Sunday, February 24, 2008

Now Don't Go Getting Hissterical

“Even snakes are afraid of snakes.” ~Steven Wright

“Of the 2,400 species of snakes, some 270 species have venom that is harmful, but not necessarily fatal, to humans. ... However, experiments have demonstrated that people from all corners of the planet have adverse physiological responses to sudden sightings of snakes.” ~Sharon Lovejoy

“I'm not about to go out and buy a snake for a pet. I mean, I may have faced a few fears but I'm not insane.” ~Kristin Davis

“We found a baby snake when we moved the basketball goal. It looks like he has a little rattle!”

We’ve always gone barefoot in the yard, so that’s not really what you want to hear. Fortunately, after some research, we have concluded that our new friend, “Rougher” as the kids call him, is completely harmless - unless you’re an earthworm, snail, or slug - and he isn't a baby. His tail end was smushed at some point in his life (what is it with us and wounded creatures!!?) and it does resemble some sort of rattle. I can see why they would have been concerned.

Rougher is a Rough Earth Snake (Virginia striatuala). They live primarily in the Southeast United States and prefer the fine dining to be had in the Slimy Vittles Café, as previously alluded to. They are non-venomous and do not bite. The little dude is FAST!! The kids had to talk me into taking him out of his box, and I relented under the condition that they would do it over the bathtub.

Rough Earth Snakes, curiously, burrow underground and are frequently mistaken for worms. Here is a photo of Rougher … playing Hide ‘n Snake with the earthworms. Can you find him? (You can click on the photograph for a closer view. At the bottom of the post is a labeled picture pointing him out.)

Here are a few more pictures of our precious little Rougher. We put some earthworms in his box, and he did try to eat them, but alas … they are bigger than he is. Little guy needs some teeth, I guess - or smaller prey. It was hilarious watching him try to see if he could best them, though. He’s very determined!

Rougher is about 8” long. (They are typically 7-12 inches.) The kids have decided they really want to keep him, but we shall see how long that lasts. I don't really mind - he's pretty fascinating - but, I imagine the novelty will wear off fairly soon. He's not very cuddly.

The kids took him to school on Thursday where he was quite the hit! A couple boys offered to adopt him. Who would have ever thought we would become experts on a species we’d never heard of before? *grin*

OK, so here is the Hide 'n Snake picture again. The parts indicated are just to the left of the words. Sneaky little guy, eh?


  1. Ah ha! I knew you were going to end up keeping that guy! May Rougher Bowers live long and find food his size!

  2. If Rougher finds food his size, he probably will live long. Otherwise ... well, ...


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