New Experience While Turning

Dave Hoskins

Member
Messages
3,410
Location
Parker County, Texas
Had a totally new experience today while turning. I felt something kinda different on my left foot while turning on a pecan bowl. I pulled the gouge away and looked down. My My. A copperhead that was about 18" long was making his way to the back of the shop while crossing over my foot! Even though he/she was a really fine looking example of the snake, I really didn't want it in my shop area. I only want to see Zeus and his cousins in there (Texas Rat Snakes). I patiently waited until my foot was good and clear and hooked a large nozzle onto one of the air hoses and cut loose to discourage him wanting to stay around. It went until a shelf unit so I didn't really know where it went. So grabbed the one and only REAL snake repellent and doused ammonia around. All snakes hate ammonia if anyone needs to know. Anyway, I have been on this acreage of about 128 acres since 2006 and this is only the 3rd poisonous snake I have seen. That is if you consider a copperhead all that poisonous.
 
Messages
6,691
Location
North West Indiana
Well, had that happened in my shop I might have drowned that there snake due to peeing my pants! Either way upon the end of the session I would have needed fresh underwear! After that, patching a hole in the floor of my shop due to shooting him! Hit a chipmunk square in the head with my Rossi 9 shot 22 revolver the other day. He had been eating out of the steer's feed manger and I came around the corner on the tractor and was between him and his home. 3rd shot, brain shot, 25 yards.
 
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Mike Stafford

Member
Messages
703
Location
Coastal plain of North Carolina
Dave, this story reminds me of something that happened to me over 30 years ago. We had just moved to a new house situated on a 7 acre lot that was completely wooded except for a small patch of grass in the front and back and the driveway. It was severely overgrown and when backing out of the driveway you could not see if any traffic was in the street. As a matter of a fact my wife almost backed into the mail man.

I decided to cut out a lot of the underbrush. So I purchased a brush cutter which is a souped up weed whacker with a 12" blade instead of a string trimmer. I went to work. I cut hundreds of saplings out of the front yard near the street. Then I went to work on clearing the under story on the rest of the property. It was a lot of work.

I always wore a long sleeve shirt, heavy jeans, steel toed boots, eye and ear protection and a hard hat. (Just happened to have one from an old summer job.)

Well, one day I was cutting in the back near an old wood pile and I felt something hit my boot which was not all that unusual since that brush trimmer threw stuff in every direction. I continued to cut and I felt something hit my boot again, not once but several times, rather persistently. I looked down and I was standing on a rather large copperhead snake. I am not particularly afraid of snakes as I kept them as pets as a kid. We had an old saw mill on our property which turned out to be a breeding ground for copperheads as I found out one summer.

Anyway, I am standing on this copperhead and he is steadily striking the toe of my boot. I paused to think about what I was going to do and decided the best course of action was to jump backwards and apply that 12 inch blade to the snake. I did just that and in a few seconds there were pieces of snake all over. Don't recommend that particular method for dispatching a snake but I had few choices at the moment and I did not want to get bitten.

Regarding the poison of a copperhead; I believe I once read that there has never been a death resulting from a copperhead bite. My grandfather was bitten by a copperhead on his little finger while picking tomatoes. The snake's fangs managed to penetrate the bone on his finger and this caused complications which resulted in surgery to remove some of the bone that was envenomated. His finger ended up stiff as he could not bend it after the operation.

In my unstructured free time I like to write and I wrote a short story that is mostly true about my experiences growing up on a property that held a breeding ground for copperhead snakes. I will share it in the off topic section for those that are interested.
 

Dave Hoskins

Member
Messages
3,410
Location
Parker County, Texas
I like snakes as well. I just usually ask that we respect our boundaries. On the ammonia being a repellent, I remember that in use in the back areas of the Fort Worth Zoo's Herpeterium. I spent a lot of summers there as a kid. They always had a spray bottle of the stuff around when pulling some of the "beasties" out for cage cleaning, etc. Just in case it got loose, it was a simple method to make sure it didn't try and go where they couldn't get it. Lessons learned from a large king cobra that got free of a handler, bit him, and found his way into the ventilation system.
 

Chuck Ellis

Member
Messages
5,158
Location
Tellico Plains, Tennessee
Can't say for certain but I have heard Copperheads have a neurological poison that can cause strokes... my mother's first cousin stepped on one on her front step... he bit and she wound up having a stroke that killed her...

DSCF4487.JPGDSCF4484.JPG
Walked into my shop a couple of years back to find this little guy curled up on top of the thermometer at the top of my window....
I think he was a little rat snake about 2 feet long... really pissed him when he got knocked down onto the work bench.... caught him up with
a grabber I had for taking things off the floor or high shelves and invited him outside.... haven't seen since.
For a couple of years had a 4-5 foot black snake under the shop, he seems to have left.

I'm not a fan of snakes, and if I see them first will avoid them.... not so much afraid they will hurt me as I am afraid they will make me hurt myself.
 

Bill Arnold

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
7,773
Location
Thomasville, GA
We have outdoor cats, so we don't have a snake problem. Now, if you have a cat that likes to hunt like most do, it can be another story. Several years ago, we had a cat that liked to find a snake and play with it. One day, he came from next door with a snake drooping from his mouth. He was presenting it to us for dinner, I guess. Anyway, the snake was dead or near death so, when the cat wasn't looking, we finished it off with a hoe and tossed it in the trash can. Other than that, we don't see snakes around our home.
 

Dave Hoskins

Member
Messages
3,410
Location
Parker County, Texas
All pit vipers, (rattlers, copperheads, cottonmouths) are primarily equipped with venoms that attack muscle and skin tissue and so forth. Cottonmouths have been know to carry some neurotoxic properties in the venom as well which makes it a rather difficult bite to treat medically. Copperheads and rattlers are pretty much hemotoxic. The neurotoxin venom attacks obvious by it's name the nervous system which includes shutting down various systems in your body like breathing and so on. Nasty, nasty stuff. That's what the coral snake carries, just like it's cousins the cobras and such. I used to know an old Texas rancher up on the Red River who got bit in the knee by a diamondback and it took forever for him to get medical help. He walked like Chester on Gunsmoke. The bones in his right knee were fused together by the venom.
 

Vaughn McMillan

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
32,526
Location
ABQ NM
A couple of weekends ago a friend of mine's dog (Kai) got bit on the snout by a diamondback rattler. Fortunately they were close to the car and able to get him to the emergency vet quickly. After 72 hours at the vet's getting IV and antivenin, Kai was able to go home. The swelling is down and his face looks nearly normal now. Here are a couple of pics where you can see how much he swelled up:

Right after getting bitten and on the way to the vet. The swelling has already started:
Day of Snakebite.jpg

Back home 72 hours after the bite:
72 Hours after Snakebite.jpg
 

Chuck Ellis

Member
Messages
5,158
Location
Tellico Plains, Tennessee
We have outdoor cats, so we don't have a snake problem. Now, if you have a cat that likes to hunt like most do, it can be another story. Several years ago, we had a cat that liked to find a snake and play with it. One day, he came from next door with a snake drooping from his mouth. He was presenting it to us for dinner, I guess. Anyway, the snake was dead or near death so, when the cat wasn't looking, we finished it off with a hoe and tossed it in the trash can. Other than that, we don't see snakes around our home.
When we lived in Huffman just north of Houston, we had 3 cats that had access to outdoors... they all liked to hunt...one of them brought us a snake as a "gift" once too, only it was still alive and wiggling... the cat dropped it in the utility room where we had a fridge... the snake went under the fridge, and Dianne refused to go near until I caught it and got it out of the house... another time one brought a live squirrel into the house and let it go... in the middle of the night and all three were chasing it around the living room and making godawful racket, so I had to get up and try to catch a terrified squirrel ... finally just opened the front door and managed to herd it out the door, with 3 cats right behind it... the squirrel hit the pine tree sitting right outside the door with two cats right behind it....I ran out and knocked the cats off the tree, before I realized I was standidng stark naked in the front yard.... not a pretty sight.
 

Brent Dowell

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
14,910
Location
Reno NV
A couple of weekends ago a friend of mine's dog (Kai) got bit on the snout by a diamondback rattler.
My dogs are dumb as a bag of hammers, but every time they've been any where near a rattler that started the tail shakin, they've decided they didn't want any of that and stayed away. That's like 4 dogs, so I've been pretty lucky. Had 2 rattlers up close last weekend and I'm not sure the dogs even knew they were there, but they did listen and went back in the house when I yelled.
 
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