Well, it’s warm again and I’ve seen my first copperhead of the season.  The post I did last July about nearly stepping on a copperhead keeps my blog stats hopping all Spring, Summer, and some of Fall with around 150-200 hits on that post.  There’s been some heated discussion there too… lol.  I have noticed over the last few days that things are picking back up in the copperhead blog post department, so I thought I’d take a minute to share my thoughts on the copperhead once again.

I’ve grown up with the reality of copperheads amongst a variety of other snakes that live in these hills.  From a young age most mountain children are taught what the copperhead looks like, and where they love to hang out.  We are taught not to sworp at them with sticks, and not to run from them.  We are to keep our cool and walk slowly away, keeping our eye on the snake.  They aren’t aggressive snakes unless you provoke them either by accident or on purpose.  They are very poison, but it would be rare that you would die from one bite.  It will cause you a great deal of pain and maybe a lost limb, depending.  After being taught these things, us mountain kids were turned loose to play in the yards, hills, and hollers.

Most of the time as a youngster, I spent on the mountainside amongst some large rocks.  My mother never went up there, didn’t know where I was, and probably couldn’t have found me if she wanted to.  I was truly a free range kid.  I think that was a huge benefit to me in many ways.  As many of us were trusted to know better, my mother trusted me.  Because of that, I think we were a much safer bunch of kids… not that I would be comfortable not knowing where my girls were, but I’m more likely to follow along than my mother was.

I used the same advice when I came upon a copperhead sunning on top of a pile of leaves while searching for dry land fish (morels) with John a week or so ago.  Unfortunately, we only found one morel.  I did however see a slue of salamanders, snails, fungi, bugs, and the copperhead.  He was enjoying the rays of light seeping in through the canopy of new leaves.  He could have cared less that I was there, and didn’t even raise his head to take a smell or look.  I was only about 2 feet from him.  I was thankful I had my eyes on the ground and could maneuver myself up and around, after taking a pause to admire him.

You should have killed it, some might say.  My response is, I will leave well enough alone.  I had nothing to attempt to kill it with, and the safest thing for me at the time was to walk away.  I was in its habitat.  It’s a different story if they are in the yard where my children play, and I have a tool I can use to do away with the snake nearby.  Really, if you know about a copperhead, it isn’t that big of a deal – unless you step on it, or stick your hand in their den.  Then, well, God help you.  I hope you keep your finger.

Happy sunshine folks!

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