not the snakes are able to envenomate humans dangerously or not, and part of that danger will depend on the sensitivity of the human being bitten.

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