Monday, November 14, 2011

Cottonmouth - my arse


I'm always skeptical about those warning signs at nature reserves and the like about bears, mountain lions or escaped T Rexes. Do people ever see these bad creatures I wonder or do the men and women in funny hats just like to scare us?

I have become a bit less skeptical ,though. The first and only time I was in the Everglades at an infernally hot place called Shark something-or-other I asked the warden if we'd see alligators. She shot me one of those "dumb tourist" looks that Brits in London usually reserve for Americans (maybe she had been on the wrong end of this) and informed me it was (obviously) highly unlikely that I'd see one.



We stepped out of the visitor center and peered into a murky pond only to see four reptilian eyes staring at us. Yes there were two gators right there behind the visitor center.

Last week on the day Zara was off school we went to Back Bay in Virginia Beach. It was a gorgeous fall day and the water was glittering a deep azure. The only serpent in our paradise was - well literally that. A prominent sign warned of the presence of deadly cottonmouth snakes. There were also signs about poison ivy, although I was somewhat less concerned about the ivy than the snake and I made sure to watch the path ahead.



The trail led us to a small secluded beach and then back again to the asphalt path, which we set off along. Suddenly Zara drew my attention to something I was about to stand on. I did a double take and thought it was an old tire; then again I started to realise it was a dead snake. Then it moved.

Rather alarmingly the aforementioned deadly snake was right in front of me and it seemed none too happy, opening its white mouth in a menacing way. This was clearly not the time to do a Steve Irwin and wrap the old chap round my neck before heading merrily for the beach.



We beat a retreat but I returned to take a photo of the thing. As you can see I didn't get too close which is why the photo is rather uninspiring. But it was more than close enough for comfort.

We continued to the beach where, Zara did her best to destroy a sensitive coastal ecosystem. I could have yelled at her to get off the dunes but it was such a perfect afternoon I didn't have the heart too. If the truth be told it brought back memories of how much liked to jump around and slither on dunes when I was seven years old or thereabouts.








17 comments:

  1. "Zara did her best to destroy a sensitive coastal ecosystem." She sounds and looks to be the perfect child. You two stayed very calm in the face of a snake ready to bite, even returning to the scene (sort of). I would've been in a different time-zone within minutes.

    These are great pictures, David. I especially like this last one.
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
  2. I detest snakes and would've been exit-stage left immediately!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Omg I would have fainted right there on the spot. And then the snake would have ate me. :S

    You're brave, David.

    I love the last photo. It is quite spectacular.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That would have been much too close for comfort for me to go back and take that snake's picture. Nice that it smiled for you. haha! Love the picture of the beach. Sounds like your daughter had a great time. I'm sure she will remember the time spent with you there for years to come. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I detest snakes and alligators. They're all over water-logged South Louisiana. That woman in Florida was pulling your leg. And that snake was a serious encounter - Yipes! But your photos are gorgeous. Mother Nature knows how to throw a party! I like that your daughter had fun being a kid!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Remember: They're more afraid of you than you are of it! Unless it's a black mamba. They are not afraid of anything. Interesting snake factoid! :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. My kids do the same with dunes, usually with a beach towel tied around their necks like a cape. They like the way it flows out when they jump in a dashing and super-hero type way.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a beautiful place.

    Nothing scary in MN. Accept winter, perhaps. And there are plenty of signs...

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. such a lovely place!

    zara is so adorable and beautiful! love the way she's posed for you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great post, photos, the lot really. I have been confronted by an Adder in Reading and it did not go down well - exit stage left being watched by a rather bemused snake. I'm glad you let your daughter play in the sand dunes to her hearts content. That's the sort of memory that lasts a lifetime.

    ReplyDelete
  12. thanx so much Robyn - I know Scots Lass , this one was kinda aggressive. Thanks Jennifer, probably shouldn't have gone there with the camera. Thanks Daisy, was a nice day out.

    ReplyDelete
  13. oh wow Kittie - you are not in the best place for someone who hates snakes. Thanks for he factoid Anna - well I hope not to encounter a black mamba. for real Sarah, sand dune jumping is fun.

    ReplyDelete
  14. thanks Pearl - it was nice. Cheers Betty. thanx so much Ash. Cheers Abi, wow I did not know Adders hung out in Reading as I probably only saw one dangerous snake in all my time in the UK

    ReplyDelete
  15. Beautiful shots, but hmmm, a bit risky going back for the snake photo. They can move pretty quickly.

    My grandparents lived in Florida and had a gator which cruised the river in back of their house. Also, we were touring a battleship a few years ago (is it in North Carolina or South?) when I looked over the side and spotted a gator swimming along the bank.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks Li -oh they can? It could have been Wilmington,NC. There's a battleship there.

    ReplyDelete