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?