Wednesday, May 8, 2019


I became interested in snakes as a kid in the Delta of Mississippi.   There were two books in the school library on snake identification, and as I was enthralled with wildlife and the outdoors, and snakes were so prevalent in our area, I made it a point to study them.   As a teenager, I handled numerous snakes, including poisonous ones.

Snakes get a bad rap.  Even the Bible portrays the snake (and Eve) as evil.

Actually, snakes are one of the most beneficial creatures to man.  They eat bugs, slugs, mice, rats and numerous vermin.  

Poisonous snakes are dangerous and should be avoided.  There are over seven thousand snake bites recorded each year, but deaths are rare.   There were 23 deaths from venomous snakes in the United States between 2010 and 2018.   Four were from copperheads, four from exotics and 15 from rattlesnakes. 

Four of the deaths were from exotic snakes owned by the deceased.

 Three deaths (2012, 2014, 2015) were from snakes handled in Pentecostal Churches in Kentucky, and West Virginian.  

Three died while messing with the snake trying to remove it from an area. 

 One died while trying to extract venom from a copperhead, 

and one bitten on the ass while taking a crap in woods.    Death is not funny, but I couldn’t help it – I had to include the last.  

There are eight species of snakes in Maine and none of them poisonous.   There is a record of a timber rattler found in southern Maine in 1901, but that was an anomaly.   

However, there were no ticks in Maine forty years ago but now they are plentiful.    Climate change is causing many animals to extend their habitat northward. 

Snakes should be treated like any other wild animal.  Leave it alone and don’t harm it. 

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. David hates snakes. I love them. They are a necessity of nature.

  2. Sorry to disagree but fire ants are one species I could stand to exterminate totally.

  3. Michigan supposedly has 18 species of snakes, but where we live I don't recall ever seeing more than three: garter snakes, copper bellies, and green grass snakes. There are rattlesnakes south of us in Wisconsin, but so far as I know none have ever been found in the U.P.

    The first time I ever saw a venomous snake in the wild was a few years ago in Arkansas. Spotted a copperhead next to the trail. The markings that I think are quite attractive when the snake is seen out of context do work as amazing camouflage when it's in a natural setting. They're gorgeous snakes but hard to see so it's understandable why people get bitten. Copperheads are supposedly the least venomous of the venomous snakes in the U.S. so I'm surprised anyone has died from a bite.

  4. No poisonous snakes here in Northern Minnesota either, although there are some timber rattlesnakes in the southern part of the state, and we also didn't have ticks 30 years ago. Now some species of them are helping to decimate the moose population.

  5. Southern Saskatchewan has rattlesnakes but I have never seen anything but garter snakes which I like as they are beneficial, as you pointed out.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."