by: Robert W. Benjamin
When I was a youngster growing up in the 1960's and early 70's, I was lucky that we lived on a farm out in the country. One of the favorite pastimes I had, was going hunting for snakes on a nice warm sunny day. Living on the farm, was like living in 'snake heaven'. We had copperheads, milk snakes, grass snakes, black snakes, and garter snakes. We heard of rattlers living up in the hills or nearby places, but I never saw one while growing up.
I would find myself an old burlap bag or feed sack out in the barn, and head up the road a short distance. Along the sidehill near our farm were numerous rocks. I would locate a nice rather large flat rock that was not pressed into the ground, or one that was held above the ground by other rocks under it. Carefully I would grasp the rock, trying not to let my fingers reach under it, you never knew what might be hiding beneath it, ready to attack. One of the easiest ways to get bitten by a snake is to pick up a rock and have your fingers reaching underneath it, the snake can see your fingers, but you cannot see the snake, and in one fast strike you could find yourself heading to the Hospital.
Once I safely grasped the rock I would slowly turn it over and look under it, if there was a snake there it would do one of two things. Either it would rapidly try to flee and slither away and become lost in the nearby rocks and weeds, or it would coil up and try to defend it's self. Once I identified the snake as a non-poisonous type, I would spring into action, you see I thought of myself as the master snake handler at the time. The truth is, I was and still am a wacky person, I mean who in there right mind, loved playing with snakes and toads, and I still do today as a middle aged man. I will still go out of my way to not harm a snake or toad if I see one while mowing the grass or driving a vehicle.
Anyway, let's get back to catching the snakes. As I lifted the rock, if I identified the snake as being poisonous, like a copperhead, I would just slowly lower the rock back down on the snake, and leave it be. If I saw that it was a non-poisonous variety, I would try to step on it, not enough to hurt it, but just enough to prevent it from escaping. Then I would slowly maneuver my sneaker or foot until the snakes head was visible. Then I would reach down and carefully grasp the back of the head or neck area, holding the snake there, it could not strike me and was powerless. It would often wrap it's body around my wrist or arm if it was a large snake, but it was still powerless, and the snakes that lived where I did, were not very strong when it came to constricting. Once I caught the snake I would put him into the bag I had with me, then I would hunt for a couple more, you see one snake is good, two or three to play with is, great!
Once I had a nice bunch of snakes I would head back home, and shake them all into a large box I had. There I would sit and admire my prized collection. I would have my dad or brother come and see them, often I would show them to my friends that lived in the area. When I was a young kid, my best friend was a neighbor boy named 'Johnny Brennan, he loved snakes as much as I did, at the time anyway, and sometimes we would go on snake hunts together. My Dad seemed to like the things, he would sometimes ask to see one, and he would sit and hold it, or look into the box of snakes, laugh, shake his head and walk away. Mom on the other hand, hated and feared the things. She was always afraid of getting bit and killed by a snake, and she always made me keep them outside of the house.
So as you can probably tell, I loved snakes, they were one of the joys of growing up as a young boy. Now I will tell you some of the great benefits that all of us humans get from having snakes around. In all of North America, did you know that out of all the species of snakes that live here, only 4 are poisonous and can cause death to humans, these are the; Cottonmouth 'Water Moccasin', Coral Snake, Copperhead, and Rattlesnakes. The four poisonous species of snakes that live in North America only bite if they are approached, stepped on, attacked or annoyed greatly. The thing to learn is 'leave them alone and they will usually leave you alone'.
Do you like mice or rats ? How do you feel about having mice and rats coming inside your house or apartment in the cold winter months ? I bet you hate them, and you hate having them visit you inside your home and apartment. Every time a snake is killed, that leaves a hundred mice and other rodents that can invade your house and apartment. The only reason a snake would even be found near your home, is because there is a good supply of rodents nearby for it to eat. Snakes not only eat and control the mouse and rat population, they also eat worms, insects, and lizards, beetles and spiders, and yes an occasional toad.
Now that you know about the benefits of snakes, maybe you will think more highly of them the next time you see one. How would you feel if you were a snake or toad, and every time someone saw you slithering by, they tried to chop your head off with a hoe, or if they saw you hopping by they said "Don't touch that nasty toad, it will give you warts!". I think the creatures need the love and respect they deserve. Remember the joy that snakes gave one young boy as he was growing up, and think of all the nasty mice and rodents they keep under control.
Is a fear of snakes stopping you from starting your own Lawn Mowing Business ? From reading this article, you should now have a better feeling towards them. Maybe it's time you started that business you have been dreaming about. Did you know that there is computer software that is made just for a lawn mowing business, the software is called: ' Lawn Mowing Business ', you can read the details and download a trial version of it for free at this website address:
By Robert W. Benjamin
Copyright © 2006
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