"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Do Cleopatra and Medusa Have In Common?

Snakes. That's what! Yesterday afternoon our kind neighbor Mr. Wilson, stopped by and mentioned that he'd keep a close eye on the boys when we're all out romping in the yard if he were me, someone had just run over a copperhead at the top of our drive. *shudder*

Surprise! We have copperheads here. I had no idea that we had any venomous snakes although apparently it appears that we have not one but two (the much rarer timber rattler also can be seen here one in a blue moon too) And yes, we have accidentally settled in perfectly ideal Copperhead country, right here at our condo. Wikipedia says they like moist, swampy lowlands (hello!), mixed decidious forests and rocky ledges for sun bathing (about those stone-walls).
The pictures are not a live snake of course, but just some shots of our snakeskin we found last year as you may remember from this post. I dug it out of the back of the nature shelf after Mr. Wilson left though and had a good hard look at it to see if had any copperheady signs about it...its a bit unnerving to know that we found it on the edge of the driveway, strangely near where this latest sighting was.

I actually feel just a little jello-legged about this new discovery and although I had kind of thought of gardening that afternoon and this morning, I still haven't been out. Handily, it turns out that copperheads are one of the least venomous pit vipers (a family of snakes with heat pits on their heads for sensing prey) so you're quite likely to live. Or at least I would be. Not so sure what Dee's chances would be.

I have a feeling some serious lessons about reptilian manners are in order and some careful coaching about not playing on the stone walls on those balmy sunny days. Good thing the walls belong to the neighbor anyhow...I have a reason to try to keep them off now.

The reverse of the old saying goes, "There are not gains without some small losses." This is the price one pays I suppose for racking up higher growing zone numbers. Shoulda known there'd be some little hitch. Lets hope we can just learn to live with the snakes and stay out of their way. Its good to note that there has not been a death from copperhead bites in the last 100 years in our area, that the snakes are actually rare enough that they are a protected species and that they are intensely afraid of humans and will generally avoid us at all costs. Now if only they didn't have that habit of freezing when danger is very near. The easiest way to get bitten by a copperhead is to accidentally step on it. They're stinking well camouflaged.


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