Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Uninvited Guest

Photo and information from Missouri Conservationist Magazine.

The long weekend is over. Although there were a few torrential downpours, enough decent weather intervened to compensate us for the inconvenience. We enjoyed having friends, fun, music, drink, and food. And then there was our uninvited guest...a copperhead snake.

Yes, we were visited by a long and chubby copperhead, one of Missouri's several venomous snakes. A friend noticed it crawling next to a fallen log, and managed a pretty calm, "Better come here and take a look at this", comment.

As you can see from the Missouri Conservationist photo, a copperhead's coloring is beautiful, though he's not at all what you want to find crawling into your tent or sleeping bag.

Copperheads love mixed woodland areas where there is access to water, woodpiles, brush, and rocky areas. Consequently, 9 out of 10 copperheads agree that our place at the river is an ideal site to call home. As an added bonus, these critters are most active in late August through October (mating season), after which they hibernate through the winter in friendly fashion as members of a communal den along with various other types of snakes. I sure wouldn't want to stumble into one of those bedrooms!

Most snake bites in Missouri come from copperheads. Fortunately, the bite is not reported to be fatal for adults, but is extremely painful and can result in serious tissue damage. Prompt medical care is imperative. Due to the smaller size of children and pets, swift assistance is even more critical. Copperheads prefer flight to a fight, but will bite to defend themselves.

Flight is a point upon which both the snake and I can agree.

Well, it certainly wasn't what we expected, and resulted in more than a few shrieks of fright, but even at summer's end Mother Nature always saves a few little surprises for us, doesn't she?


The Word Place said...

We had them everywhere in the new subdivision in which we built in Houston. I found one in my kitchen under a trashbag full of paper that I'd wrapped dishes in! Lifted bag to take it out to garbage. . .set it down. . .ran as fast as my pg self could go to get help!! Le eek!

Donna Volkenannt said...

Yikes! When a shopping mall was being built near our old house, all the construction must've stirred up the critters. I found a snake in my washing machine. It was dead--I think the spin cycle did the pooor thing in--but it still gives me the creeps.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, we don't have those snakes up here BUT we do have not envy you not one bit!

Anonymous said...

Yikes! Now I remember why I like living in England, where the wildlife is pretty unexciting by comparison.