Tuesday, June 11, 2013


A harmless black snake sunning it self in a driveway

Snakes scare me.  Yes, I have a primordial fear of snakes.  But no, I don't kill a snake on sight.

This past week snakes have been in the dialogue.  My niece, who lives in South Carolina has her big girl panties all in a twist because she saw a snake slither into the crawlspace of her house.  She has seven kids ranging in age from eight to eighteen.  She says she "fears" for them. Oh my goodness niece, get a grip.  

She has sent several Facebook messages about how she has her dog crawling in the crawlspace after the snake.  Of course she wants to kill the snake.  Hey, guess what niece, the snake is more afraid of you than you are of the snake.

A couple of years ago I saw my neighbor come charging out of his house with a shovel.  He found a harmless garden sunning himself in his driveway.  So of course he passed the death sentence on that snake and "shoveled" it to death.  He had to protect his daughter.  

A harmless garter snake I found at Pepper's Nursery while I was shopping for bushes

You know what?  If he had given the snake a chance to warm up that harmless garter snake would have slithered off out of harm's way.

Ariel view of our former Pennsylvania wooded property - snake infested - we survived

Having said all this about snakes, the few times I've encountered a snake they have scared me.  In fact the only time I've ever screamed in my life was back in 1976.  Bill and I had purchased seven acres of wooded land in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Bill drove his car to a clearing in the property.  As I was getting out of the car I almost stepped on a snake.  As my foot was going down I let out a scream that I didn't know I was capable of.  Never in my life had I screamed before (maybe when I was born and was circumcised but I don't remember) now since.  In fact, I've tried to scream (like a little girl) and it just doesn't work.  But did it ever work that day!  Of course the snake quickly slithered off into the woods and no harm was done to me or the snake.  

The garter snake taking off after I took its picture - camera shy

Another time I was on a road cleanup crew.  It was an early spring morning.  As I was picking up the litter at a high traffic crossroads I came across a hubcap.  I picked it up and THERE WAS A SNAKE!  And it had a fancy design on it back so I KNOW it was poisonous.  I didn't scream this time but slowly place the hubcap back on top of that fancy design snake.  I didn't kill it. 

So folks, when you see a snake, don't kill it.  Gather up your cojones and leave it.  Okay?


anne marie in philly said...

we have a garter snake in our yard; it is sooooo cute! we leave it alone, as it is doing harm to no one.

Anonymous said...


Apparently, my Dad doesn't like snakes. When I was a teenager, I picked up a garter snake that was on our front sidewalk. My Dad totally freaked out. (So did the snake. It peed on me.) This still makes me chuckle when I think about it.

Ron said...

Anne Marie,

I like garter snakes. They do no one harm except insects and, perhaps, small mice and frogs and toads. Like you, I'm not of the ilk to immediately kill something that I don't like.


Ron said...


I don't think I ever touched a snake. I think it's funny though how some people really freak out when encountering a snake, including me. However, my first impulse is not to kill the snake.


Amanda said...

I am afraid of snakes but respect them. I ran into them few times and let them be. No reason to kill them because of one's fear.
(7 kids????? Why?).

Ron said...


Well said. I too am afraid of snakes (never had one for a pet) but I do respect them. My niece with the seven kids, I don't know. She home schooled them all too and they all seem fine. Sadly her husband died in an auto accident five years ago. She's raised them by herself. I have to give her credit. I guess she was making up for her sister, who never married and had no kids. She's on Facebook.


Jon said...

Hell, I'm too much of a coward to kill a snake. My great-aunt Mary used to shoot the heads off rattlesnakes, but that was on her New Mexico ranch waaaay before my time.
This is an enjoyable post and I like the photos - - even though I'm not a snake aficionado.

When I lived in San Angelo I found a snake in my kitchen in the middle of the night. Fortunately it wasn't poisonous. I used to go hiking in a rural area called Twin Buttes near San Angelo. It was loaded with rattlesnakes. You could hear the rattling everywhere. I wasn't brave - - I was a fool.

Ron said...


Actually, I'm much too of a pussy foot to kill a snake too. They do make me nervous. I don't want to get too near to them. I've never been bitten by one nor do I intend to be. That's one "experience" I'll take a pass on thank you.


Anonymous said...

You can send me all the snakes you want. Since they chased the owls out of the woods by cutting them down, the mouse population has soared. C'mon snakes! Eat your fill!

Peace <3

Ron said...


That is a shame that the owls don't have any place to live near you. When we lived in Pennsylvania we had the owls and hawks. We had several bird feeders. Unfortunately the word got out and that's why the hawks nested on our property, they ate the birds at the bird feeders. For several years we didn't have birds at the bird feeders. We always had the owls though.


Geo. said...

In the 30+ years I've lived on this prairie, I've only come across one rattlesnake. It gave plenty of warning so I was in no danger. It only wanted time to get off the trail before I got closer than 100 or so feet. I just stopped and tried not to upset it. Because they both hunt rodents, wherever I see gopher snakes I suppose I watch for rattlers too. Nearby housing developments have lately driven them toward our fields. Poor serpents. I wonder if there's a theological rationale for destroying their Eden.

Ron said...


I have a problem with people whose first response when they see a snake is to kill it. It's just stupid. I lost a lot of respect for my neighbor (who is a PA who treated me during my kidney stone crises) when I saw that his first response was to get a shovel out of his garage and kill that harmless garter snake. That was the fastest I've ever seen him move. Big "hero".


Stan said...

In the late 80's when I lived in Atlanta (within the city limits) my dog Cleo was bitten by a copperhead in the back yard. I rushed her to the vet and she was okay. I came upon one in our basement once too and ran out of there like hell.

Paul Brownsey said...

Your post had consequences...

Having read your post about snakes last night, I half-woke in the middle of the night needing to pee but somehow thinking I was sleeping on the flat bed of a truck out in the wilds. I was about to get out of bed to go to the bathroom but in my dream that could be to step onto a snake just as you nearly did: your description was in my head. I then--still in this strange half-dreaming state--had the idea that the solution to the problem would be just to pee over the side of the truck, and I started to get to my feet in the bed in order to do so. Fortunately, not least for my partner, at that moment full waking awareness arrived, I realised I was in my bedroom, and just stepped to the bathroom.

But if I had stood tall in the bed and peed onto the carpet, I'd have billed you for the cleaning...



Ron said...

Thank you Paul. My first out loud laugh today! Your story was very funny. Thanks for sharing.


Ron said...


Oh I've seen a few copperheads in my time. They scare me to death. Also water moccasins, I fear them all and give them wide berth.