Bluffton Packet

You’ve heard of fish tales, but have you heard of Lowcountry snake-tails?

Jean Tanner encountered this copperhead on a morning walk to the creek.
Jean Tanner encountered this copperhead on a morning walk to the creek.

Living in the Lowcountry, with hot and humid weather conditions, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for snakes, especially the latter part of summer when some dry leaves have started to fall covering the ground.

I conveyed this message to friend Theresa Westerman upon her moving to our area, so when she actually had a “one-on-one,” “face-to-face” meeting with a snake, I ask her to share her experience in writing for me to use in this article.

Here is Theresa’s story:

“Having recently relocated to the Lowcountry, even though I have a phobia with snakes, I wondered how I’d react if I ever encountered one, but I settled into my new home and decided Bluffton was for me.

“Everything was rolling along fine until the evening of Aug. 13 when, taking my four dogs out into the backyard for their walk, there it was — a copperhead snake (as I found out later) coiled up.

“None other than Ruby Tuesday, my Blue Nose Pit, being her usual curious self, began to approach the snake to investigate. Panic set in high gear. All the while, I was getting the dogs back in the house, wondering how to handle the situation.

“Not knowing (at that time) what kind of snake it was, I took a photo of it and sent it to several people (in my head it went to everyone in the United States that I knew) to get a quick identification of the snake. I asked for responses on how to proceed.

“I’m waiting on a reply, my heart is racing, and it’s just me and the snake having a stare down. With no response to my text message, I called my next-door neighbor, who graciously came over.

“The snake was still coiled up when she came over with a shovel in hand. She identified the snake as a copperhead and the both of us stood wondering how to get a good lick at it.

“After much debate, my neighbor performed the dirty deed, with me thinking it was going to go flying at me when chopped behind its head with the shovel.

“At this point I’m really rattled and, needless to say, if I got two hours sleep that night it was a record.

“Next morning, I’m off to the hardware store to load up on moth balls, which apparently some folk say is a deterrent.

“However, going in my backyard now I am hesitant and very cautious, glad I made it through my first horrid snake experience. After second thoughts though, I’ve decided to keep the house and not put it up for sale!”

OK, so shortly thereafter a Facebook friend of Theresa’s emailed her a phenomenal story concerning copperheads, stating that copperheads come out between the hours of 9 p.m. to midnight to dine on cicada larvae.

I was totally, I mean T-TOTALLY skeptical about this info passed on so I Googled this question: “Do Copperhead snakes eat Cicada larvae” and this link to a July 2016 Texas Parks & Wildlife article came up http://tpwmagazine.com/archive/2016/jul/scout5_wildthing_copperhead.

I’m still a little dubious. Readers, I ask you to check this out and decide for yourself; true or false?

I then Googled the question: “Do snakes come out at night,” with the answer turning up some interesting reading.

I can honestly say when I first heard that copperheads come out between 9 p.m. and midnight to dine on cicada larvae that it blew my mind, with me commenting, “That’s malarkey!”

Relying on my own personal experience with copperheads, I’ve only dealt with them during daylight hours because most good girls are indoors after dark, not dilly-dallying around in the midnight hour checking on what Mr. & Mrs. Copperhead snakes are up to.

Charley Pride’s song “The Snakes Crawl at Night” lyrics are: ”All the snakes crawl at night, that’s what they say. When the sun goes down then the snakes will play.”

Then, there’s the lyrics from the “Sneaky Snake” song by Tom T. Hall, “And then sneak snake goes dancing, Wiggling and a-hissing.”

So, I guess I’ll consume this bit of learned info with a grain of salt and chalk it up as a “Hmmm.”

Jean Tanner may be reached at jstmeema@hargray.com.

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