I was almost in a pinch, thrice, collecting the other day.

Three days after my previous rattle snake encounter, I headed back out to the same locality. By then, I had completely forgotten about the rattle snake and failed to notice that I was rather close to where I had seen it, but slightly off the trail. My mind was on a single track – I had to flip more rocks then break open logs for ants, that was all that mattered.

Next thing I know, I hear a very familiar rattle, I jump back and low and behold, the same large rattle snake was coiled and rattling, a foot away from where I had been previously standing. Close encounter number one.

Collecting was sucking, but I kept going, I really wanted to make it worth my time. I look to my left and I see a nice rotting conifer with peeling bark. I walk over and hack at it, uncovering galleries of Reticulitermes termites. Bending over, I examine the galleries for some time. With no guests uncovered, I get ready to stand up when I notice that I’m stepping on the tail end of a copper head, but the darn thing was merely trying to slither away, trapped by my stupid foot. Close encounter number two.

I quickly back away and the copper head bursts a little forward, immediately settling down in a patch of sunlight not far in front. I then thought to myself that a photo would be nice, so I positions myself and take a few shots.

Finished photographing, I look at my feet, and there is another damn copper head, litterally coiled at my toes; I must have backed up right next to it and luckly didn’t step on another one. Close encounter number three.

To top it all off, I hacked myself in the shun with my log bust’n tool and I had to pull the blade out of my leg. Blood trickling, I retired sluggishly to my car without much in my vials to make my day.


4 responses to “

  1. Collecting sounds dangerous…
    So where is the photo of the copperhead?

  2. Troy Bartlett

    Whew! I’d heard copperheads, while dangerous, are relatively timid. I guess this is further evidence of that.

    Reminds me of a night a few years ago in Brazil where I had a few unexpected encounters. First, I got a little too close to a stingless bee hive. I knew they couldn’t sting me, but I underestimated how disconcerting a mob attack can be.

    Later, towards dusk, I found a nice large spider that I photographed, sometimes getting quite close. Only later did I realize the spider was among the most dangerous in the world and aggressive at that (Brazilian wandering spider).

    Finally, while driving back, I spotted a colorful snake crossing the road. I stopped and started photographing it. It had the colors of a coral snake so I was being cautious. Nonetheless, I followed it into the grass on the side of the road, snapping away. At one point, a few feet onto the road shoulder, I looked up from the camera and right in front of me was a small coiled up rattlesnake. My heart stopped and I froze in place, carefully looking around me.

    Thankfully though, this didn’t all end in some sort of self mutilation :).

    Here in Georgia, while I sometimes encounter copperheads, my worst fear is stepping onto a yellowjacket nest. And nothing is worse than stepping through a tall grass meadow and feeling your foot sink into what you suddenly realize is a huge fire ant mound (happened twice in one day).

    • taroeldredge

      Sounds like you’ve had your share of close encounters as well! But ooo, fire ants, they have really nice beetle guests that live with them. Even the invasives have brought a neat staphylinid guest, Myrmecosaurus (literally, “ant lizard”). You should keep an eye out for me.

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