It's hot outside here in the Lone Star state today and the scientists who study snakes (herpetologists) are conjecturing that they become more 'bitey' when it's hot. The slithering lizards have never bothered me as much as say, spiders. Just look at that smiling smug scary bastard...
But, I still shun snakes in the wilds on the extremely rare occasions I actually see them.
Even though I'd lived for a while in a tiny oil drilling town west of Fort Worth as a teenager where the snake-to-people ratio was around 3:1, I had only seen one water moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus) in the three years there. And that was just at my granddad's artificial fishing lake I went out to to fish all day and play guitar (they call them 'stock tanks' round these parts).
Just for future reference, at 80 yards, it is really difficult to peg a snake in the water with a .22 lr. Or at least it was back then, but I might be a better shot now.
I had heard rattlers in the scrub brush while out on dusty oil leases, sure, but never actually met up with one. My uncle was not so lucky.
One hot day he was out on a lease adjusting pressure at two of the wells flowing into a group of 'tank batteries'. The tank batteries are basically huge steel silos connected to the flow pipes from the wells, whose primary reason for existence is to hold oil until a local processing company drives a truck out to purchase the oil. Sometimes there is also a balsamic vinegar tank so you can make a huge salad with the farmer's lettuce.
Anyway, getting back to the story, another purpose of the tank batteries apparently is to attract diamondback rattlesnakes. My uncle went walking by the point where two tanks came together towards the stairs up top so the fill level could be checked (all part of making sure the oil purchasing trucks are not getting a free lunch of any kind). He heard the rattling noise and when he instinctively turned towards it, he saw the snake partially coiled between the tanks.
From the snake's perspective, the distance to my uncle must have been too far away for a reliable strike. My uncle stared at it for a fraction of a second which I'm sure seemed like forever, and the snake *rapidly* slithered out towards him. He described it as one of those instances in which you don't have time to get turned around because the snake was moving towards him so fast.
He started running backwards to keep the snake from closing the distance too quickly. The snake slowed enough where my uncle could turn around and finish running away properly. After that, my father usually checked that particular lease.
At this point, I'm compelled to mention that in ancient Pompeii, snakes were typically painted on the walls as a weird sort of guardian spirit for the family painted or sculpted around the 'house shrine' called a lararium.
I think I'm ok with ancient art snakes, I'll just be avoiding the Copperheads and other living poisonous snakes this weekend. You guys do know that a pointy or triangularish snake head / skull usually (but not always) indicates that the snake's venom is toxic? What snake stories do you have?
Oh also, Heather gave me a meme for six things I'm a 'master' at.
I guess I have to pick in no particular order:
1) sculpting / carving things (I really wish I could paint and draw better, but still working on it)
2) music related stuff - I compose, have perfect pitch, etc.
3) I have inexplicably strong curl strength, being able to do several sets of 160lbs (and not just with my dominant arm, haha).
4) I have uncanny balance, skateboarding, snowboarding, it's all innate, init?
5) I love anagrams and completely dominate any game of scrabble I'm in.
6) Because of my time working with restaurant managers in a large corporate office, I can grill and cook better than most.
1 day ago