Snake Handling

No, we’re not Pentacostals and we teach our kids only to pick up non-poisonous snakes – and to avoid the excessively cantankerous Water Snakes.  In truth, despite one neighbor swearing he saw a Copperhead down by the stream on his property, after twenty years of living in these woods, I don’t think there are any Copperheads or other poisonous snakes in the vicinity.  The Water Snakes do an admirable job, when threatened, of coiling up and flattening their heads just enough to give them a triangular aspect; many folks – casual observers in the act of turning away at mach speed – would perceive them as venomous.  There is plenty of venom in our woods, but it is borne by the insect clan, the wasps & hornets and the caterpillars.  The worst of the caterpillars in the yard is the Saddleback, shown here:

GW Blog Saddleback Cat - Crop

It is much, much more likely that you’ll come away unscathed if you grab a snake in our yard than if you grab a Saddleback.

The Mackenzie is holding a Garter Snake in the featured image on this page.  As I wrote on her page, “She isn’t normally a glove-wearing priss when she holds reptiles and amphibians…she was gardening and protecting herself against our rampant poison ivy when she caught this one.”  On an annualized basis, we suffer more from poison ivy and stinging nettles – a.k.a. witch hazel or burn hazel – than we do from critters, except on those days when someone stomps a hive of yellow jackets.


Here’s Alex, holding one of my favorite snakes, the Northern Ring-neck.

GW Blog Alex N R-N Snake - Crop


Drake, who we frequently refer to as “Drake The Snake” is seen here with a friendly Garter Snake.

gw blog drake the snake


And here is my hand, holding a much smaller Garter Snake.

gw blog garternake 2


If we find more snake pictures, we’ll post them here.  Somewhere there’s a pic of Angus holding a much larger pet snake, a python or boa.  Not our pet snake – that’s one of the uncrossable boundaries for S, despite her sibilant initial initial.

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