U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Nature
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-10-2016, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
12,446 posts, read 10,897,061 times
Reputation: 28189

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJmmadude View Post
...Seems they were terrorizing the snake and it flattened its head when it got uppity and went to bite, cementing the ID...
The defensive posture taken by many non-venomous snakes (vibrating tail, flattening the body to look larger, coiling-up, striking at the threat) quite successfully intimidates most humans. Unfortunately, down here in Dixie, it also leads to someone "gettin' a hoe" and killing a harmless and beneficial creature. I'm the unofficial pest eliminator in my neighborhood, because I'm the only person who can actually identify what kind of critter we're dealing with (all of us are from other regions or countries).

One woman told me an alligator almost ate her small poodle down at our lake. She claimed she heard it make "that growling sound." When I went to investigate, all I found was a rather large bullfrog making it's loud characteristic "Jug-O-Rum" call.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-10-2016, 05:09 PM
 
6,306 posts, read 3,572,105 times
Reputation: 22030
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirt Grinder View Post
They also have a habit of coiling-up and vibrating their tail when threatened, which freaks people out.
Is that true? It's something I've never noticed. But then I avoid making the little creatures feel trapped or threatened.


Funny. They must think they look like rattlers when they do that. Hah.


Sometimes I think it must be stored in our ancient brain to have that "freak out" reaction to snakes. I don't live in an area when there are any dangerous ones left and they don't bother me but I still get a pretty strong startle response when I first see one.


I've noticed the same in some cats I've had. I had one cat who just lost it whenever she saw the coils of my embroidery thread or a rope.


So it's nothing to pooh-pooh that people have that reaction. Actually, I think it's a positive since so many of us these days seem to have lost their instinct for self-protection.


And now I'm thinking about the Old Testament and the Satan connection!

Better stop right here.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 05:11 PM
 
6,785 posts, read 3,859,912 times
Reputation: 15491
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
FYI: Garter snakes, although non-poisonous, CAN bite (as can non-poisonous water snakes), and are best avoided, though certainly not killed.

A garter snake once bit my curious young cat on the jaw - he looked as if he had the mumps, so as soon as I realized what had happened, I rushed him to the vet. He received a cortisone shot which helped the swelling, but was obviously not feeling his best for two or three days afterwards. This was a housecat who went outside only during the day and with supervision - but he spotted that snake, investigated - and paid the price.

The snake was unharmed, and the cat eventually died of old age at 17.
Gee, thanks. Now I can dread even the little garter snakes, just as I was getting used to them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
7,247 posts, read 4,672,415 times
Reputation: 16393
Whoa! You've got a lot of snakes down there.

Solid green/gray? I'm honestly not sure what that would be. It might almost be a northern green snake, but they're a very solid, and usually bright, green. What was the body type? You described the first snake as slender, so that would tend to rule out anything venomous. All venomous snakes in your part of the country are pit vipers, and their body type tends to be somewhat on the thick side. They're not necessarily fat-bodied, but they usually wouldn't be described as slender. If that green/gray snake was heavy-bodied, I'd be concerned. That coloration could almost fit a water moccasin. They can have a sort of an olive coloration, and even though they do have bands and chevrons, the markings can be very indistinct - leading someone who just caught a glance to believe that they're a solid color.

Did it have a relatively broad, flat, heavy head? You probably didn't notice, but if it did, I would stay away from the area where you saw that snake. It's possible you saw a cottonmouth, and they can be very nasty, aggressive customers. They usually don't get far from water - do you have a pond, stream, or swamp on your place?

Oh, by the way - in an earlier post, you referred to water snakes as venomous. They're not. They're just ugly. A water moccasin (also know as a cottonmouth) is venomous, but not water snakes. If you have water snakes on your place, they're noting to worry about.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 07:00 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,225 posts, read 14,927,129 times
Reputation: 14983
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirt Grinder View Post
Heck, I can tell the difference from quite a distance. The head, the thickness of the body, the tail, the coloration, the stance. I got paid to remove water moccasins from a private pond one summer. The residents said the moccasins were out of control and threatening their dogs. However, most of their "water moccasins" were harmless water snakes. After I showed them how to tell the difference they were quite relieved.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpaint View Post
Gee, thanks. Now I can dread even the little garter snakes, just as I was getting used to them.

Me too!

Dirt, you're welcome to come on over to my place and check out the snakes - take them with you if you like! I have a feeling we aren't far apart as we're clearly in cotton land here. The 3 biggest crops are soy, cotton, and sweet taters. In fact, trying to find a farmstand with local produce like maters and corn (not feed corn) is not easy!

Oh, and please bring Albert with you! Hop onto 45 and head south. When you run out of town and hit the papermill forests, we're not far away.

Hubby laughed when I told him about this afternoon's latest anaconda sighting. He thinks it's the same snake but I must have seen grass in front of last night's snake - the one my dog caught last evening and he described it as dark green, light on the belly, no stripes or patterns or bands. Both were about the same thickness as a little finger, so to my mind, just a juvenile as opposed to full grown. He may say it's the same snake, I will have nightmares of an invasion.

We have no pond or "crick" on our property. We do have a dry creek bed that fills when we have the monsoons but it dries within a day. Neighbors have ponds for watering their cattle/goats/horses and hay. We DO have a pool and hot tub. Funny, the bullfrogs and tree frogs were incredibly noisy for a while but I haven't been tempted to turn down my hearing aids because of them in the last couple days. My dogs stopped chasing them after one got a taste - bite to spit in miliseconds! so it must be the snakes eating them. No wonder we have so many snakes.

I won't be walking the dogs after dark until the snakes go away but I still get to do it daytime - yay me!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
12,446 posts, read 10,897,061 times
Reputation: 28189
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
...the bullfrogs and tree frogs were incredibly noisy...
Wait until you get a 17 year cicada hatch if you want some racket. Brood V hatches in New York state this Spring, so maybe you've heard that cacophony before.

When I came here from England I had to learn about the local flora and fauna so I would know what tales were true and what were myth. I heard everything from hoop snakes rolling down a hill and biting folks to deadly copperhead lizards (harmless red-headed skinks). That's when I went head-first into the wilderness with my trusty Field Guides. The one common belief I found among almost all Southerners: "The only good snake is a dead snake." That's why I tell my neighbors to call me when they encounter a snake. Someone has to save the good guys.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 07:44 PM
 
2,630 posts, read 1,934,527 times
Reputation: 4597
Given the size and the description, it could be one of many snakes dubbed "racers." They are typically black, or bluish black with markings, usually thin markings, the background color predominates. Like king snakes, they are non-venomous, and are constrictors, but some are small, some even the size of garter snakes. They eat rats and mice.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 07:53 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,225 posts, read 14,927,129 times
Reputation: 14983
We had the cicada hatching last year. It lasted almost 4 weeks and I never heard anything so constant and horrid - except my older son being a metalhead. Egad - metallica and he sang, off-key, with it! (oh wait, it was probably on-key but metal "music" is not on-key.) The good thing is that we had fewer wasps last summer than the previous 2.

When you get here, we can send the hound to sniff out its location and you are free to take it home with you. By then it just might be the size of a python.

I'm a northern city girl doing my best to learn about country, aggy, and southern. I've held baby goats and baby pigs, rescued puppies from ditches and kittens from a swamp and my mother, were she alive, would not believe it of me. I had my first ever wasp sting last summer and I do not intend to get a first snake bite.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 08:01 PM
 
853 posts, read 1,223,105 times
Reputation: 1716
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpaint View Post
Gee, thanks. Now I can dread even the little garter snakes, just as I was getting used to them.
Garters are completely harmless to humans. I have been bitten many times by them and I know plenty of naturalists and curious kids who have been bitten with not even as much as swelling. They need to latch on and chew for some time to really deliver any meaningful amount of venom, and even then it's unlikely to be clinically significant. The story that's often passed along when discussing the garters' venom is of a kid who had a garter snake (Eastern garter) latch onto his thumb and chew like hell for about 10 minutes. His hand swelled up and it was determined that his reaction was not an allergic reaction, but that he was envenomated. I think that there are similar stories about garters out west, and the ribbon snake (same genus as the garter snake, Thamnophis) is suspected to also have a medically significant bite if allowed to chew with reckless abandon.


Loosely speaking, snake venom is modified saliva and is prey-specific, it didn't evolve for self-defense. Because snakes can't chew prey and they swallow it whole, their saliva evolved over time to contain proteins and other substances to begin the digestion process. Over time, some snakes evolved to have venom that was immensely potent in this regard, but also to have venom that attacked the nervous system of the animal so that a single bite would be enough to stun the prey so that it could be swallowed without it attempting to chew the face off of the snake in the meantime. These became the snakes that we regard as venomous. The venomous snakes developed elaborate 'delivery systems', such as specialized teeth (fangs) and evolution of venom glands (complete with muscles to quickly inject venom) that evolved from a gland that holds saliva called the Duvernoy's gland. Their saliva and dentition evolved with their prey preferences.


Because the diet of the garter snake is so varied and is often heavily tilted toward frogs, salamanders and invertebrates, their saliva is not specific toward mammals and birds (gives us a bit of a break). One interesting thing about garters-they can eat amphibians that a lot of snakes will stay away from, such as red-spotted newts, toads, and pickerel frogs.


I think that most of the risk from the bite of a garter snake comes from the possibility of having a tooth break off in your skin and getting infected. Otherwise they are insignificant. I would worry much more about the bite of a mammal.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2016, 08:16 PM
 
853 posts, read 1,223,105 times
Reputation: 1716
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
Is that true? It's something I've never noticed. But then I avoid making the little creatures feel trapped or threatened.


Funny. They must think they look like rattlers when they do that. Hah.
Yes! I've had racers and copperheads do it to me in the field and it's staggering how much they sound like rattlers. I've never seen a garter do it, but I've seen them coil their bodies, tuck their heads under the coil, and wave their tails in the air. Some people suggest that they are mimicking rattlers, but there is a chicken and egg effect here. It's been said that rattlers evolved from snakes that vibrated their tails like this against leaves and other noisy substrates. In the grassy plains where the tails can make little noise against the grass, their tail shaking had to be so violent to make noise that they evolved to have loose, keratinous scales in buttons that are the rattles that we see today. Those snakes that were the noisiest were also the least likely to be stepped on, and the rest is history.


Dirt Grinder, I will probably never forget copperhead lizards-that's hilarious!


NY Annie, I'm jealous that you live in the South and get to experience all of that cool stuff!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Nature
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top