August 30, 2010

Copperhead snake
Photo by Sue Weaver
Mom saved this Copperhead snake from being run over by a car last week.

When Mom came out to feed us this morning, she almost stepped on our snake. He’s a big blue racer who lives in the feed room and eats mice. He was lying on the floor digesting a mouse when Mom came in. Mom jumped and Snake jumped, too. Then he slithered off behind some stacks of stuff to finish digesting his breakfast.

There are lots of snakes in the Ozarks. Mom likes snakes a lot. When she was little and her friends said they wanted to be nurses and ballerinas, Mom wanted to be a herpetologist. (That’s a scientist who studies reptiles, not just snakes).

The Britannica Online Encyclopedia says there are about 2,900 species of snakes in the world—that’s a lot of snakes! And they live on all continents except Antarctica. Snakes can be teensy (like the 4-inch-long Thread Snake of Barbados) or humongous like goat-eating Anacondas up to 25 feet long (yipes!).

Lots of people are afraid of snakes. (It’s called ophidiophobia, in case you want to know.) Mom was never afraid of snakes because when she was a little kid, a nice neighbor man caught garter snakes and showed them to Mom and her friends. He let them hold the snakes and told them that most snakes are nice. Mom even had a pet baby rattlesnake until her dad found out; but then her dad chopped off its head.

Above is a Copperhead snake she saw on the road last week. She used the snake stick she keeps in the van to move it to safety. It was 103 degrees F that day, and the snake was torpid. (That means he could hardly move.) Makes sense. Uzzi and I felt torpid that day, too.

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