Snakes! Eeeeeek! As most of you know, hiking and taking photos on my hikes is one of my favorite things to do in my free time. Recently, however, since Spring has sprung, my hikes have taken on a new feel. A creepy, crawly, uncomfortable feel… If you are one of my Facebook followers, then you probably know what is causing this new feel. Snakes! Yes, creepy, crawly, and VERY SCARY snakes!
I have two great fears in life – you know, the kind that cause nightmares. The kind of fears that keep you from engaging in certain activities. You know, doing things like going in to the Reptile House at the zoo or going sky-diving! Those fears that can cause you to have a slight panic attack in a large crowd of people. The kinds of fears that make you break out into a sweat just thinking about them. Well, for me, those two great fears are snakes and heights.
Fortunately, those are two things that I don’t encounter too often (just on occasion), but lately, it seems that someone out there in the universe wants me to confront my fear of snakes! Over the last 3-4 weeks of hiking, I have seen more snakes than I probably have in my entire life. Well, maybe not that many, but it sure seems like snakes are following me everywhere I go.
I’m sure you can imagine how creeped out I was doing a little research for this blog post about snakes. Just Google the word snake, and the images that pop up are enough to cause serious nightmares for me. In fact, as I’m typing this out, my feet are tucked up in my chair, just in case there might be a snake slithering by underneath my desk! Yes…that is what snake images do to my crazy mind. So guess what it was like for me to actually run in to some snakes out in the wild! Aaaaahhhhhh…..
Of course, the photographer in me, forced the scaredy-cat side of me to go back to where the snakes were and take some pictures! I had to prove to my husband how close I actually was to these crazy things. I was sure he would think I was exaggerating. Because usually I am – you know how it goes – the little grass snake you find while gardening? The one that is about 8 inches long? Well…in my house, by the time my husband gets home, the little 8 inch grass snake has turned into a 12 foot Python! Right?? So…the pictures were an absolute necessity, just as proof!
Many of my hikes this past season have taken place at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. If you haven’t been, it is definitely a place you should add to your list. And pretty safe. I mean, I’ve hiked there many, many times, and it wasn’t until the last few weeks that I began to notice some snakes (mostly in the water)! I go there because I love to hike, and I love to photograph birds and other wildlife (not snakes). There are always lots of fun birds to watch, so I’m usually looking up! First mistake… After last month’s encounter, I will be spending more time looking at my feet!
I was happily walking along the pier over the wetlands, listening to the birds chirping, feeling all happy inside. I was there right after a pretty big storm, so I noticed lots of new tree trunks in the water – the storm had knocked over quite a few trees and large limbs. So…with lots of logs in the water comes lots of turtles sunning on the logs. Right? Right! But…in addition to all the turtles were SO MANY SNAKES!
At first I did not even notice them. They completely blended in with the logs, and I was totally focused on all the cute turtles. However, I’m lucky that I did not drop my camera in the water, because as I was moving my focus over to the next turtle, I noticed something else moving. A giant Water Moccasin! Then, guess what. Next to the first Water Moccasin, was a second Water Moccasin. (see featured image) And a third, and it seemed that everywhere I looked, there were snakes lying out on logs catching some warm sun-rays! Aaaaaaahhhhhhh…
My first instinct was to run, but then like I said earlier, I knew I needed proof. So I headed back in the direction of the logs and snapped quite a few photos. Needless to say, that was the end of my nice, relaxing hike for that day. From that point on, every little leaf crackling, or branch creaking, in my mind, was a snake coming after me! My first time back to Heard should be interesting. I imagine I will be a bit jumpy! But you can bet that my eyes will be on the ground for most of the hike!
Every time I think of snakes, I think of my visit to the San Diego Zoo. I was happily walking along the back wall of the Reptile House, watching my crazy kids (and husband) smash their faces up against the snake cages so they could get a closer look, when I turned the corner and saw two women inside of what I assumed was a snake cage. I was right – it was a snake cage. And there was a very large snake in the cage. One of the women was painting, and the other woman had a snake stick!
Much to my surprise, I learned that there are people whose job it is to paint the inside of these giant snake habitats at the zoo. What? Crazy, right? Well, you can read all about it in my post titled San Diego Zoo – Painting Snake Cages??!! Is That Really a Job?
One of the creepiest article titles I read while Googling some information was an article from last Spring titled Snakebites on the Rise – Watch Out DFW! Really? Sure wish I hadn’t seen that article! It turned out to be a very good article. It recommended several things to do (and not do) if you are bitten by a snake. All good advice.
What to do if a snake bites you:
- Remove jewelry or any constrictive clothing on the limb.
- Remain calm. (Remain calm? Really? I don’t think that would be an option for me after being bitten by a snake. I can’t even remain calm after just seeing one).
- Rush to a hospital.
- Note the time of the bite. (I feel certain that the last thing on my mind would be to look at the time on my watch)!
- Do not try to capture the snake. (What? Try to capture him? Chop him in 1/2 maybe, but capture him? No way! Who in their right mind…)
- Do not cut or bite the wound, or try to suck the venom out by the mouth. (Gross. Just gross).
- Do not use ice or a tourniquet.
- Do not take pain relievers, alcohol or any medications without consulting a doctor. (Sorry…if alcohol is available, I will certainly be drinking some of it)!
- Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for instructions.
So…to end on a funny, positive note, I’ve included a very silly, very fun YouTube Video titled Scary Snake Pranks – Best of Just for Laughs Gags. It is not scary – it is just plain funny! And…even if you hate snakes like I do, you might find yourself chuckling just a bit!
Hope you liked the video. And I hope this article didn’t totally creep you out! If you see me out on the trails and I don’t look up, it’s not because I’m rude or ignoring you – – I’m just focused on my feet during these snakey times! Enjoy your hikes, and if you see some snakes, take a few pics for me! Until next time…