Is There Trouble in Paradise?

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. Genesis 3:15

I am a daughter of Eve.

The news recently warned people living in the flooded areas of the Mississippi about critters invading their homes when they returned. I think everyone cringed at the thought of coming home from an evacuation to a house with a water moccasin or other dangerous reptile. In our area, before the water pushed downstream to eventually drain into the Gulf, we too had severe flooding. Mike and I were not worried, because the land where we live is high ground, as is much of the farmland. The aftermath of the flooding was limited to some bank erosion and a few washed out trees. No big deal. Then yesterday, Mike came across something that looks like this in an open bag of rye seed.

Copperhead snake. Photo courtesy of University of North Carolina

He killed it, but now I am thinking city life might not be so bad after all! I hate snakes. Even the picture of the snake I posted gives me with willies. And yes, I’ve been to those programs where they try to teach children not to fear them. I’ve held little garter snakes, touched the smooth dry scales of people’s household pets. I know, I KNOW, the majority of snakes are harmless and even good for the environment. I still hate them. With a purple passion!

Kentucky has four types of native poisonous snakes and their habitats vary across the state. There are two types of rattlers, the water moccasin, and the copper head. In nearly thirty years of living in this state, I’ve seen maybe two of the poisonous types. I say maybe, ’cause the water moccasin and copper head have non-poisonous look-alikes that are beneficial snakes. I’m told you can tell the difference by the shape of their head (poisonous snakes have a rather triangular shape) and the shape of their eyes (non-poisonous snakes have round eyes). Uh-huh…like I’m going to say, “Oh, please Mr. Snake…don’t bite me, I just want to look at your eyes and check the shape of your head. Hold still a minute!” No way! I am more the type to see a snake and quickly depart in the opposite direction. Even if it is a garter snake!

This is the copper head’s look-alike, the North American Water Snake:

North American Water Snake. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Notice the similar banding, not to mention…it is a snake! He was no where near the water and wasn’t hunting for food on the creek bank. He was in a bag of rye seed with his tail sticking out like an extension cord tossed down on the bags and likely looking for a nice dinner morsel of mouse. Mike would have let him just slither away, he loves all animals, but a copper head in the garage is not a welcome addition. (I’m thinking I’ll never step foot in there again…personally.) So this is what is left of the snake. Note the banding and hourglass shaped copper bands:

The snake

Is it a water snake, or is it a copper head?

Mike invited me to come out and see the head of the snake and make my own determination. I declined…almost in tears at the prospect that he might insist.

But here’s the deal. I would rather think it is a water snake that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I feel safer that way and if I thought it was indeed a copper head, I don’t think I could ever feel safe here again. Yes, I hate snakes that much! I couldn’t even buy a snake-skin belt!

It is hard to believe that a water snake would “climb” the cliff to get into our yard from the creek, though.

I won’t say the only good snake is a dead snake…now…but there is 150 acres on this farm for them to roam. Go play with the coyotes!




About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
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2 Responses to Is There Trouble in Paradise?

  1. I’m not a fan of snakes either. When I saw your photos, my first thought was, “Where’s my shovel?”

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