Thursday, June 2, 2011

An Appalachian Experiment

2:00 PM June 2, 2011:
Oh boy! An experiment! As I was straightening up and digging in the compost/mulch pile under the black plastic, I came across three snakes and three lizards. As two of the lizards ran for it, I gently tossed the two ring neck snakes into the bushes; you see, the third snake was a slightly pissed off copperhead coiled in the mulch. And, after all these years, I actually got bitten by her. Boy she was feisty, only 16 inches long (that was part of the problem; it was difficult to grab her behind the head, there was so little "neck" there). OK, I had on gloves and I used a stick to subdue her thrashing, but she was able to reach around and nick me on the back of my hand where the glove was only cloth. It felt like a mild bee sting so I just went on and caught her and walked her out into the woods an eight of a mile or so where she'd be safe. Then I took off my glove, and damn if she hadn't nailed me right in that big vein on the back of my hand! So I did a lot of sucking and spitting (got out lots of blood) and then I went in and put some peroxide on the fang wound. Wow, let's see what happens next!

Ah, the third lizard. She was a broad head skink and I'm pretty sure that the copperhead had just nailed her too. That was one dead, limp, lizard. I felt really bad about that. I hate to waste a perfectly good dead lizard as much as the next guy, and the copperhead missed a good meal and wasted some hard earned venom too. At this point I wasn't in the mood to take the skink out to the snake and try to entice her to eat it; call me a wimp.

3:15 PM: Well pooh! Not much of an experiment at all (unless you like negative results). I've been out digging in the hot sun (making dirt) for the last hour and nothing. My hand looks the same (a little edema near the fang entry point - probably from me sucking and breaking capillaries).

4:15 PM: "...and gets into the bloodstream and causes hemolytic destruction of...." That was the radio when I turned it on, not me. I'm still here exactly the same as before, the bite site is like a moderate hornet/wasp sting, no worse; I don't expect annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy