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Old Oct 6, 2003, 11:28 PM   #31
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Jim, just for your peace of mind, both the snakes were non-poisonous. There are only 4 snakes in our region that are poisonous: Cottonmouth, Rattlesnake, Copperhead, and the Coral Snake.

The first three are pit vipers, and are easily identified by a large triangular heads and very narrow necks. For these three snakes, the pupils of their eyes appear as slits instead of being round.

The Coral Snake is red, black, and yellow, and is often confused with the Scarlet King Snake, which is harmless. The way to tell these two apart is that a Coral Snake has red and yellow bands that touch each other. A saying that will help you to remember this is, "Red touch yellow, kill a fellow; red touch black, good for Jack!" Incidentally, both of these snakes have round pupils.

The advice about not killing snakes is very good, in that they are designed by God to keep down our rodent population. My input on the issue of killing snakes is that if it is a poisonous snake that may injure your family or pets, God has granted you the right to exercise dominion over it!
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Old Oct 7, 2003, 9:03 AM   #32
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Well -- I got a lot of criticism over my actions -- especially at the forum thread on dpreview.com. We now know that the snakes appear to be part of the genus Stororia dekayi

See this thread at dpreview.com:


I can only say that we were afraid -- they appeared to be poisonous to my neighbor. I can still remember the shear terror in my wife's eyes (after she screamed and the neighbor came running, too).

Looking at the snakes (especially the larger one), with my neigbor yelling, "that's poisonous, I can tell by the snape of it's head and body"

I trusted his judgement (since I knew nothing about snakes).

I've seen snakes before too, and somewhere else (for example, out in the woods), I would have just avoided them.

We took no pleasure in our actions. My neighbor and I were both terrified -- and thought we were literally risking being bitten by poisonous snakes by the actions we were taking.

It's easy to judge from a distance. Some of the posters appear to be familiar with many snake species, but I was not. They looked very dangerous to us.

These snakes were not in the wild, but in my home. If they would have been poisonous, and we would have just ignored them, they could have gone even further into our home, and would have placed our families at even greater risk. In our minds, leaving them alone was not an option.

We didn't want to do what we did, we were only trying to protect our faimilies -- especially since there are many children in the neighborhood.

As I've explained before, when the first snake was spotted (outside of my home, about a week earlier by my next door neighbor), I even called the Police. They said that Animal Control did not come out for snakes, and to use a shovel. I never saw the first snake, and my neigbhor didn't get a good look at it either (only describing it as been large, and appearing to go under a slab of concrete, next to the side door of my garage).

The first one was outside of my home. These were not.

What was I supposed to do? Should we have risked snakes (that my neighbor seemed certain were poisonous) -- getting away, or hiding further in our home?

If you were in my shoes, under the same circumstances, with my knowledge of reptiles, you would have done the same thing to protect your family.

These snakes were inside of the Garage, which is part of our living area -- where they could have easily gone further in (through ducts, etc.):

My wife was actually so scared over this incident, she went to stay with relatives for the weekend.

For those that have criticized my action (mostly on the dpreview.com forum), I can only say that we were afraid -- they appeared to be poisonous to my neighbor. I trusted his judgement (since I knew nothing about snakes).

In the future, I'll know better. I'll learn more about the snake species in this area.

In this situation, without knowing for sure, we took the only action we thought was safe for our families.

This is my home, the snakes were in the Garage -- behind a toolbox, within two feet where I would normally step out of my car -- right by the entrance to my main living area, and within a few feet where we go every day (to the freezer, etc. in the garage).

Dale Carnegie once said "there but by the grace of God go I".

As I told some of the users on dpreview.com, unless you were in our shoes, with our knowledge, you don't know what you would have done.

Here is our home in Marietta, GA -- the snakes were inside of the Garage, within a couple of feet of where we step out of our car (on the side closer to the rest of the home:

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Old Oct 7, 2003, 9:08 AM   #33
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P.S. -- we now think we know where they're coming from, too.

Yesterday morning, I heard a lot of noise coming from behind my home. I went out on my upstairs back deck, and saw a bulldozer in the woods -- about 150 yards from the back of our property -- clearing the land (trees being knocked down, etc.).

We've lived here since 1992, and always assumed that this area would not be developed (it is supposed to be a flood plain).

But, they are apparently clearing it now. So, the wildlife (including snakes), is probably trying to escape from the land being cleared, and our yard is the closest place to escape to.
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Old Oct 7, 2003, 10:30 AM   #34
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Makes you wonder if it still is a floodplain and they are just getting away with it. Many builders will push the limits of the law to build more than they are supposed to (around here one nation wide chain was known for building closer to the property edge than they were allow to, and closer to wet lands than they were allowed to.)

Doesn't hurt to check with the town to see if what they are doing is on the up-and-up.

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Old Oct 7, 2003, 12:17 PM   #35
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My nextdoor neighbor is pretty upset about it, too.

They've now got a newly installed fence (for lack of a better term). It's orange plastic/vinyl. They're bulldozing everything behind it (away from our property). Lots of woods.

The problem is that during storms, rain runs through one side of his property (from the higher ground above), into the wooded area behind his home.

The fence runs much closer to the end of his backyard, than it does mine (it's at an angle -- starting close to my next door neighbor's backyard, then moving away from my backyard at an angle. It's the way my property line works, behind my home. They're bulldozing all the way to it.

Maybe the neighborhood should try to pool some resources and hire an attorney to look into it.

I'll suggest it to him.
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Old Oct 7, 2003, 2:45 PM   #36
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Why not call the Humane Society and get them to come pick the dead snakes up (i wouldn't let on to killing them though..possible fine).
Here in Canada they look after things like that and i'm sure they could tell ya what kind they are and if they are poisonous or not
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Old Oct 7, 2003, 3:15 PM   #37
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up hear in massachusetts the common variety of the brown dekay snake maybe gets to be a foot long. they are very interesting when they are threatened. they flatten out and look about 3 times wider than they are and if provoked will strike but, their mouths are too small to do any harm to humans. when they flatten out the white beneath their scales shows and they look like they are banded.

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Old Oct 7, 2003, 3:34 PM   #38
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Mine were larger. The smaller one (recovered from the yard) is around 15 inches in length. The larger one appears to be about twice as large.
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Old Oct 8, 2003, 3:07 AM   #39
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hey there Jim.

this snake is a (Nerodia cyclopion) aka Northern Banded Water Snake .

its not venomous but is mistaken quite often to be the copperhead pit viper.

memorise what they look like so that next time they wont have to die.
im sure there r some snake keepers in ur area that will come and remove them or something next time.

but hey, we would have all done the same if we were unsure of what snake it is.
better safe than sorry right.
take care.
hope i helped a bit.
cheers for now.
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