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RE: Signs of Spring

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Title: RE: Signs of Spring
I agree with you Vic. While Stan has a PGA course on the other side of his creek, I have PGA West (courses and housing) on the other side of the cove where I live. Groundskeepers at PGA head out early in the morning to remove the Sidewinders and other rattle snakes from the course before the golfers get out. They don't kill them, just take them back into the foothills. The Roadrunners and King snakes do much of the population control.
I do know that, as Stan pointed out, Moccasin's tend to be an extremely and venomous predator as I dealt with them when at Fort Polk. It's best to steer clear of them but I've heard many horror stories about swimmers who jumped into the wrong spot to discover a bunch of Moccasins. I know most of these stories are Fort Polk's "Rural Legends" but I suppose there is some fact in the scare as well. Still, I'd rather avoid than kill.
BTW, In our area the air temperature at 70 can be closer to 90 on the ground. This is very warm for a snake. Ideal time is when ground temp is around 70 like early spring in the desert or before dawn or after dusk in the summer. My wife and I used to be volunteers for the Riverside County Sheriff's police as a community service to patrol our neighborhood. One night a smallish sidewinder was crossing the street. We blocked off the cars with police cruisers to allow it to get to the other side on it's own (none of wanted to get closer than the windows of our cars).  Still, the city sends around animal control who picks up snakes from the lawns of people who live on the fringe (as we do). This was one reason I never put grass or much green into our property. The cool moist grasses and plants draw snakes. Desertscapes don't generally because they don't cool down that much. With five dogs, I didn't want to endanger any of them. The closest call was a sidewinder on the street by our driveway which was killed by a car (not mine).
-----Original Message-----
From: vicpeng [mailto:vicpeng(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 8:38 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Signs of Spring

Is there no other way to live with these critters without killing them?

Thor A Tandy P.Eng
Victoria BC
e-mail: vicpeng(--nospam--at)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 8:24 AM
Subject: RE: Signs of Spring

Wild Bill wrote:

I'm no herpetologist, but I do believe that is a good 'ol Cotton Mouth

I was a bit leery about approaching him, because Cotton Mouths are a little
unique among the poisonous snakes, in that they are AGGRESSIVE!


What you have there is a good old-fashioned Texas Water Moccasin (a.k.a., Cottonmouth), albeit a fairly puny one.  Mama's down in the creek, and she will really impress you when she eventually visits!  Perhaps you could send one of your kids down into the creek to invite her. 

I also live on a creek (a big, spring-fed one), and used to own lake property, so I've got a bit of experience with these critters.  Killing them is an annual neighborhood tradition.  On the other side of the creek is a PGA touring pro.  He and I are the designated snake killers on our stretch of the creek.  I normally use a long-handled shovel, but he prefers a sand wedge.  On dry land, these snakes are pretty slow and awkward, and can be decapitated fairly easily.  In the water, however, they clearly have the advantage.  One day a few years ago, I heard a rukus out back and found a drunken neighbor from upstream carelessly pursuing a six-foot cottonmouth down the creek in about a foot of water.  He was wearing a swimming suit and flip-flops, and his only weapon was one of those metal realtor's signs (which he apparently thought would make an excellent guillotine).  Now this can be a dangerous practice, because you can die if the snake strikes first!  First we talked him out of the creek, then we lured the snake out of the creek, then we killed him (the snake, not the neighbor) in our traditional fashion.


Stan Caldwell in Dallas

The only good snake,
is a dead snake!