Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Southern Copperhead

I was rummaging through some of my journals and decided that ever so often I'm going to harvest an old entry and post it here. Here's the first of these occasional entries.

June 14, 2002 Camp- Warren, TX

As I was headed towards camp I spotted something in the center of the sandy road. There before me, motionless, was a southern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix). Copperheads are incredibly beautiful snakes with their intricate hourglass shaped coppery-brown bands against a pinkish background which allows them to blend in well amongst the leaf litter. It had appeared to have flattened itself as if to try and sink into the sand and ever so often its forked tongue would flick sampling the air to determine what was in its presence. Grabbing my snake hook from the truck I decided to pin its head so I could hold it. How could I pass up this opportunity. Face it, when you find something as pretty as this your first inclination is to reach down and pick it up. As I delicately began to apply pressure with the hook the "pretty" thing on the ground came alive. It began writhing violently slinging sand in all directions and then put to use its musk glands and emitted jets of musk into the air. Now I have read that this musk has often been compared to the odor of cucumbers. Now I don't know what kinda cucumbers the person that made this statement eats, but the ones I've eaten never smelled this nasty. As I reached down to grip the back of its head it really began to wriggle and then to my utter horror the soft sand below it gave way allowing it to retract its head. The quickness at which it had released its pinned head and positioned itself to strike was chilling to say the least. Quickly I jumped back out of the way realizing how close I had come to having its juiced up fangs embedded in my hand. Yep, from now on I'll leave the handling of poisonous snakes to the pros and only get as close as my zoom lens allows.

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