Ahhh nature! Summer sunshine, the birds and the bees, the snakes and . . . the did I just say snakes?!
When I arrived home from work this afternoon, I began my usual chores of laundry, sweeping the hardwood floors, etc. My husband and middle son were taking care of the never ending cutting grass and weed eating. On opposite ends of the property. I heard my son calling my name frantically. Knowing that something was wrong I ran out the back and he was bent over at the waist, out of breath. He looked up at me and said, "I think I was bit by a snake. " He had the snake with him. It was dead. I looked at it's triangular head, the definite markings and said quite calmly, "Let's look at your leg." Two nasty puncture wounds already puffy and discolored.
You would be quite proud of me. But then, I have always been the type of person that is calm in the moment of dog bites, rusty nails , spider bites, snake bites. My children have had them all. It is later that I fall to pieces, like right about now.
But at that time a few short hours ago, I carried him to the ER. Even though the hospital was quite busy, one look at the snake in a coffee can and he was ushered right on back. I was amazed at how many sick folk all of a sudden felt good enough to look at a dead snake! Still, a snake is a snake, a strange fascination indeed and that was definitely a copperhead as the doctor confirmed.
He was administered anti venom.
When the kids were little guys we lived in Florida. I was homeschooling them and one of our favorite field trip sites was to Mr. Barrington's nursery. Mr. Barrington was an old man when we met him. In days past he sold orange trees and other citrus trees to the Sears and Roebuck chain. The little guys and I learned all about plants, leaves, chlorophyll, baby rabbits, ducks, snakes, shelf fungi, spiders, you name it, if it was on his land, we would learn about it from this dear old man. His patience and love of children was evident. My oldest son, Paul, (the "professor" today ) got his first science lessons from Mr. Barrington and his nursery. Scooping up ants, some dirt and sticks, we carried them home to make his first ant farm. It was a rather complex thing with aquariam tubing, 2 liter plastic bottles and the original name of Ants in Space.
Well, there I go with the ADD kicking in. I meant to tell you about what we learned about snakes from Mr. Barrington. We learned that copperheads are an aggressive snake when compared to rattlesnakes or cottonmouths. Although they are in the same genus, their venom is not as potent (thank the good Lord) as the other two, their bites are quite painful, can cause tissue damage and other complications. We also learned that most snakes will leave before you ever see them.
We had a snake get in the house once when we lived in Florida. He was pretty, as snakes go, non venomous and we decided to keep him. The kids named him Slick. A good science project, we learned that we didn't like to feed Slick live rodents. The poor things would die of heart failure and the snake wouldn't eat something dead. We found that gold fish made wonderful treats for Slick. When we tired of Slick and moved onto another unit of study, we brought Slick to Mr. Barrington's. Joshua wanted a wolf spider. I was having none of that. A snake was enough for me! We settled on a guinea pig named Butch. I can still hear that little pig call 'weep weep weep' to this day.
The other favored spot for educational fun was Gatorland. Yes, Gatorland, with their Jumping Gatoroo feeding frenzy. Until today, that was the only time we ever saw a copperhead up close and personal.