Insurance, of a Sort…
There are “good” snakes and there are potentially “bad” snakes. Growing up, those which were efficient predators on rats and mice were reasonably accepted and given a pass, provided they were not in the garage or yard immediately around our country home. Venomous snakes found near our home, barns and even out in the pastures were classified as “bad” and were at all attempts removed, because of the potential of biting dogs, cattle, horses and us. I grew up respecting snakes, with no great love for them or desire to handle them. They were a part of the surrounding natural world, “good” snakes and “bad” snakes.
As a preschooler I listened to both my grandmothers tell how they had been bitten by copperheads, and, what they had endured as a result. I think part of their stories were to try to convince me to wear shoes when I roamed the woods and creek bottoms behind our home. If that was the case, they failed.
These days whenever possible I roam the same woods I did in my youth, although now I wear shoes. Those years hence my shoe-less days softened my feet to the point where walking barefooted on the carpet in our bedroom is about shoe-less adventurous as I care to get.
Back when, I often carried a single-shot .22 rimfire while roaming. Today on my country walks I carry, what some call a side-arm, a handgun. When out and about on my property, I carry either a Ruger Wrangler single-action .22 rimfire revolver or a Ruger Blackhawk revolver topped with a Trijicon RMR sight chambered in .44 Mag. If asked, I tell people I carry them for “snake protection.” Although, I really carry them because I like doing so and just in case I encounter wild hogs. The only snakes I would consider shooting are venomous snakes found where my family might be endangered by them, otherwise they are safe.
One of the things I have noticed is since the wild hog population has greatly increased in our area, we very seldom see snakes. Not sure whether hogs actively seek snakes to eat them, or snakes consider wild hogs a danger and have moved out of the area. Either way we seemingly have fewer snakes in our area these days. In Nature, it seems for every action there is a reaction. Seeing fewer snakes, I have seen an increase in hawks and owls, likely because there is less competition for small prey species like rats and mice. Given a choice between snakes and raptors, I choose the latter.
Regardless of what is going on in the world, there are always small things, of beauty and splendor, for us to enjoy, admire and appreciate!
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