Too Close for Comfort???

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A few posts ago, I wrote about my progress turning my backyard into a virtual aviary. My wife and I sit in our lanai in the morning, drink some coffee, and watch the various birds feed to their hearts content. Those of you who follow this blog know how much I love and respect Nature.

Last week, I relocated three nonvenomous snakes enjoying our yard. Two were Southern Ribbon snakes, and one was a Garter snake. All three were harmless, although all snakes bite and infection can set in rather quickly, if the wounds are not tended to immediately.

Yesterday, this little beauty (shown above) joined the fun. This Cottonmouth was not easily relocated. Had the dogs not sounded the alarm, no one would have noticed the unfriendly serpent. He was venomous, indeed. In fact, the venom was dripping from his fangs.

Now, here is the ongoing debate. My friends, neighbors, and family members are always in favor of eliminating venomous snakes. I prefer relocation into the wild. I don't mess with Nature, so if necessary, I would call Animal Control. However, killing a snake for being a snake does not sit right with me.

What exactly would you do?

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Comments

  1. I see your dilemma. Same prob here with the deer. The town is so over run with them that sharp shooters actually come into town and kill them and give the meat to foodshare. The same ones hang around a certain neighborhood and one gets used to them, in spite of the fact they are a pest. So what to do.... I don't know.

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    1. Manzie: I understand completely. At least deer can feed people, and they don't usually harm humans. It is hard for me to convince anyone that a venomous snake should be spared. I don't try to convince them, but everyone has a firm opinion on the matter.

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  2. You should relocate it. I would kill it. I respect nature, but in my feeling, I am also part of nature and it is my instinct to destroy threats to my well being and that of my family.

    I do not hunt, but I do eat what others hunt or raise.
    Anyway, if I were you I would capture and relocate the snake, but personally I would kill it.

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    1. joeh: It is a tough decision. Relocation works, if possible. I wouldn't attempt to confront a ten-foot Diamondback, but smaller snakes are around all the time in Florida. In fact, we like the Black Racers because they keep the Rattlers away and don't bother humans.

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  3. Not sure that meant any sense.

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  4. what if that snake had bitten a loved one? I would have no problem killing it... however, if it was just traveling thru my yard, I'd let it be. Its my 'mama' instinct that comes in play if a friend/loved one is harmed, an enemy, well, that's different- live on snake!.

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    1. KBF: That's why it needed to be relocated. I would never just let it go to run free on my property to prey on my family, because it was venomous. On the other hand, most snake bites are the result of human attempts to kill the animals. They leave you alone if you don't mess with them. With real dangerous ones, I would call animal control before I would attempt to kill it.

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  5. Ordinarily, we don't bother the critters we find in the wild. (I've outgrown my skink tail-snapping phase by multiple decades.) However, there was one exception. When in a park crawling with children, I spotted a copperhead in the grass. I pointed it out to my husband, and he very quietly dispatched it to copperhead heaven. We figured, with so many little children around, it wasn't worth taking a chance with their safety. Shortly thereafter, we found out that he could have been fined for killing it. It's against the law in Georgia to kill a snake that's minding its own business. (But what if its business is biting a KID...?)

    To be honest, I don't know what I would have done in your position. I never bother the (non-venomous) snakes passing through our yard, but I'm not sure how I'd react if that copperhead were in our yard. It seems cruel to kill it just for being a nasty no-good dastardy venomous snake, but on the other hand, what if I let him go, and he bites a little girl two doors down? Or kills the neighbor's little dog?

    OK, decision made. I'd kill it. (Or have Smarticus kill it, better yet.) NOT just for being a snake, but for being a LETHAL snake.

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    1. Susan: I do understand. If the snake escaped, it could harm the children. I'd rather take the fine. However, snakes do not attack people. They run - unless cornered. I am very familiar with Copperheads, as we had our fair share in the woods in New Hampshire. While they are venomous and dangerous, they are not nearly as lethal or worrisome as Cottonmouths. We have plenty of them in Florida.

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  6. Human hurt or snake hurt is what it means for me....

    Is the cotton mouth a Florida native? Would relocating even make a difference?

    I am on the live and let live...but...strike before it hurts someone.

    At least your "alarms" worked!!!!!

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    1. A-M: Yes, it would make a difference. They would probably bring it to someplace like Homestead where it wouldn't present a problem to us.

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  7. A-M: Yes, it would make a difference. They would probably bring it to someplace like Homestead where it wouldn't present a problem to us.

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  8. I grew up in rural areas where rattle snakes were common and a similar debate was, and probably still is, ongoing among the neighbors. Because of our remote location, animal control would take anywhere from 1-3 hours to arrive and by that time the snakes were usually gone. As most of the people in our small community had little children, the snakes were usually killed on sight rather than risk it slithering away and biting a child. I'm like you though, with a live and let live attitude and, once old enough to know how to handle the critters, would relocate them to the mountains.

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    1. Gabriel: Yes, that is the problem. It's not only the kids. Adults are vulnerable too. That is a great point about the time for animal control response. We are trying as we speak to eliminate some of the cover in our yard that might attract these creatures.

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  9. Run away is what I would do, but that's me living in Michigan with only one poisonous snake. As for Garter snakes, I let them be; they are good for the garden. My son in California kills the rattlers, chops off their heads dead. There are children on the property he cares more about than preserving a preditor. I would do the same. Children first, poisonous snakes way down my line of preservation.

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    1. Linda: I understand. In New Hampshire, we did not have the same problem. I did have to encounter them on my wilderness journeys in the past, but that was only temporary. We must come up with a game plan for Florida. Killing them does not work either, because that's how people get bitten. We're working on it.

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  10. Linda: I understand. In New Hampshire, we did not have the same problem. I did have to encounter them on my wilderness journeys in the past, but that was only temporary. We must come up with a game plan for Florida. Killing them does not work either, because that's how people get bitten. We're working on it.

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  11. I totally agree with you and thank goodness those kinds of thoughts of just killing something doesn't happen as much as it could. Sometimes I don't like calling animal control because sadly there are times they just put things down. To save time, or because of lack of space or some other stupid excuse. A group of us happened upon an injured duck at a city lake last summer. Often Animal Control will involve places that have the special needs, like our Rapture Center at the U of M- but not always. But thank goodness for all our cell phones so we (I) can make another call, even at the expense of hurting someone's feelings. I care about our lovely creatures and they deserve a good break, and a bit more life.

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    1. Karen: Thank you. I was beginning to feel like a skunk at a lawn party. I wouldn't just leave a venomous snake to live in my yard and put my family at danger, but killing an animal is never my first choice.

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  12. You are brave. If I had seen a snake I would have run in the opposite direction.

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    1. Julia: Not at all. If it is in the yard, there is no place to run and I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt. The only choices I see are destruction or relocation, and from the responses, I am in the minority.

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  13. We get cotton mouths here. I relocated a baby that entered our garage many years ago, but one of that size would probably meet its demise. Too many people and pets in our neighborhood to let him slither around.

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    1. Alex: That is why it's so difficult. They can't be allowed to run loose. They must go, one way or the other. To me, killing is always the last option.

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  14. Interesting debate. The only time I've ever had any close encounters with venomous snakes were out in the wilderness so I just let them be. I'd probably only kill one if there was imminent danger for me or a loved one. I guess I have no real hate or love of snakes and since I won't eat them, then there's no point to killing them needlessly.
    BTW, I received your little goody. Thank you for thinking of me! That was a fun surprise!

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    1. Jasmine: I basically feel the same way. It is a tough choice, but I always choose the demise of anything in Nature as a last option.

      Enjoy the music!

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  15. I would run a mile very quickly if I saw one of these I admire them but they scare me I have held one before now but never again. I think releasing them into the wild is the best option its not their fault they are in your yard most of their natural habitat has been taken over by us for homes. Good luck, dee :-)

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    1. Dee: Exactly my feelings, but not always an easy choice for people.

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  16. Oh my goodness, I can't kill anything! I'm petrified of snakes but I know I definitely couldn't kill them. I'd be calling a snake wrangler!

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