Author Topic: Backyard critters  (Read 17671 times)

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Offline tomterp

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Backyard critters
« Topic Start: May 30, 2007, 09:42:56 PM »
During the Nats game tonight, my next door neighbor knocked on my door, with a large kitchen trash can.  I knew at once he had a critter for me!  We share our most interesting critter findings, one of the joys of Oakton suburbia.  He was mowing a little patch of grass that is next to his driveway, but actually on my property, when he discovered and apprehended this fine specimen.

Anybody got an ID?

[attachment deleted by admin]

Offline 2k6nats

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1: May 30, 2007, 09:48:21 PM »
That's a cute snake.

Wow, I never thought I would use those words together in a sentence :?

Offline The Chief

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #2: May 30, 2007, 09:55:45 PM »
Wow, cool catch.  Unfortunately I can't tell you what kind it is.

Offline CALSGR8

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #3: May 30, 2007, 09:55:59 PM »
I don't know.  Copperhead?  Look up Snakes on the web.

Yep, looks like this one:  http://www.britannica.com/eb/art-4979?articleTypeId=1

 :shock:  Stay away from that thing! :nono:

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #4: May 30, 2007, 09:56:12 PM »
Sorry the picture's about a foot wide by a foot tall.  Not sure how that happened.

Now that we've established that it's a cute snake, care to guess the variety?

Offline 2k6nats

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #5: May 30, 2007, 09:56:56 PM »
Could it just be a regular Garter snake?

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #6: May 30, 2007, 09:58:50 PM »
I don't know.  Copperhead?  Look up Snakes on the web.

Yes, it's a copperhead.  My neighbor (father of 3 small kids) was gracious enough to capture it so we don't have to worry about what we know.  (of course, how many more are on our lot?)

He's going to release it tomorrow down in a nearby woods.  I've seen a number of them in my outdoor travels, but this is the first on my own property.  Note the distinctive triangular shaped head, and the coiled posture.  Both key identifying marks.

Offline kimnat

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #7: May 30, 2007, 10:03:38 PM »
ahhhhhhhhhhh!  Tom!!!!!!!!  I almost jumped out of my seat!!!!!  I HATE SNAKES!  Now I've got the heebie jeebies!!!

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #8: May 30, 2007, 10:05:48 PM »
Here's a wikipedia picture of a copperhead.  I find the very muted colors of mine to be much more typical of ones I've seen in the DC area, versus the brighter colors of this one.  Maybe it's the lighting or something.


Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #9: May 30, 2007, 10:10:03 PM »
Could it just be a regular Garter snake?


I used to keep a garter snake as a pet (Squiggles).  Here's a picture of one of those:


Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #10: May 30, 2007, 10:12:16 PM »
ahhhhhhhhhhh!  Tom!!!!!!!!  I almost jumped out of my seat!!!!!  I HATE SNAKES!  Now I've got the heebie jeebies!!!

Kim, I've seen these along the Potomac river near DC, and they are certain to live within the city itself in wooded areas, like near Oxon Run, Rock Creek or even along the river by RFK.  And even in the suburbs of Fairfax, to be honest with you...    :shock:

Offline NatsAddict

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #11: May 31, 2007, 06:49:22 AM »
When we first moved to FL, I went swimming in the pool late one night.  I saw a palm frond in the pool an swam over and grabbed it to throw it out.  Only thing, it was a snake.  Walking on water isn't such a big deal.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #12: May 31, 2007, 08:53:33 AM »
When we first moved to FL, I went swimming in the pool late one night.  I saw a palm frond in the pool an swam over and grabbed it to throw it out.  Only thing, it was a snake.  Walking on water isn't such a big deal.

Florida is loaded with deadly serpents - cottonmouth moccasins, rattlesnakes and copperheads.  Of the three, copperheads are the least risk, but you still wouldn't want to get bit, as they can cause serious permanent injury (nerve damage) and they pose a geniune risk to life of a child or old person.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #13: May 31, 2007, 09:56:10 AM »
My family was stationed in SE Asia when I was a kid, and I loved (and still love) snakes...it's amazing my mom didn't have a heart attack every time I'd come into the house with something writhing about in my herp bag (considering how many of the snakes there are poisonous, odds were pretty good that it would be a cobra, green pit viper, banded krait, or something of similar toxicity).  People freak out about these snakes, but they don't want anything to do with us...just watch where you walk at dusk and don't go rooting around in dark places without giving a poke with a stick first, and you'll be fine. 

That said, when the annual monsoon floods happened, there were snakes swimming around pretty much everywhere, but meh, that's a week a year  :D

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #14: May 31, 2007, 10:05:45 AM »
My family was stationed in SE Asia when I was a kid, and I loved (and still love) snakes...it's amazing my mom didn't have a heart attack every time I'd come into the house with something writhing about in my herp bag (considering how many of the snakes there are poisonous, odds were pretty good that it would be a cobra, green pit viper, banded krait, or something of similar toxicity).  People freak out about these snakes, but they don't want anything to do with us...just watch where you walk at dusk and don't go rooting around in dark places without giving a poke with a stick first, and you'll be fine. 

That said, when the annual monsoon floods happened, there were snakes swimming around pretty much everywhere, but meh, that's a week a year  :D

Now that's some real danger.  Thousands are killed in Asia each year from the bite of venomous snakes, vs. just a handful in the U.S. 

Just two weeks ago, my brother and his son were exploring in WV along the Cacapon River, and his son nearly stepped on a small timber rattlesnake.  Those used to be native to the DC area, but are likely no longer in this area.  Snakes that rattle tend to get shot.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #15: May 31, 2007, 10:16:58 AM »
Wow, a rattler in WV...I have never seen one east of the Mississippi.

There's a "snake farm" in Bangkok where they collect venom by "milking" the snakes, which is then used to prepare the vaccines that are kept in refrigerators in hospitals and zoos all over the world.  You can watch them do this...it's worth a visit if you are ever in Bangkok. 

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #16: May 31, 2007, 10:30:05 AM »
Wow, a rattler in WV...I have never seen one east of the Mississippi.

I've yet to see one in the wild, but they are common in the mountains, and in densely forested coastal plains areas along the east coast.  Eastern Diamondbacks are now rare, but timber rattlers and canebrake rattlers (in the coastal areas) are somewhat common.  About 5 years ago, we had a severe drought in the summer, and at nearby Cacapon State Park (golfers would know about this park) they closed parts of the park due to a nasty infestation of rattlers along the stream bed area.  In a drought, small animals migrate to available water, and the rattlers follow them and setup ambush areas along the stream beds. 

So if you want to see rattlesnakes in the wild, one strategy is to hike up the middle of small creek or stream beds in the heat of a dry summer, but do so carefully.

Offline natsfan1a

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #17: May 31, 2007, 10:37:03 AM »
We back to parkland and have also had a copperhead in our yard (among other reptiles). We also seem to be running a box turtle ranch of sorts. They nest here and we've had numerous half-dollar-sized ones ambling around our yard. We've also had many kinds of mammals passing through. I keep a yard/neighborhood list of birds and have also kept track of other critters over the years.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #18: May 31, 2007, 11:13:53 AM »
I keep a yard/neighborhood list of birds and have also kept track of other critters over the years.

I keep a little log of critters too.  So far in the snake dept, in descending order of quantity, we have black rat, worm, garter, northern ringneck, green, and copperhead.  The green, unfortunately, met his untimely demise from my lawn mower.

Offline natsfan1a

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #19: May 31, 2007, 12:35:58 PM »
We've had all of those, too. At the stream downhill from our house we've seen watersnakes. My husband patrols the lawn before moving but we have had an unfortunate incident with a garter snake. Also, one day last summer he was chatting with a couple of neighbors when they heard a strange rattling noise coming from our (outside) air conditioner condensor unit. It turned out to be a snake that somehow got sucked into the fan on top of the unit. We thought it might have been a young rat snake but it was hard to tell due to the small pieces (eeewww).

I keep a little log of critters too.  So far in the snake dept, in descending order of quantity, we have black rat, worm, garter, northern ringneck, green, and copperhead.  The green, unfortunately, met his untimely demise from my lawn mower.

Offline NatsAddict

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #20: May 31, 2007, 01:18:26 PM »
Florida is loaded with deadly serpents - cottonmouth moccasins, rattlesnakes and copperheads.  Of the three, copperheads are the least risk, but you still wouldn't want to get bit, as they can cause serious permanent injury (nerve damage) and they pose a geniune risk to life of a child or old person.


The cottonmouths are really aggressive.  My neighbor called me last week to come and get the snake her cat was playing with on her patio (her husband wasn't home).  I took it to the nature preserve, and they confirmed is was a coral snake.  They're really nasty, but about the only place they can get you is the webbing between you thumb and index finger.

We also have a big problem with people getting pet pythons, and then letting them got in the everglades when they get too big.  This python swallowed a six-foot alligator whole, and then exploded:



You know it's getting bad when the gators are no longer at the top of the everglades food chain.


Online nats2playoffs

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #21: May 31, 2007, 11:23:35 PM »
You know it's getting bad when the gators are no longer at the top of the everglades food chain.


Which is EXACTLY how Yankees fans think about their team.


Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #22: September 13, 2008, 10:49:35 PM »
Three people have been bitten by copperheads in the last two weeks in Md.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091203793.html

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #23: September 15, 2008, 08:29:26 AM »
Here's a wikipedia picture of a copperhead.  I find the very muted colors of mine to be much more typical of ones I've seen in the DC area, versus the brighter colors of this one.  Maybe it's the lighting or something.

(Image removed from quote.)


When in AL visiting the in-laws, my father in-law took me golfing at the "Peninsula Club" and we were "paired up with a father and his son from Louisiana.  I'll never forget driving down the cart path and my father in-law jumps asks me to stop the cart.  He said, "that one looks like a 7-iron."  I was confused as we were still about 100 yards or so from his ball, but he jumps out of the cart, grabs his seven iron and starts running for the fairway.  He starts swinging wildly in a bludgeoning motion and the next thing I see is this snake trying desperately to escape, but alas, it was futile.  The other guy gets out of his cart and goes over to assess the damage and said that it was a copperhead (my father in-law has killed a bunch of them in his yard in AL). 

I'll never forget what the other guy said:  "there's just no need for poisonous snakes in this world.  It's not what God intended." 

If there is a such thing as reincarnation, he better not hope to come back as a copperhead while my father in-law is still alive.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #24: September 15, 2008, 08:31:08 AM »
I'll never forget what the other guy said:  "there's just no need for poisonous snakes in this world.  It's not what God intended." 

That's messed up thinking.