Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rearing Snakes

NO PHOTOS ARE IN THIS BLOG BECAUSE I KNOW MY MOM READS IT AND SHE IS VERY AFRAID OF SNAKES, EVEN PICTURES! if you want to see pictures, click on the links. and mom, stop reading now because this is about snakes! last night, nathaniel and i read this article about a possible KING COBRA in fayetteville. i'm sure if you watch the news or read the paper/internet news, you've seen this already. basically, a dude down in cumberland county said that he saw a king cobra. he identified it because it reared up his head. so let me tell you a story that happened to me years ago, back in the DOT days. we were working on a future bridge corridor out near fayetteville (near hope mills). we had to walk about 500' down a sewer easement, which was neck high with kudzu. the utility company bushhogged a trail for us that was about 20 feet wide (just enough for our drill rig to drive through). we were done with our drilling and surveying the elevations of the borings, and all the guys were out of the woods. i was left carrying the survey equipment (tripod, level thingy, and my notebook) so i had my hands full. i started walking out and about half way to the road, i heard something moving behind me in the kudzo, so i stopped and turned around. out ran this long, skinny, black snake that was sitting on its tail with his head raised up high (about 1/2 of his body was in the air, he was maybe waist high on me but of coarse he was a little ways away from me and this story is about 5 years old so it may be exaggerated some now). anyway, my first thought was that this was a very nosey black snake (black snakes usually run from you before you ever see them). i was noticing the belly of this snake was silver, which is different than a black snake. black [rat] snakes have yellow bellies (that is how i remember it is a black snake, because they run from you - yellow belly... get it?) ok, so this snake had a silver belly. which is different than any black snake i've seen before. so after about 10 seconds of us staring at each other, this snake LUNGED forward towards me maintaining its erect posture! at this point, i rearranged the equipment in my hand so that the tripod was in the front and ready to be propelled forwards to get between me and this snake. but, after a moment, this snake decided i must not be a threat so it just backed away into the kudzu (moved down to the ground). so when i got out of the woods, one of the drillers informed me that i had encountered a black racer, which are known for being aggressive. he said "be glad you didn't run, because i've seen them run after someone, bite them, and whip them!" after reading this story on WRAL, nathaniel and i looked up the black racer. it was very likely that it was the snake i encountered. also, we found another snake (called the eastern coachwhip) which is much more aggressive, and happens to be the LONGEST snake found in NC. i wonder if THIS is what the man thought was a king cobra. if you click on all these links, you will see that the "mean" snakes all do look similar, especially the king cobra and the eastern coachwhip. and i know for SURE that snakes can flatten their head, it doesn't have to be a cobra or a cottonmouth. so anyway, my theory is that this man encountered a coachwhip. and the fact that "pit bull pups and chickens" have been missing says to me that #1 someone is stealing puppies and #2 a fox is eating some free chickens!!! these snakes do not eat things that large. maybe the pups, but only if they were weeks old, not 2 months old.


  1. I had an 'encounter' with a black racer once too. They really can sit up high! I remember thinking he must have been part cobra :-)

  2. "(tripod, level thingy, and my notebook)"

    Level thingy = transit.

  3. From the title, I thought this was going to be a blog about raising baby snakes... ;)



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