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Snakes


I live out in the country and we have snakes. We have lots of different snakes including but not limited to copperheads, coral snakes, rattlesnakes, grass snakes, rat snakes and the occasional very lost water moccasin (=cottonmouth).  Mostly we don't see them.  They all try to go about their business silently and stealthily. 

According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, only about 15% of snakes in Texas are poisonous. Included in the list above are all four poisonous snakes found in Texas.  Yup.  We have them all here.  Coral snakes and rattlesnakes have the most dangerous venom but are less likely to bite you. Water moccasin venom is worse than that of it's relative, the copperhead, but copperhead bites are the more common venomous bite every year. 

So with all that background information, here is my snake story.  I ran into a very small coral snake in the barn early this spring.  I tried to get it to move on but it insisted on rushing back to the exact point I intended to put out hay for the newly shorn (and therefore more easily bitten) goats.  So I killed it.  Over the next several days I saw three more coral snakes close to the same spot.  They were all outside the fence around the barn but within 10 feet of where I killed the little one.  Two of them were small snakes while the third one was full grown.  The momma, perhaps?

I moved the goats feeding bins away from where I saw the snakes although I had a long handles shovel there in case I needed it.  Which I did not.  They all went on their way and I haven't seen any of them since.

Then a couple of nights ago as I was getting ready for bed, I realized I had left the keys in the mule.  I put on my boots and walked out there to retrieve them.  The mule was parked about 20 feet from my car.  As I was walking back to the house I saw something dart away from me out of the corner of my eye.  I could tell it was a snake and when I shined the flashlight in that direction I could see it was a copperhead.  I must have stepped very near him to get him moving that fast.

So if only 15% of the snakes you find in Texas are poisonous, why is it that every single snake I have seen this year, all four of them, were poisonous?  Maybe without poison as a weapon, those other snakes are more silent and more stealthy?  I don't have an answer but it does explain why I always watch the ground in front of me when I walk around outside.