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Thread: Gotta remember not to attract attention near a water snake

  1. #21
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    Been ketchn and playing with snakes for 60 years myself and I can tell you for positive for sure I seen water snakes come fast as they can to a splashing fish on my line more than once . So to the average person it would seem the snake was “chasing” you but in fact it’s figured out how to get fish from fishermen.
    Any other version of snake chasing you could be hard to believe unless you made a say 6 or 7 foot bull snake real mad at ya and then yep ,it will chase ya some ....lol
    Pretty much every snake I ever seen in most cases went as fast as it could away from me ,a few tried to hide and some bolted towards me in their zeal to escape ,but short of that a snake ain’t chasing you ....that is the for sure .
    Reptiles only look at the world 3 ways , food , foe or mate .....you aint food and you ain’t a mate
    So the response will be run or hide ......unless cornered , then bring out what they have in their bag of tricks to make an enemy go away .
    sum kawl me tha outlaw ketchn whales

  2. #22
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    Thanks gbin, I'm glad to see someone post of the "other" side of snakes. I'll disagree with you on some points.

    1. A (non-venomous) banded water snake is highly inquisitive in my experience. I was fishing last week and had two juvenile water snakes passing within a foot in front of my feet (in the water). I tried to run them off by touching them (not smacking) with my rod tip. They'd move off, but come right back. I did have a fish in a floating basket which seemed really interesting to them as well .

    2. Venomous snakes are often ambush predators (like bass). Just as you pull your lure over a log hoping a bass is there to ambush it (before even looking to see what it is), step over a log with a copperhead lying in wait and you're going to get smacked. It's a "reaction bite". I wouldn't consider that to be a defensive bite, but a reaction bite.

    I do agree that snakes won't chase you down to bite you, but they will "stand their ground". Venomous snakes (in the south US) are pit vipers, and are short and fat (compared to the non-venomous snakes). They can't run away as fast so they don't look to escape as much as the non-venomous ones do. They'd rather you alter your course. They will opt for flight if they can, but they know they can't outrun as well as the thinner, more agile snakes can.

    3. Dogs can survive venomous snake bites. They'll swell up and hurt, but they survive. The animal hospital gave our dog benadryl and antibiotics. We weren't as stupid the second time the dog got bit. We thought they'd have anti-venom.... Nope, $200 for bendryl and antibiotics (to protect against infection at the wound site). Turns out, after the second bite, the dog got smarter . Both bites were on the paw. Don't paw at a snake.

    But the whole "the only good snake is a dead snake" mentality is just ignorance.

  3. #23
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    Good times... with a rattler!

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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmoopie View Post
    Thanks gbin, I'm glad to see someone post of the "other" side of snakes. I'll disagree with you on some points.

    1. A (non-venomous) banded water snake is highly inquisitive in my experience. I was fishing last week and had two juvenile water snakes passing within a foot in front of my feet (in the water). I tried to run them off by touching them (not smacking) with my rod tip. They'd move off, but come right back. I did have a fish in a floating basket which seemed really interesting to them as well .

    2. Venomous snakes are often ambush predators (like bass). Just as you pull your lure over a log hoping a bass is there to ambush it (before even looking to see what it is), step over a log with a copperhead lying in wait and you're going to get smacked. It's a "reaction bite". I wouldn't consider that to be a defensive bite, but a reaction bite.

    I do agree that snakes won't chase you down to bite you, but they will "stand their ground". Venomous snakes (in the south US) are pit vipers, and are short and fat (compared to the non-venomous snakes). They can't run away as fast so they don't look to escape as much as the non-venomous ones do. They'd rather you alter your course. They will opt for flight if they can, but they know they can't outrun as well as the thinner, more agile snakes can.

    3. Dogs can survive venomous snake bites. They'll swell up and hurt, but they survive. The animal hospital gave our dog benadryl and antibiotics. We weren't as stupid the second time the dog got bit. We thought they'd have anti-venom.... Nope, $200 for bendryl and antibiotics (to protect against infection at the wound site). Turns out, after the second bite, the dog got smarter . Both bites were on the paw. Don't paw at a snake.

    But the whole "the only good snake is a dead snake" mentality is just ignorance.
    I reckon we'll have to agree to disagree just a bit, Schmoopie. I'd say:

    1) Those water snakes didn't feel threatened by you, surely, but I suspect their interest was in making a possible meal of your catch, not just satisfying their curiosity about you. Snakes can in some circumstances grow accustomed to having calm, slow-moving people around, too. I once knew a fellow in TX who had a coachwhip living in his yard that he would actually go out, sit peacefully beside and hand feed pre-killed mice. He considered it kind of a free-range pet.

    2) Pit vipers might not flee rapidly, but with rare exception such as the eastern diamondback rattlers I mentioned they will indeed flee if given what they consider to be an opportunity to do so (as I said, that might take some space and time). Doubtless those eastern diamondbacks would have ultimately fled (albeit after defensively threatening me) had I hassled them, too.

    Bites of people by copperheads (which I believe actively search for prey in the leaf litter more than they ambush) are actually quite uncommon considering how many of the snakes are out there and how many of those are undoubtedly being stepped over (log or no log) with great frequency. People just don't realize how abundant some of these snakes really are. I'd say that bites occurring in the scenario you described happen as a result of the snake feeling threatened, maybe even being hit or stepped on, even when dealing with dedicated ambush predators such as most rattlesnakes. These snakes have very good vision and vibration (e.g. from footsteps) sensitivity as well as heat pits; unless it's utterly dark they're not going to mistake a person for a possible prey item. It IS believed that bushmasters sometimes bite people in parts of South America as a case of mistaken identity, but they're a very large pit viper - bigger than anything we have here in North America - that commonly sets up their ambush along small forest trails, and people sometimes DO use those trails when it's utterly dark - foolish people!

    All of that being said, it's a good idea in venomous snake country to step on, not over, logs in one's path. Again, don't put body parts where you haven't looked, first.

    (Related note: In at least one study that I'm aware of involving timber rattlers in the Southeast, snakes that were found were deliberately disturbed by the researchers stepping near them and sometimes even gently kicking them while wearing protective gear in order to gauge the snakes' response. Timber rattlers are popularly thought of as an "aggressive" species. Very few offered to bite even when contact was made. Many didn't even rattle. They'd much rather we simply left them alone, and that's a good thing as otherwise there'd be way more bites than there are.)

    3. Many dogs survive venomous snakebite - depending on the snake - but many dogs die, too. In addition to snake aversion training, I agree it's a good idea to vaccinate in anticipation of possible pit viper bite (yes, there's a vaccination for that, which I forgot to mention earlier) and also to pursue antivenin as part of treatment if a bite occurs and antivenin is available.

    So we might disagree on some details, but I'm glad we agree overall on this subject.

    Gerry

    P.S. You know what's always given me pause when I'm in their habitat? Brown recluse spiders! Some of the worst bites I've ever seen or heard of...

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