Several years ago I got all in a panic because of the seemingly excessive amount of snakes we saw at our family’s Cousin’s Camp – affectionately known as Camp Pigeon Roost. I did what any self respecting person does when they are all in a tizzy – I took to Twitter.
I posted videos and pictures of the snakes – incredulous that I’d seen so many. David Steen, a PhD, Twitter Snake Expert, and Biology professor at Auburn (ahem…War Eagle) responded very nonchalantly. He basically said ‘yeah, you saw snakes in the woods. Big deal. Snakes live in the woods.’
Excuse me Mr Fancy Pants Doctor, but I’m panicking over here in Cullman County, Alabama and need everyone else to be panicking too. I kept at him ‘but there are SO many this year!’ Again, with that annoying calm, he responded with ‘they’ve always been there. You just happen to be seeing them this year.’
‘But should we kill them?’ No. ‘Not even if they’re poisonous?’ Nope. Dude was way to chill about the whole crazy snakecapades we were experiencing. I’m telling you they were true SNAKESCAPADES! It was Snakes on a Plane! Except, near a cabin, in the woods.
After the Snakeapolypse I began to follow Doctor Steen on Twitter. Basically, it all comes down to this. The majority of time people get bitten because they are being reckless – not because snakes are out to get us. Following him gave me a deep appreciation for snakes. Heck, I go looking for them now.
Enter a local herpetologist that agreed to take us…uh…herping in March. I just knew that Stella, the six year old, was going to be SO into it. She loves looking for snakes with me and is zero percent afraid of them. She loves to hunt for them with me!
Well, there were trees to climb.
And flowers to pick.
And, in case you haven’t been in the woods with a six year old lately, there was lots and lots of ‘NOT being quiet so we didn’t scare the snakes’ going around.
Even though it was early in the season we did find one little guy sunning himself amongst the rocks.
Dang it, kid, I’m pretty sure Dr Steen would say no poking it with a stick. Sheesh, what kind of show are we running around here.
So, did she learn a ton about snakes that day? Uh, no…she didn’t. But maybe at this age herping is more about just being comfortable in the wild.
And trust me, she’s got that covered.