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Once Bitten Twice Shy

One day a snake dropped out of a tree and landed on my Grandma’s head. This happened when my Grandma was in her 30’s. She lived to be 102 and she never got over it.

“Once bitten by a snake, he/she is scared all his/her life at the mere sight of a rope.” ~ Chinese Proverb

I’m not particularly afraid of snakes but I’ve never had one bite me or drop on my head which may be why I’m more afraid of spiders. 

Last month was the beginning of a new year on the Chinese Lunar calendar: The Year of the Snake. Swell. I’m not superstitious but the sound of it doesn’t give me a warm, pleasant feeling. However, folks who are into that type of thing are more optimistic:

Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve. ~HanBan.com

Hmm… This is just a guess, but I’m thinking a snake in the RV would mean H, H & I in a motel room which would mean our family might eventually starve. Anyway, we haven’t seen any inside but we have seen several outside snakes since relocating deep in the heart of Texas. Most are just the regular garden variety.

Around this time of year down here it’s the Season of the Snake. When the snakes start sunning, the tails and the tales start spinning. Everyone that comes through the gate has a story.

A fellow couldn’t wait to show this one to Heidi yesterday.

A 5 footer - I'm not sure if that was with or without the head.

And a friend stopped by to show us another.


I’m arachnophobic. I’m shy with spiders having been more than twice bitten – I think.

All I know for sure is there have been red bumps on my legs and squished spiders in my sleeping bag/bed on more than one occasion.

And I’ve bitten back. This I know this because the other half of the spider was still swimming in my Grape Nuts.

I used to catch garter snakes in the back yard when I was little. They didn’t bite but they do kind of pinch if you stick your finger in their mouth, which I did. I came close to being bitten when I caught a 5 foot water moccasin on a hiking trail. It was almost, but not quite, dead which is probably good or I might have been almost, but not quite dead, too, since I was only about 6 or 7.

Anyway, everyone has a snake story now. Last night, the guys at our TSL said the buzzards were feasting on a rattlesnake just up the road a ways. I’m hoping it was one of the 3 or 4 that have been spotted circling the wagons this week.

I was standing right beside this one when I took the picture, but one of the guys had made sure he was already under the weather.

It may be that I’m not afraid of snakes because I’m not real sharp or maybe, like I said, it’s just because I’ve never had one drop on my head – yet. I figure if we stay in Texas long enough, anything can happen!

The upside of having snakes around (it’s good to try to find an upside) is that it should keep the mice population under control and out of my door.

Although, I’m beginning to rethink that. The other night, the guys stopped to tell us about a bobcat that was 15-20 yards from the RV. Heidi was real disappointed not to have seen it. Me, not so much, although I would have liked to take a picture. Anyway, I was telling that to one of the guys who said:

Hey, I’ve got a picture for you. My boss just sent this from a rig about 30 miles from here.

OK, that kind of took the comfort out the mouse prevention bit.

I looked at the picture and then at Henry VIII. The upside of not getting enough exercise is that Henry has put on a little weight and is now officially bigger than a rabbit.

Last night, a driver was warning me about the rattlesnakes. I told him about the picture and he said:

Oh ya, I just saw one chasing a rabbit across the highway.

Really? I think we may have a crop of rabid rabbit chasing rattlers this year!

The folks at Shorty’s BBQ and Grill seem to have found a solution that works for them.

We have Wasp spray.

I just had a driver come in and say:

Be careful, Mama (they say Mama a lot here), I’ve seen six 6 foot rattlesnakes in the last half hour. They’re on the move!

It makes me feel like I’m in Tremors and they’re going to start popping up through the caliche!

I’m trying to remember to stop for a second and scan the area before I fling myself out of the RV in the dark. I don’t expect a snake to charge me, but I doubt he’d be keen on being stomped on. According to Buzzle (lots of rattlesnake facts here), rattlesnakes hunt mostly at night and can bite even after being beheaded. OK…

I’m issuing a warning to any kind of snake out there even thinking about coming too close, I’m pretty sure I’m a dead-eye with the Wasp killer. I haven’t ever actually tried it, but I’ve always been able to handle a spray can! And then there’s always the long, long-handled hoe.

As the African proverb says:

A weapon which you don’t have in your hand won’t kill a snake.

So y’all take care and be safe. Remember to keep your weapons handy and keep one eye on the ground and one on the sky. You just never know.

And Happy Easter  – again this week!

25 thoughts on “Once Bitten Twice Shy

  1. I’m really glad to live in Massachusetts where we hardly ever see rattlesnakes or big spiders. I have never had either land on my head but when I was visiting Florida I did have a gecko jump on my head. Last year when my son was in Myanmar he was bitten by a large spider in his bed. He still has huge scars on his arm from where the poison killed the tissue.

      • The weirdest thing about the spider bite was that Joe didn’t feel it. The doctor said that many spiders actually inject an anesthetic when they sting so the victim does not know it. In answer to your first question I am good with geckos they are kind of cute and friendly.

        • See, that’s the thing about spiders. They’re sneaky. They can bite and you don’t know it until your skin dies. At least when a rattlesnake bites, you feel it! It’s not a good feeling, but still, you know when it happens,or so I’m told. Thankfully I haven’t experienced that yet altho’ a guy had to rush down from the rig and kill another 6 footer coiled in front of our Safety Man’s trailer yesterday.

  2. I don’t particularly hate snakes, however I have no love for them either. All I say is: “My the Lord keep them safe and FAR away from me!”

    Great post as usual.

    • Hi Marie!
      We’ve had so many sitings now, I’ve lost count.
      We seem to be in rattlesnake central.
      The good news is that we only have 1 more hole here and then it’s off to a new TSL! (hoping they don’t follow) 😀

  3. My heart hurts to see all the dead snakes, but I understand we live in different worlds, Here in Jersey we have the human density of New Deli and the snakes are shy, really shy and we tend to treasure sightings, I do understand that this is not in any way the Texas experience. I love your writing!!! Happy Easter, I am off to help Lisa write a college paper about bullying……the irony is not lost on me….Have a great day!

    • Oh Sherrie –
      I knew this post would upset some folks.
      If it helps any – I don’t know what happened to the rabbit eating snake. He may still be happily winnowing out the rabbit and rodent population.
      The other 2 big rattlesnakes in the pictures were both hit by trucks.
      They weren’t just killed for sport.
      There are so many rattlesnakes and other pit vipers down here that it’s pretty hard not to run over them and I think snakes are a lot less shy Texas.

  4. I can really sympathize….have a lot of rattlesnake stories myself down here in San Diego county. The population has thinned a lot as more people have moved in to the area – or maybe they have more places to hide. They make the hair stand up on my neck just to think about them.

    What you need is a snake stick. It’s a long light weight plastic pipe (PVC irrigation pipe does well). There is a piece of stiff, heavy duty wire looped thru it so there is a loop in one end and a handle at the other. Anyway, the loop can be enlarged to slip around the snake’s neck then tightened so you can at least relocate the thing or have it in a good position to cut it’s head off with a shovel or shoot it.

    Thanks for the post and the great pictures! Happy Easter and God bless.

    • Sharon– Reposition, yes… relocate? Not on my watch. I’ll find someone to donate the meat to, though. I don’t kill what can’t be eaten — never did. Well, unless we count that frog I shot on the swim. hmmm. But I mighta used it for bait. I don’t recall.

      Happy Easter, all. This has to be the strangest Easter post out there…

    • Timing is everything. I shouldn’t have written about this at Easter – not very cheery, was it?
      Heidi’s partial to her long handle hoe…

      I was hoping that the bobcat that lives in the brush pile next to the RV would keep the rattlesnakes at bay but he’s not living up to his end of the bargain – or maybe there are just too many for him!

  5. Sorry – can’t read this post today
    I am deathly afraid of snakes (don’t get me started on the two episodes in my “early” days)
    I dreamt about snakes foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
    Can’t even watch them on TV without the hebie-jebies!
    Love you but not the snakes
    God Bless your Easter and give Heidi Easter Blessings too!

    • Hey Chris!
      Well, it’s a whole different world down here, for sure.
      Heidi is naturally MUCH better equipped for this environment than I am, but I’m learning.
      I probably won’t be chasing a rattlesnake with a hoe, but I’m not particularly afraid of tarantulas anymore (if they stay outside – my Sis in AZ had one walking around on the wall right over her shoulder).
      We LOVE having you in Iowa!
      You’re the best!

  6. UCK I hate snakes too! Thanks for the info… Happy Easter to the Girls, from the Girls! 🙂

    Cindy & Sharon n Tootsie!

  7. Hi Debbie, We haven’t seen any as of yet nor have we heard any of the driver’s telling of a story. Not to say that we are not looking out for them. We have been issued a light tower just for that purpose of looking for snakes, they want us to be safe. Damn nice of them if you ask me. Be careful.


    • The guy poking the rattler head in the bed of his truck said he ran over the snake and it was already dead, but trying to bite him so he used his machete. I don’t really get that ‘reaction’ thing about biting after dead, but hopefully everyone will realize the danger by us telling about it. Moral: Don’t play with dead snakes, even!

      I come from a long line of snake hunters. On the Wildcat Ridge (my grand parents’s farm), they hunted snakes for the rattles. It helped pay for vittles. I’m not sure they ate them, but the guys in the pictures were both going to skin and eat them. I should have asked for the hide, but I didn’t want to try to tan it, anyway. Would go nicely with my cow skull, though.

    • Hey Nick!
      Well, you know the rest of the story now… It’s been an interesting week.
      We’ve had those great ‘stadium lights’ (solar powered) for over a year now and you’re right, they’re wonderful!!

      • Update: We’ve had two guys tell us to be careful about the snakes now and one of them saw one on a nearby road. Wish we had a “Hoe” may have to go buy one soon!

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