One Friday I was fishing from my dock and threw some fish food into the grass, trying to get a catfish to come up. Suddenly a three-inch long bream started scooting sideways across the surface of the water in the grass. It took me a second to realize a snake had it and was headed toward the bank.
I grabbed my dog Rip to keep him from chasing the movement and tried to get a good look at it. The snake looked like it had a triangular head, a bad sign since that means poisonous. When I tried to get closer to see it better it moved off, still carrying its lunch.
The next day Linda and I were walking on our street. We had already walked out to the highway and back twice and on the third trip I had to yell at her. She almost stepped on a snake that had crawled onto the pavement about three feet from the grass on the edge of the road bed.
The snake was very shinny and bright, and it was sluggish. I got a real good look at it, it definitely had a triangular head. I poked at it with the stick I carry when walking and it slithered back into the woods very slowly. I did not kill it since I usually leave snakes alone, and it was a long way from my house.
When we got home we looked it up on the internet and it was definitely a copperhead moccasin. It was about three feet long and the colors matched exactly. I think the reason it was so shiny and bright was it had just shed its skin. That might be why it was sluggish, too.
I figured those two snakes in two days were enough since I often go months without seeing one but I had two more close encounters of the slithery kind this past week. On Thursday I was again fishing from my dock. I had a big school of bluegill feeding in the three foot deep water beside the dock and could see them pretty good in the clear water.
Rip had waded out until his back was almost covered with water. He likes to chase the fish when I hook one and actually eats any I will let him have. As I baited my hook again I saw a long, thin flash in the water in the school of fish. I thought it was a reflection of sunlight through cracks between planks in the dock, but when I saw it again I realized it was a snake. I yelled at Rip and he jumped up on the dock.
A few seconds later the snake surfaced with a bream in its mouth. I had no idea snakes caught fish like that. I always though they hid in grass, in a bush or on a log and snagged a passing fish. But this one was swimming under water, chasing them and catching them. It was very fast.
The fish it caught was about six inches long and way too big for the snake to swallow, and it let it go as it got to the grass. I think it was the same snake and it looked a lot like the copperhead from the road, but I still did not get a good look at it.
Then on Friday I had fished for several minutes when I heard a strange splash under the dock. I looked but didn’t see anything. A few minutes later Rip walked to the end of the dock sniffing the air, then jumped off the side and walked along the edge of the grass. About five feet from him something made the grass ripple as it headed out from the bank and I figured it was a snake.
Rip pawed around in the water and then picked up a big bream and brought it to the dock. I took it from him and saw two puncture holes in its side and the fish was bleeding but still alive. I put it back in the water but it turned belly up and Rip jumped in and grabbed it. He took it up on the bank and ate most of it before I thought about it having poison in it from the snake. I guess it was ok, several hours later he was still fine.
Apparently copperheads are common right now. I stopped by Tom’s Lawnmower and Javin told me about someone getting bit by one at his gate recently, then Tom came in and told me about killing two small ones in his house recently.
Be on the watch-out for snakes. They show up like Candid Camera, when you least expect them. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. After all, they are just part of nature.