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Moontanman

SNAKES!!!!!

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Why do people go nuts when they see a snake? And why is the snake always deadly?

 

This snake is being touted on facebook as a pygmy rattlesnake...

 

543805_10200146210572058_691219577_n.jpg

I say more likely a neonate black racer but definitely not a rattle snake...

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Why do people go nuts when they see a snake? And why is the snake always deadly?

 

 

Mankind originally came from regions inhabited by deadly vipers. This may be an original instinct still inhabiting our subconscious manifesting its control.

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Mankind originally came from regions inhabited by deadly vipers. This may be an original instinct still inhabiting our subconscious manifesting its control.

 

Why don't I feel that way? I love snakes....

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Why don't I feel that way? I love snakes....

I like them too. Especially when I was a kid. But those vipers in Australia or in India where they walk around bare foot in the grass, nowaaaaay. wacko.png

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I saw a grass snake just the other day on the banks of the Vistula. He was not happy to see me and made a quick exit.

Okay, I just read this on the BBC website

 

 

A snake escaped from a pet shop and killed two children in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, police say.

In a statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they believed the reptile had strangled two boys, aged five and seven, in Campbellton.

The boys were staying overnight at a friend's apartment above the pet shop.

 

Police said they believe the snake slipped out of its cage overnight and travelled through the ventilation. The serpent has been captured by police.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23583116

 

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I saw a grass snake just the other day on the banks of the Vistula. He was not happy to see me and made a quick exit.

Okay, I just read this on the BBC website

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23583116

 

 

 

That tragedy is difficult to understand, snakes don't just kill, if they kill they eat it... and the boys were strangled? Why both? A snake, if it attacked them would have eaten the first boy and left the other one alone... Constrictors do not strangle, they suffocate you by preventing you from breathing... lots of red flags in that story...

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It would be a very atypical behavior. But the autopsy appears to be still out, so maybe some more info will be forthcoming.

I guess one possible scenario is if the kids were sleeping in the same bed and the snake kind of strangled them together?

Edited by CharonY

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It would be a very atypical behavior. But the autopsy appears to be still out, so maybe some more info will be forthcoming.

I guess one possible scenario is if the kids were sleeping in the same bed and the snake kind of strangled them together?

 

 

Agreed, I would like to revisit this a few weeks down the line, I'm betting those boys were not killed by the snake...

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I truly love and enjoy all kinds and colors of dead snakes.

 

Two hours ago, the 18 month-new neighbor stepped on the tail of a copperhead while going to the back porch.

Her mom is still in panic. -Did not bite-. I volunteered to mow her grass to calm her when she returns home by night.

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We got a lot of them "copper backed water rattlers" around here...

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A while back I saw an 80 foot black snake crossing my driveway (Okay, maybe he was about four feet long). Anyway, when I saw him I got a quick shot of adrenaline (I assume) and it scared me. But not enough to keep from walking up to about 10 feet from it. It then moved around to the other side of the tree and out of sight for a moment. I walked over a bit so I could see him again, and when I spotted him right where I thought he should be, still about 10 feet from me, I got another shock.

Now I know he is not harmful to me, and I had just seen him a moment prior, and I knew he would be there when I got around the tree, yet I was still scared when I saw him. I would rather have to grab a pit bull by the balls than be in the same room as a harmless black snake.

When I quickly went into the house my wife asked why I locked the door as I came in. I didn't even realize I did it. I also have bad dreams about snakes on a fairly regular basis.

It feels like a fear of snakes is built into me. I don't fear any other animals like that.

And on a side note, is there any way we can delete that picture from the first post?!?! eek.gif

Edited by zapatos

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That tragedy is difficult to understand, snakes don't just kill, if they kill they eat it... and the boys were strangled? Why both? A snake, if it attacked them would have eaten the first boy and left the other one alone... Constrictors do not strangle, they suffocate you by preventing you from breathing... lots of red flags in that story...

 

 

It would be a very atypical behavior. But the autopsy appears to be still out, so maybe some more info will be forthcoming.

I guess one possible scenario is if the kids were sleeping in the same bed and the snake kind of strangled them together?

 

 

 

 

Agreed, I would like to revisit this a few weeks down the line, I'm betting those boys were not killed by the snake...

 

 

Glad to know I wasn't the only one whose inbuilt scepticism monitor was bleeped on this one. As a non-agressive acr scenario: Would a snake of that size - maybe a hundred pounds or so - be able to smother two children by accident just by finding the warmest place to sleep and crushing by weight rather than constriction?

although subsequent to above I read this article with quotes from Kenneth Krysko, senior herpetologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville:

 

 

They're so ill-tempered that "they come out of the egg striking," he said in a 2009 interview.

"I personally don't see why people need to have these things as pets—they're not good pets and look at what ends up happening," Krysko said today. "I was shocked to hear about this."

 

 

Which is not the impression I had gained from snake-collectors.

 

A tragedy without doubt and perhaps it was as described in the press.

and just for Zapatos

 

python.jpg

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and just for Zapatos

That's just MEAN, man! Edited by zapatos

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Which is not the impression I had gained from snake-collectors.

 

 

I did my PhD in a herpetology lab, so worked a lot with snakes.

 

The snake in Moontanman's post is a roadkill, so it's difficult to really tell what it is, but I'm pretty certain it's not a Sisturus - I'm not super good at US snakes so I might well be wrong however. For reference, here's a photo of Sistrurus miliarius, which is commonly referred to as a pygmy rattlesnake in the Southeastern US. The tail morphology of the flatsnake in the OP doesn't really look right - I'd guess that it's a member of the genus Thamnophis - or the garter snakes, as the morphology is a better match and the coloration of garter snakes is extremely variable - see the second photo.

I also agree that people go a little crazy about snakes - I've heard countless stories of people being "chased" by snakes, whereas everything we know about snake behavior strongly indicates that the last thing a snake wants to do is chase a non-prey animal which can potentially squash them.

 

aneryt10.jpg

 

Thamnophis_marcianus.jpg

 

 

The news report in which the two boys died describes the snake variably as a boa, and then a rock python. As boas only generally get to about 10 feet and 60ish pounds at their largest, it's hard to imagine it would see a human, even a child of 5 as a potential prey item and be able to kill them without anyone else in the house being alerted. They're generally also fairly docile and sedentary - which is why they're so popular in the pet trade.

 

A rock python on the other had is a significantly different animal. These guys can exceed 20ft and weigh over 200lb. In the wild they can take on nile crocodiles, water buffalo and are known to have killed people. It's not impossible that such a snake could have constricted two children to death - but found them too large to swallow, or at least the act of doing so would have taken several hours. I agree with Dr Krysko in that a potentially 200lb snake isn't really a "pet" in the same sense as a tiger isn't really a pet.

 

Incidentally, while I was in South Australia a professional keeper was potentially killed by his "pet" scrub python http://hkras.org/eng/herpnews/?record=184

 

He's a picture of me holding one we caught in the field:

 

9459246628_e28ea1c50b_z.jpg

Edited by Arete

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Just to add, in the link above the autopsy of the keeper in South Australia was found to be inconclusive, whatever that means.

 

With regards to the snake in Canada, the RCMP has described the (euthanized) snake as being 45 kg in weight (ca. 100 lbs) and about 4 m in length, so it is more likely to be a rock python, I would say. It would be odd if the kids were sleeping separately, but then the report mentioned that they were on a sleep-over, which makes it quite likely that they shared a bunk/bed/couch.

Edited by CharonY

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I've heard countless stories of people being "chased" by snakes, whereas everything we know about snake behavior strongly indicates that the last thing a snake wants to do is chase a non-prey animal which can potentially squash them.

 

I have actually been chased by an agkistrodon piscivorus (water moccasin / cottonmouth) while fishing at one of my favorite lakes here in Oklahoma. While walking along the shore, I seen a water moccasin and it seen me because it raised up, showed me its fangs, and then proceeded towards me. As soon as it did that, I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction. It didn't chase me very far. Of course, in fear that I might get bitten, I didn't stop to look back to see where he was. I ran up the dam and proceeded to the other side of the lake.

 

I'm normally not afraid of snakes. I actually think they are really cool. However, the lake is way out in the country, and there is a good chance that if I got bit, that I wouldn't be able to contact someone for help and get medical attention.

 

Wikipedia offers a reason why these snakes 'chase' people, or at least why we feel that we are being chased unsure.png

 

Although their aggression has been exaggerated, on rare occasions territorial males will approach intruders in an aggressive manner.

Edited by Daedalus

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v4Rn2NjlFM

 

I don't take them so seriously when I watch this guy careless navigate his way through them and slap them on the head like you might a dog if it really misbehaved, but I don't think I could even go near a non-venomous one. The bites look nasty on all the videos of this guy I watch:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21UBSL_nV_Y

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I used to live on the Sunshine Coast here in SE Queensland, where Eastern Brown Snakes were very common. I don't think I ever saw one up close in the 3 years I lived there, but I certainly have heard them moving around and seen them from afar. In Brisbane, or at leats in some places in Brisbane where I've lived, I would see a lot of these guys. Around those sorts of snakes, I exercise a lot of due caution and try to keep my distance as much as I can, as their venom is not very nice (and although I'd never want to, killing snakes here is also illegal). I don't think I've ever freaked out with snakes or spiders. Usually the ones I've come across are happy doing whatever it is they're doing and so long as that doesn't start to involve me, I don't really mind how close to me they get.

 

I do draw the line at snakes or giant lizards in my bedroom, though. Spiders I can deal with, but bigger than that and I start to have problems. During the summer months, I frequently wake up to this guy or other members of his or her family in my room, blocking the entrance to my bathroom and hissing at me for having the audacity to try and pass them:

 

post-35291-0-71858300-1375940741_thumb.jpg

 

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-tongued_skink)

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You weren’t taught to be frightened of them; I personally don’t think fear of snakes is innate.

 

A while back I saw an 80 foot black snake crossing my driveway (Okay, maybe he was about four feet long). Anyway, when I saw him I got a quick shot of adrenaline (I assume) and it scared me. But not enough to keep from walking up to about 10 feet from it. It then moved around to the other side of the tree and out of sight for a moment. I walked over a bit so I could see him again, and when I spotted him right where I thought he should be, still about 10 feet from me, I got another shock.

 

Now I know he is not harmful to me, and I had just seen him a moment prior, and I knew he would be there when I got around the tree, yet I was still scared when I saw him. I would rather have to grab a pit bull by the balls than be in the same room as a harmless black snake.

 

When I quickly went into the house my wife asked why I locked the door as I came in. I didn't even realize I did it. I also have bad dreams about snakes on a fairly regular basis.

 

It feels like a fear of snakes is built into me. I don't fear any other animals like that.

 

And on a side note, is there any way we can delete that picture from the first post?!?! eek.gif

So we are either taught to be afraid of snakes or need to be taught not to be afraid of snakes. Considering places that have few snakes may be included in the "universally afraid of snakes" category I'm still leaning toward instinctively afraid or maybe better instinctively aware. A heightened sense would seem to be a reasonable out come for a former prehistoric survival instinct that in time moderated to a lessening fear response.

 

I seem to remember seeing a video somewhere of primates being shown a fake snake and they were freaking out like all get out. To have in modern humans a wide selection of response from a heightened awareness to screaming and wetting ones pants at seeing a garden hose in a dark garage could be seen as natural variability of the fear response to this moderation.

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Re the two boys killed: in the report I read (this morning's paper) the snake was described as an African Rock Python weighing about 100 pounds. The account was that it had escaped from its cage, crawled through a gap around a ventilation duct to get out of its room, and fallen through the ceiling of the bedroom the boys were sleeping in unto their bed, where it proceeded to kill them both.

 

The owner of the snake was watching TV in another room in the house, and heard nothing.

 

A snake expert interviewed said he was puzzled, but thought maybe the snake was spooked by the fall and the likely reaction of the boys to having a snake land on them. Autopsy results on the boys and the snake, which was killed by a "veterinarian" to investigate possible motive, are pending.

 

The boys were repeated visitors in the house, and the owner had a permit to keep the snake and had kept it for ten years or so, but officials said the terms of the permit required proper housing for safety, as the species is known to be aggressive.

 

Myself, I wonder about several of the details, including the snake's breaking through the ceiling - although 100 pounds is a lot, even mere 5/8 sheetrock nailed 18 inches on center shouldn't give out completely under weight distributed like a crawling snake - and the lack of noise, commotion, etc, from two boys, and the general picture of blankets etc. The whole thing is odd.

 

As far as innate fear of snakes, or more likely an innate tendency to easily acquire a fear of snakes, the reactions I've seen (even in some people who have never seen a snake close up before) are difficult to explain otherwise - I can't see that kind of over the top reaction being such a common thing in a place like where I live, where essentially no snakes are dangerous (the occasional rattler is so rare I've never seen one wild, despite kicking around on the bluffs and riversides my whole life), from operant conditioning alone.

 

Kids visiting farms have to be warned and watched continually, they can't seem to be conditioned, to avoid hogs, geese, power take-offs, lawn mowers and ventilation fans, the road, electric fencing, electrical cords, hot stoves, knives and guns and power tools, all kinds of really dangerous stuff that adults treat with great wariness when children are around. Why aren't they afraid of turtles like that?

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So we are either taught to be afraid of snakes or need to be taught not to be afraid of snakes. Considering places that have few snakes may be included in the "universally afraid of snakes" category I'm still leaning toward instinctively afraid or maybe better instinctively aware. A heightened sense would seem to be a reasonable out come for a former prehistoric survival instinct that in time moderated to a lessening fear response.

 

I seem to remember seeing a video somewhere of primates being shown a fake snake and they were freaking out like all get out. To have in modern humans a wide selection of response from a heightened awareness to screaming and wetting ones pants at seeing a garden hose in a dark garage could be seen as natural variability of the fear response to this moderation.

 

To me, that is more the instinctive response to something an organism is unfamiliar with or has never encountered before, rather than a specific response to snakes.

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So we are either taught to be afraid of snakes or need to be taught not to be afraid of snakes. Considering places that have few snakes may be included in the "universally afraid of snakes" category I'm still leaning toward instinctively afraid or maybe better instinctively aware. A heightened sense would seem to be a reasonable out come for a former prehistoric survival instinct that in time moderated to a lessening fear response.

 

I seem to remember seeing a video somewhere of primates being shown a fake snake and they were freaking out like all get out. To have in modern humans a wide selection of response from a heightened awareness to screaming and wetting ones pants at seeing a garden hose in a dark garage could be seen as natural variability of the fear response to this moderation.

 

I can still remember the day I was taught to fear them, I was 6/7 and walking home with Mum we encountered a full grown grass snake sunning itself on the path, Mum wasn’t hysterical but she was tense (I spotted it several seconds before she did and was surprised by her reaction), she grabbed my collar and lead me to the opposite path and relaxed as we passed. As a consequence of the mild lesson I received is my fear is mild and easily overcome; I can pick them up but not with confidence. The primate’s reaction to the fake snake is more than likely because they too were taught and it’s not easy to tell a fake instantly.

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I have actually been chased by an agkistrodon piscivorus (water moccasin / cottonmouth) while fishing at one of my favorite lakes here in Oklahoma. While walking along the shore, I seen a water moccasin and it seen me because it raised up, showed me its fangs, and then proceeded towards me. As soon as it did that, I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction. It didn't chase me very far. Of course, in fear that I might get bitten, I didn't stop to look back to see where he was. I ran up the dam and proceeded to the other side of the lake.

 

 

 

Having done a lot of catching snakes, and know that often a startled snake will move for the closest cover, even if it is towards the potential threat. If you look at a snake's skull there isn't much room for brain up there. :)

 

As such, I usually put "the snake chased me" stories down to: person saw snake, snake saw person, both freaked out, snake moved towards person, person ran away = snake chased me story. Form you link it does look like some are territorial and there may be some truth to it.

 

Gets even worse with monitor lizards, who will climb the nearest, vertical object when startled, even if it happens to be the person who startled them in the first place! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goanna

I have actually witnessed an approximately 2m long lace monitor who had learned that it could rear up and hiss at tourists barbequing at a popular lookout, scare them away and steal their meat off the grill. Was a highly amusing antic to watch.

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The small - even nonexistant, in many cases - amount of operant conditioning normally involved in snake fear does not produce that intense and visceral a fear response for very many things.

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