i despise having to kill a snake but when a Coral Snake is feet away from my house/garden...it has to go.
i've killed two this week.
remember to wear gloves and boots, especially in mulched areas. this snake is nothing to fool around with. they are secretive and don't want a confrontation...they want to get away from you but if you accidently step on one or are digging in the dirt/mulch, they will bite.
for newcomers to florida, the Coral Snake has a BLACK, blunt, round nose like a earthworm. "nose black, get back" the coloration on the body goes all the way around, no white belly and the yellow & red touch each other. "red and yellow, kill a fellow". there are several snakes which have similar coloration but are not venomous.
if you can, keep your head and determine if what you see is a Coral Snake and not a King Snake or Corn Snake.
first pic is right side up and second pic is belly up.
ps. wanted to add that a "dead" snake can still bite due to nerve impulses so never handle one of these snakes. use a shovel to pick up and dispose of.
I've never yet had to kill a snake in my yard. Never seen a venomous one yet, thankfully. I'm curious - how did you kill the coral snake? He looks perfectly intact in your picture.
I did have a black snake get entangled in some bird netting that I had put over my lychee tree. He kept diving back through the holes in the netting which were big enough for his head but not the fat part of his body. He wouldn't back up, and I couldn't get him untangled. He died, and I found just the remains in the netting a few days later. I've had possums around so I'm thinking that may have been the scavenger that made a meal of him. Also could have been a bird, I suppose.
those pictures are two different snakes but both killed the same way...with a shovel. i take the shovel and go down almost half way from the head and break the back. i keep pressure on it until i'm sure it's dying and then take the shovel behind the head and do the same thing. the shovel is in the second picture.
that bird netting is a death trap for snakes...and unfortunately it is the good snakes that get caught up in it. a coral snake can climb but it's rare to see and they could go right through most netting. they aren't a big snake.
it is so unfortunate that i made the decision to kill these but because they were in such close proximity to my house and dogs, i really felt i had no choice.
this picture shows the shovel better and most of the snake is underneath.
Yes, on the bird netting, that is absolutely the last time I'm going to use it. Felt terrible about the black snake. Plus the netting discouraged the birds, but the squirrels found their way under it and got most of the fruit anyway.
I rolled the netting up and stashed it away in a plastic tub with a lid, so I can cut little pieces of it to use for my orchids. It's great for tying orchid roots and moss to a wood mount. I have a lifetime supply.
Track - It is funny that you posted this, my sister-in-law and I were trying to remember the rhymes. She is worried that I will reach my hand into my flower bed and find a snake. I did just find a snake skin about 4 ft. long last weekend. I've never seen a coral snake here, but we have had pygmy rattlers in our yard. I always hate to kill anything either, but if it comes down to the snake or my dogs I'm afraid the snake will not be my choice.
I dug into a nest of baby pygmy rattlesnake last spring, cutting one in half - I felt so bad about it, but after reading about the damage they can cause, I felt a bit better. I haven't seen one this year.
Years ago I was mowing sitting on our Gravely mower sulky-ran over a pigmy rattler and didn't know they could strike a short distance. My ankle nearly got it. I turned mower around and he ended up in pieces. Any venomous snake on our place is history. I do have a friendly black snake that is in my garden from time to time. He is OK and he will run off rattlers I'm told. I keep all yard area mowed because of snakes. Have only seen 2 big rattlers here in 42 years and thats enough for me. Shot both of them. One was coiled and rattling on my carport in front of my AC unit. Had to wait for him to move out into yard before I could shoot him. Really un-nerved me. After my knees felt like jelly. I have seen what they can do to dogs and cows and it ain't pretty. Ug just thinking of them.
Yes very venomous snake but a very shy snake with a VERY small mouth. Less then 1 % of venomous snake bites are due to this guy.
I've seen them in wood piles here and just let them alone. From what I understand to make them bite you have to basically force them to do it.
Coral snakes really are very pretty. Few years back we had one INSIDE our screen room...it is now sitting in a jar of alcohol. We have dogs and at the time the grands lived just up the road...snake was way too close for comfort!!! I welcome the black, corn and oak snakes in my yard. Will look for my pic of "Mz. Annie" to post
the fact that they aren't very big around in diameter makes it fairly easy for them to get inside.
they are probably the prettiest snake i've ever seen but there are some very cool king snakes that live in florida that i would love to see up close. some of the coloring is amazing.
no tim, glass snakes are this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_snake they're really a lizard. they are so neat. it's sad when they get on a hard surface though (like a road). they can't move then. if i see a live one, i help it to the grass but i see them run over too. since they can't maneuver on hardscape, i can't figure out how they even get on the road in the first place but they do.
i'm not sure what the above snake is, mz. annie. i'll have to check my snake book or ginger will come back and tell us.
best i can tell, mz. annie is a Grey Rat Snake (aka Oak Snake)
coral snakes like to live-in brush piles and thick pine needle straw. Show kids pictures so they can tell the difference from the good and bad snakes. Here is a cute little grass snake aka ribbon snake we found out in the woods.
I'm glad I read this today...a good reminder since I have to go out and pick up a lot of my plastic container pots to take to the nursery. I'll make sure to put on rubber boots and wear long leather gloves.
We have a couple of black snakes around the yard but I haven't seen them for awhile. I know my back neighbor has grandkids she watches and she told me any snake in her yard will meet with the shovel. We haven't seen our snakes around for a few weeks now...so she may have killed them. You just can't seem to get it through to some people that there are good snakes. I'd rather have those snakes around than the rat I've seen late at night.
I certainly agree with that sunkissed! We've seen a couple of rats at night around the mess from the bird feeders. I have 2 Boston Terriers, and one of them got a rat last week. When I see a snake in the garden, I feel that I must be doing something right! A wonderful part of nature. Education is very important!
Thank goodness it wasnt that coral snake, but this a.m. I was talking to my daughter in my bedroom and looked over towards the french doors, what did I spy but a rat snake crawling along the molding and up the glass on the door. Once I realized it was outide not inside, I was elated to see it. Every year we have rats/mice eat thru the screen door, get under the sink on the patio, no matter what we seem to do. I really dont like to be a party to anything eating anything ( having trouble with hawks at the feeder..another story), but if it can at least help me get rid of some of those babies, Im all for it. I left the bedroom tho because I didnt want to see it come back with a big bulge. Too much info.
Sorry, long way of agreeing with the above opinions of knowing your snake.
tracks is right...Mz. Annie is an oak snake. I often see black snakes in the yard as well. Once a hognose AKA puff adder got in the screen room. Got the camera, got a picture, tried for another and the LCD screen fried. Guess that snake just scared the camera to death ROTFLMAO...still takes pics, but no preview.
i'll never forget one time years ago when my then nine yr. old daughter and i were living in arkansas. she was always bringing things home. she was allowed to keep something for three days and then had to turn it loose. so she brings home this snake and she starts screaming that it's choking to death and gets me so worked up and pleading with me to help it and here i am trying to stick my finger down this snake's throat. all of a sudden i stopped and busted out laughing. i could barely breath. it was a hognose of course and was playing dead...and doing a pretty darn good job of it. i had to explain to her to let alone and it would come around and she was fascinated by the whole thing. i was just red-faced...
trackinsand, Again, thanks SO much! I read your post about the hognose, but had never seen or heard of it before. The link has given me great insight to this variety, and it does appear to be a huge variety! This information just reiterates to me how little I know! Time for me to "hit the books" and start learning more about our wildlife! Thanks again!
I've encounter a baby one here. It was not much larger than a pencil but it displayed all the bravado of a larger, older one. This skinny little thing reared up like a cobra and tried to strike at me, this happened several times and when that did not do the trick it rolled over and played dead. It was hysterical.
Snakes, in general, are great to have around...but the venomous ones are the snakes you don't need to feel guilty about getting rid of. My brother's lab was bitten by a pygmy rattler and died. He replaces his dog with another lab, but 3 years later he heard the dog barking in the driveway, and there was another pygmy rattler coiled up. He grabbed the dogs collar to pull it away and take it inside, and the rattler struck and bit his hand. He had "over the allowed quota" of anti-venom, and still almost lost his arm. After a month in the hospital, and an arm the size of the Hindenberg, it finally started to go down. The problem with the swelling is that it isn't water swelling within the tissue, but the actual tissue itself swells. They were just about to cut long slices with scalpels, from armpit to wrist, an inch apart, over and over, to get rid of the swelling and not allow the swollen tissue to explode the arm. Of course, it also would have left him pretty much without the use of one arm. He said the pain, even several years later, was nothing he had ever experienced before in his life (this is the guy who suffered a major heart attack and died several times on the table from it, and finally passed away from total body cancer) but the bite and it's aftermath, was the pain he couldn't forget!
That's NOT the kind of snake I need in my yard! Florida has limited venemous snakes...6 I believe. Coral snakes, rattlers, pygmy rattlers, cottonmouth, copper heads, and 1 more, but off the top of my head I don't remember the other 2.
Boy am I getting a snake education from this thread.
I've never seen a rattler in FL, and we have camped all around the state for well over twenty years. My husband has lived here all his life and said he only has seen one. I have seen coral snakes a few times. I guess I've just been lucky.
I have had so many encounters with other types of snakes though.
Once in the Keys I was taking a late shower in the bath house and looked down and a huge yellow rat snake was all around the perimeter of the shower stall floor, with me in the middle...naked. Not fun. ☺
sunkissed...Honestly the few venemous snakes we have around here don't usually pose too much of a problem With only 6 of them..2 of them are rattlers and make noise, one is brightly colored, and copperheads are mostly in northern Florida. So that takes down the risk, unless you mess with them. Cotton mouth's certainly show themselves, so just leave immediately! They can be aggressive. Most of the time I'm more freaked out by Cuban Tree Frogs and Black Widow spiders! I've only seen one scorpion (alive) and they're creepy too! :)
i'm still laughing over alice's pencil-sized hognose! so funny!
i'm in the "need for education" camp on all things, but especially when it comes to things like snakes, whose pros far outweigh their cons. merrymary is absolutely right about everything she said.
we had lots of scorpions in the keys but i've never seen one here. i'll tell you what i'm more afraid of than snakes (but mostly for my dog's sakes) are the huge two-striped walking sticks. they give me the creeps but the fact that they can spit venom and aim for the eyes makes me jumpy. you can suffer immediate blindness and must wash out the eyes right away or there can be permanent damage. they're either on the ground by the door when i walk out or else climbing the brick and just about eye level with me...
my dog who is the snake killer and totally fearless, will jump two feet straight up if she comes up on one suddenly so i know she's been zapped before (in her former running the roads life).
we are just coming into season on them now. i've seen four but by end of fall, i will have seen at least a hundred. what's weird is that the first four years we lived here, i never saw one. http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/go/301/#b
that's them, scott. the little one on top is the male. coloring seems to be varied. yours looks more brown while mine are almost black with distinctive yellow stripes. they aren't aggressive and move rather slowly. i just watch out this time of year, especially in the garden where they are camouflaged. if they feel threatened, they will spit.
yes, tuned to the weather channel as we speak. last i heard, the storm surge was predicted at about 7' which would mean about 3' in our old house on tavernier. the reef eats up some of it, as you know.
stay safe and keep in touch here, if you can, so we know what's going on down there.
I've never killed ANY snake in my yard venomous or not. Guess what no rat ot mouse problems here at my house on natural wetlands in North Fl.
I do kill grasshoppers thou and sure there is a place in Buddha's reborn hell for me . I just don't understand killing a snake as it may do something to you sometime in the future . I camp , I hike, I garden and I leave them alone and they do the same for me.
I think killing a snake just to do it is wrong . Sorry but think that the talking snake in the bible made people odd and killers.
Geez I love living down here! Just went out and did a bit of recon, the grocery store is mellow as can be with nobody needing to panic buy...they are already prepared. Very few homes have thier shutters down yet, no lines at the gas stations. Had three locals ask if I needed any help getting ready. Talked to a friend in Bonita Springs and she said people are freaking out which is what happens when you don't STAY prepared.
All I really have left to do is set down about 80 hanging baskets but I want to wait til the last minute or the Key Deer will have a feast. I'll keep you posted.
Staying prepared is always the way to go. I always chuckle at the people buying batteries and water at the last minute. Duh, they have been talking about this storm for days... As low as the Lowcountry is, our home would be underwater were a storm to come this way and there are mandatory evacuations. We have 7' tides on a normal day and they are often 9' during the fall moon tides. To avoid the traffic we always get out of dodge long before the official call, we just consider it an unplanned vacation. If the storm turns away, no biggie, we have had a good time with family and friends.
Now I don't want you to think I am suggesting anything but, one of my friends swears by his personal brand of deer repellent. He relieves himself around the plants he does not want the deer to chomp on. With all your neighbors evacuated you could have at it. LOL
I have been known to recycle nutrients by adding a bit of ammoniacal nitrogen to my landscape plants but unfortunately the subspecies of the Virginia Whitetail known as Key Deer (or lovingly refered to as Long Legged Rats when eating my plants or strewing garbage from my freshly knocked over trash cans) are so completely innured to human contact that they can care less.
They laugh at our savage Dachshund when she attempts to protect our gardens. They have figured out the gate code to our 5' chainlink fence and pass it around at secret Key Deer parties. They send in their buddies the iguanas to taste test various botanical species for them. They have learned to munch only the costliest and rarest cultivars, working their way down the horticultural buffet by unerringly and systematically destroying plants...and after 35 years have I learned the lesson to only grow what they don't eat...no, I haven't...sigh.
I've killed two pygmy rattlers this week. With all the rain they are coming up from the wildlife management area that our property backs up to.
With a 5 year old grandson, a Beagle, outdoor cats and some of my riding students are younger kids...I'm not taking any chance.
The first one I spied laying along the edge of one of the flower beds on the coquina rock...they other was inches away from my hand while I was weeding.
Kay, yup looks like you might get a pretty good hit from this.
We may get some rain and pretty breezy so I'll be bringing some of the hanging pots and orchids under cover...but other wise we aren't too worried.
still chuckling over those secret deer parties...
mjs, gotta love those beagles. excessive rain always brings more than just lush greenery in florida-lots of stuff heading for higher ground.
depending on where your property is, i'd say a ride to atlanta sounds good but then sometimes you end up driving into worse weather that way...wherever you go, plan on staying a few days till it's north of you.
meant to add this picture of our old, long departed, much loved beagle...kopperdabeagle. she was a rescue from a dumpster at kopperman's deli in st.louis. this picture was in the keys. she was after the cat's food that we had in a beagle-proof area. gotta give her credit for trying.
Great beagle picture!! Got those baskets down, somehow their number has swollen from 80 to 103...Humm how did that happen? ;) Just as I got them down on the ground I noticed a freaked out deer running around the yard. The story of my life...but I guess she will have a pre-storm banquet. The dachshunds had to be forced out the door and had no interest in property protection.
The wind is getting gusty with the rainy feeder bands. As Jimmy Buffet said..."time to close the shutters, time to go inside..."
Scott that is too funny about the Key deer...I love the photo. Hope you fare well while this storm blows by you.
Hey Kay we have reservations in a couple weeks at St. Andrews state park...have you ever been there? Meeting up with some of my cooking friends there for an annual gathering. I sure hope these storms don't take aim on you...or reach that Cat 2 status.
I guess I should go out and take down my hanging plants and wind-chimes. put the umbrellas in the shed...but a part of me says don't worry about it. I'll wait until I see if the wind picks up...calm as can be here.
Hope everyone stays safe while this thing blows on by...I just heard a transformer blow...weird because we don't have any wind yet. My poor cats hit the ceiling...we still have Internet and lights...so I'm good.
i read that the Buttonwood (a Mangrove cousin) is designed to break limbs during storms so that the main trunk stays intact. it must be true. every storm we had, the Buttonwood branches would fall like rain.
looks like Big Pine had its share of wind. we had two rain bands, one with some gusty wind but no big shakes. i guess we'll get more tonight. hope the keys will be out of it soon.
I agree track, as of now…We in the Northeast corner have had 1 band come through, but supposed to be expecting many more , Mon.- Wed. Good thoughts heading down to all of you South! And West! Stay Safe All!
trackinsand wrote:meant to add this picture of our old, long departed, much loved beagle...kopperdabeagle. she was a rescue from a dumpster at kopperman's deli in st.louis. this picture was in the keys. she was after the cat's food that we had in a beagle-proof area. gotta give her credit for trying.
What a sweet looking dog ! Even tho he's not mine I'd miss em too !
Not much going on here either. A few drops and a tad of gusts...nothing to write home about. The dogs aren't even freaked out...they usually do when bad weather is headed this way. Hopeing for rain, but the wind can STAY AWAY.
Isaac was kind of a nonevent with a high wind gust of 70 offsore of Key West. Only about 3" of rain here.
Some folks complain when a storm turns out to be less than the hype that surrounds it. They feel that all the work they do in preparing was for naught. I on the other hand have been prepping for these things for 35 years and love it when the storms is a small one. This allows me to find the holes in my plan.
For instance I found that the garage door kept creeping back up in the wind and we couldn't find the key to lock it. Several shutters were stubborn to close even though the were worked over in May. Living on the open saltwater is tough on equipment.
Good luck to all the DG northern Gulfcoast folks. Make your preps now...its never a waste of time.
i'm glad to hear you say that, scott.
i always prepared when a threat was coming, even though more than half the time it ended up being for naught. i just counted myself lucky during those times.
i hope everyone heeds your good advice and i hope you find that elusive key!
An Alert just came…Sounds like we in NE. Fl. are about to get slammed. Could this be the trailing end of Isaac for us? Sure hope so. They are alerting of possible tornadoes. Hard to believe…The sun is bright at the moment!
So glad we weathered the storm and were lucky. I agree with Scott, I hate to hear people comment that they prepared for nothing. I would much rather prepare for nothing than to not be prepared and get a surprise. I think NOAA and the hurricane hunters are so afraid of having another Charlie or Katrina that they would much rather us be warned.
Louisiana sure is a wretched mess this morning - be glad you 'prepared for nothing' - it could have easily landed on us. Please pray for all those folks in Isaac's path - they are really getting beaten up by this storm.
"wretched mess" sure sums it up.
all those people in towns along the mouth of the M. river with only dirt levees for protection...why didn't they evacuate? now they're on their rooftops waiting for rescue.
Deb, they didn't evacuate because they had to place to evacuate to and no way to get there. IMHO, since it is such a poverty-stricken area, the Federal Government should shoulder the responsibility of helping these folks evacuate - instead, they shut down all bridges and public transportation - way to go, F.G.!!!!!
i don't want to get political on this thread...it's been too good so far and i would hate to see it yanked. i will say that the federal government can't and shouldn't be expected to do everything for everyone. the local departments and the neighbor helping neighbor system works the best and i've heard this before about people having nowhere to go and no one to help them. i'm sorry. i just don't believe that. if it is true, then shame on the local authorities and the local residents for not responding to the plight of their less fortunate neighbors ahead of time.
Red Touch Yellow, Kills a Fellow. Red Touch Black, Friend of Jack.
09.18.2008 - Many people have heard this rhyme for snake identification, even though very few people will ever encounter any of the snake species involved. For some reason, it's simply a popular rhyme, and people seem to remember the idea that there's some rhymey phrase out there to help distinguish between venomous snakes and safe ones. The snakes in question are the venomous Coral Snake, and a number of copycats, such as the Scarlet King Snake and the Florida Scarlet Snake. Oftentimes in nature, a species will mimic the appearance of a dangerous species, for protection. One such example is the Viceroy Butterfly, which looks very similar to a Monarch Butterfly. The Monarch is poisonous and tastes bad, so the Viceroys that look more like Monarchs don't get eaten, and thus the species evolved to look like the monarch. This is called Batesian Mimicry. The same goes for several snake species. Animals know to stay away from the venomous Coral Snake, so a similar color pattern has helped other snake species survive.
There's one little glitch, however. Though the mimic snakes have a similar size and shape, and the same Red-Black-Yellow color scheme, the order of the pattern is off. For some reason, most of the mimics, which probably started out as striped snakes of a kind, have black bands every other color. The coral snake is the only one that has alternating yellow bands. Thus, with the Coral snake, the red band touches the yellow band, and with the mimics, the red band touches the black band. In order to help folk remember, a man named "Fat" Jack Loticus developed the rhyme in 1862. There are a few different variations shown below, and the first is the original, and the others are variations popular in different regions of the country:
Red touches yellow, kills a fellow. Red touches black, friend of Jack
Red touch yellow, kills a fellow. Red touch black, venom lack.
Red touch yellow, death says hello. Black touch red, keep your head.
Yellow touch red, you be dead. Red touch black, eat Cracker Jack.
Red and yellow mingle, bite feel a tingle. Red and black hug, sing a song, you lug.
Red and yellow cohabitate, soon you will suffocate. Red and black together, in for sunny weather.
Red leans on yellow, legs turn to jell-o. Red leans on black, keep a strong back.
Yellow brushes red, snake gets fed. Red brushes black, snake gets no snack.
Snake of black and yellow and red, soon a stupid rhyme is said.
I learned the rhyme in 7th grade from my biology teacher. He told me the original version by Jack Loticus. However, I've been involved in nuisance wildlife trapping and snake control for many years, and I have heard all of the above regional variations at one time or another. I suspect that even more exist. The great irony of these mnemonic devices for snake memory is that some people discover a snake, and during the time they take to carefully jog their memory for the correct rhyme, the snake has often bitten and slithered off, leaving the person standing with furrowed brow, his fate already sealed.
Of course, the ability to simply identify a snake on sight, without the use of silly rhymes, is a better approach, so just study the appearance of the Coral Snake seen above, and you'll recognize it if you see it. Many people also know to look for the black nose, which the mimic snakes lack. However, the real best approach when discovering an unknown snake is to simply leave it alone. Virtually all cases of snakebite occur when people attempt to capture or kill snakes. The Coral Snake in particular is very shy and reclusive, and it has no intention of biting. In fact, it has a tiny mouth and small fangs, and you have to be pretty careless to get envenomated. So I propose a new rhyme: "Just leave snakes alone, chappy, and everybody goes home happy".
The black nose is the easiest thing to remember, the rhymes confuse people all the time. I also remember it by the traffic light warning colors (red and yellow) If they are touching on the snake, WARNING!