When we moved to the family farm in 1976 I was well aware of my fear of snakes.
I was taught as a child to stand still and yell for an adult, who would grab a hoe and quickly made short work of the snake.
I use to dream about snakes and in many of the dreams they were enormous snakes who would come after me by bouncing on their tales.
I decided I needed to address this fear and figure out how I and the snakes could live together on the farm.
My method for this was to kill first and identify later. Not the best outcome for the snake, but one that let me take the time to figure out who they were. I needed to know who were the good guys and who were the bad guys.
I quickly learned the Copperheads or pilot snake, as my neighbors called them, was the bad guy for my area.
I heard we have rattle snakes but have only seen two here and one was over by the zoo. I have never seen one on the farm.
The good guys were the King snake, Milk snake, Corn snake, Rat snake, the common black snake and the Eastern Black Racer. These all eat mice and rats and will take out the bad guys. We had a King snake which moved through our yard every spring. We use to look forward to his trip and would go out to make sure he made it through. We would tell our bug eyed customers to just step back and leave him alone.
I stopped seeing him several years ago.
On the small side there are the common garden snakes and the Ring neck snakes. These are both small snakes and you have to look quick to see them. Again, I have not seen any of these for awhile.
We have our usual black snakes up around the house in the spring and around the kiln. They will take up a territory and you have to convince them to move. Mark will pick them up, no thanks; I am not picking up any of them.
I use a hoe and pick them up and walk quickly to the woods where I toss.
Don’t laugh I know they come back.
Another snake here is the Hognose snake. When threatened, hognose snakes hiss loudly and spread their necks like cobras do, resulting in the nicknames “puff adder” or “spreading adder.” They rarely bite during these displays, but they may strike repeatedly. If the antagonist continues, the hognose snake will feign death by opening its mouth, rolling over on its back, and writhing around. If turned over onto its belly, it will immediately roll again onto its back.
I knew I was doing my job teaching my children about snakes when Anna and Joel caught one in a mason jar and brought it to me to identify.
I did and we released it later.
I’ll save that story for another time.
We have had several snakes find their way inside the house.
The first was on the kitchen counter and small enough that I thought he was the cord to the radio and when I walked over to “plug” it in he moved. And so did I! I still swear I levitated out of the kitchen.
He was removed unharmed.
Another was just hanging out on the kitchen floor. A long about 3-4 foot black snake. I glanced that way and thought, “why has Mark left a black plastic pipe on the floor?”
Then it moved…….
He was removed unharmed as well.
We were getting pretty good at this snake removal thing.
The one which did not make it out alive was the one which dropped onto Mark’s keyboard in the old office. That one had a nasty disposition and needed to have an attitude adjustment.
And there are others- but not today.
For more on NC snakes check out this great site.