How to deal w poisonous snakes??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BeckyW, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    734
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    We are very seriously looking at some beautiful southern Oklahoma land - copperhead country. I am REALLY REALLY REALLY afraid of copperheads. I lived in rattler country for years (CA high desert) along with black widows but copperheads petrify me. So how do you all of you in copperhead country stay safe (my experience is that they are an extremely agressive snake - bite first ask questions later). And I told my husband NO STREAMS/PONDS - I'm also scared to death of water mocassins. I'm not fond of snakes in general but these top my list.
     
  2. Mawna

    Mawna Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Location:
    Arkansas
    OH lordy lordy girl...I am a native of Southern Oklahoma and you have got it all correct. That is snake country period.

    Rattlers too. Example of one. In Tuskahoma where all my family was from for generations, one day we had a young man helping to cut down brush as we were moving back in to my GrandParents old homeplace. He killed a Rattler of all Rattlers. Then to show the folks of the community he took the thing (DEAD of course) down to the 4 way stop and threw it over a stop sign. The head end went half way down one side of the stop sign pole and the tail end went down to the ground on the other side.

    My GrandMother found Copperheads in her undie drawers. In her closets. In her bottom cupboard.

    My Dad who had Parkinsons and fell every other step fell one day and landed right on top of a Copperhead. When this man fell he fell like a boulder hitting the ground. THANK God for that fact that one time. As when he got to his feet the copperhead was deader than a doornail. You had to have understood my Dad. He thought that was amazing and wished to show my poor Mom who was in her wheelchair on the porch. Yep you got it! He made it to the porch with the snake and FELL. Dropping it in my Mom's lap. And that was one snake hating woman if I ever saw one. She freaked smooth out.

    You learn to live with them and you get excellent at killing them. But whatever you do learn your Kind Snakes. As in this part of the Country they are your BEST FRIEND. Harmless to you but deadly to rattlers and copperheads.

    And if you don't want a stream nor a pond then don't go swimming in a creek nor lake. Cuz there you got the Cotton Mouths or Water Moccasins.

    sorry to have to tell you but if you move to Southern Oklahoma or Arkansas you will have SNAKES.
     

  3. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    24,572
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    MS
    Well, yesterday I used a .22 rifle to deal with one! Worked real well too!

    Keeping the area around your house clean will help...no piles of anything (even wood piles attract copperheads), no tall weeds/grass. Our dogs are also real good at alerting us to snakes in the area.
     
  4. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,305
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    .............If you allow your fear of snakes to reject a piece of land then you might as well buy a Condo ! W.Moc's will stay around the creek , tank etc. and will not travel far from that environment so they should be expected in close proximity to that type of situation . For Ch's , take your tractor and destroy ALL piles of dead and decaying matter that provides both shade and a Moist place to both breed and live . If you remove all the conditions that attracts them you will have won most of the War . The "little ones" are the Most dangerous because they're hard to see and they move fairly quickly . Piles of cord wood and burn piles left to rot before being burned will become Prime Habitat and Ch's are very proflic under the right conditions . You just have to take the initative and destroy them and their home(s) before they seek you out . fordy.. :sing:
     
  5. LittleJohn

    LittleJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Well to keep snakes away from you house kill every liveing thing in 200 yards of it then pack the soil so thier wont be any burrows. dont leave one speck of anything laying about and keep it swept clean. :D

    Serriously though get rid of any piles of stuff rock piles are a favorite breeding place for them and copperheads tend to live in large colonies if you see one thiers probably at least 2 dozen more around. This is one trick I know of for helping to keep them out of your house put boric acid under your house it irritates thier skin and they dont like it. Only works where it will stay dry though and beware its not good for your lungs.

    My cousins wife went to feed thier horses one day reached into the feed sack and got bit by two differnet copperheads. She almost lost her hand.
     
  6. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

    Messages:
    15,019
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Back in the USA
    LittleJohn just clued you in on something else. You need to think like a snake. That means figuring out where dinner (mice) might be. So in the case of a feed sack or barrel (mouse buffet), you'd have a possibilty of mice and so snakes may visit.

    Around here king snakes are welcome because of their appetite for copperheads. You might want to turn a few of those loose on your place.
     
  7. Orville

    Orville Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    145
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    SC
    I had to think of the same things when we moved from the frozen North to SC, where many species of vipers reside. I've lived here 4 years and have not seen a poisonous snake in the wild, except a couple killed on the road. We live on several acres, have chickens running all over, have a woodpile every winter, copious field rats, and mice in my outbuilding. The only snakes I've seen are King Mole Snakes and Black Snakes. Both are beneficial. When I see a snake I catch it with a stick and put it in a large aquarium so I can examine it. They are quite fascinating. Of course, if I saw a snake I immediately recognized as a viper, I would deal with it. Some people insist on relocating, and not killing, vipers. Their argument makes sense, but not around my house. Any viper caught around my house will be relocated in at least two different places simultaneously.
    Think about it. If snakes were such a great threat to humanity, nobody would live in snake country. However, man and snake have lived together for lots of years. Here in SC I remember reading of only one snakebite last year. Girl was bit on the foot by a WM. Got treated, and is OK. Take the general precautions listed by others, and keep a .410 handy. Well, I guess you'd better know the way to the hospital, too. I mean, just in case.
     
  8. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Location:
    SE Oklahoma
    I saw a bracelet made from copperhead vertebrae one time. Beautiful!

    Copperhead vertebrae are roughly rectangular in cross section & (like with all snakes) have a hole (for the spinal cord nerves) that you thread them on. It looked very stylish.....

    Not quite up there with rattlesnake bone necklaces, but then, it's hard to find large rattlesnakes nowadays (& the smaller vertebrae scratch your skin something terrible, due to the projections that species has!).
     
  9. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    Rule to follow in addition to keeping things cleared and thinking like a snake - NEVER reach down with your hand to turn over a rock, branch, piece of wood, etc. Use a good sized stick or pole. I'd rather be surprised by one from several feet away than face to face. If you haven't got something like that, use your foot - encased in a leather boot. Even if it does bite your foot or leg through the leather, that is farther from your head and heart than your hand or arm or neck.

    Cats and geese and dogs help keep things away. Having said that, I've killed copperheads and rattlesnakes with a hoe. Very effective weapon for that. NO pit viper will be allowed to survive on my place - I figure they had a death wish.

    I lived in rocky central texas country for twenty years, and I only killed four or five snakes in all that time. I'm sure more saw me than I saw. It helps to tread heavily, snakes often prefer to leave, though copperheads are more likely than rattlesnakes to just hunker down.
     
  10. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,215
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    NW Georgia
    Most snakes (Copperheads included) will try to avoid humans, so your risk is probably smaller than you think. Different people have different levels of risk they will live with, so you have to be the best judge on how to proceed. For a reality check, compare the deaths and injuries caused by snakes verses automobiles in the area you are considering for a farm/homestead. Once you do, you may never want to climb into an automobile again. Good luck in whatever you choose.
     
  11. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    292
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Location:
    Meade Co Kentucky
    I lived in Broken Arrow for a summer outside of Tulsa for a year. I'm not afraid of snakes, but I have always told folks since then how many copperheads and cottonmouths I saw in just that one year. Never did see a rattler though. The biggest change for me was moving from South Dakota with very low humidity into a environment I just wasn't used to. To me, that was worse than the snakes. I know one thing that absolutely loves to kills snakes and eat them, and that's hogs. Don't know if that's an option you'd consider, but a few head of hogs will sure put a dent in the snake population. The other advice already stated in previous posts about eliminating snake hiding areas near the house is excellent advice. One other thing, I consider myself good at identifying snakes, but when they're young it can be pretty tough. Also, a lot of water snakes look alot like copperheads. One way to tell is the pupils of the eye. If they are eliptical, like a cat, they are poisonous. This applies to copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. Water snakes and other NATIVE non-venomous snakes in the U.S. have round pupils. The coral snake however, does have round pupils.
     
  12. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

    Messages:
    7,220
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    i was going to recommend ducks or geese. my dad always had a few around to keep the snakes away. he claimed they ate the young snakes.
     
  13. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,558
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Central S. C.
    Dealing with snakes is really very simple. Don't put your hands or feet where you cann't see. Even a small item on the ground could hide a surprise. Most copperhead bites are to the hands and fingers. Moccasins are the aggressive ones. But they will all avoid you if given the chance. If you have to walk through high growth, do so slowly and drag your feet. Don't be so afraid of them. Every time I see a snake I wonder how many I didn't see ;)
     
  14. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,558
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Central S. C.

    Copper heads are rarely around water. They like high and dry.
    Around a pond there is a type of water snake often mistaken for a copperhead.
     
  15. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,220
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Alabama
    Central TX (LAmpasas cnty) I lived with 2 dogs suburban one side farm other side and (maybe it was the guineas who'd lived there before us) saw only one (green, grass) snake the whole time. 10 miles away a friend and DH on all farm surrounded, abandoned farm above a creek had to clear the rubble in tandem: one would with gloves on move stuff the other would then shoot the rattlers revealed. No problems after the initial clearing and moving in with geese boyz dogs cats and goats.

    I DID however see scorpion (1) black widows (in house) tarantula (1) (outside) and get bitten by brown recluse (never saw it, just the classic bite).
     
  16. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    We live in Southern Missouri...lots of snakes! Several rules to follow and they really shouldn't be a problem for you. Clean up all brush, piles of rocks/wood around the house. Don't give them a place to hide. Wear leather boots with long jeans in the spring/summer/fall if your going to be walking around the property much. Don't reach down to flip over rocks, stumps, sticks, do it with your foot or a stick. Wear leather gloves when clearing brush, junk piles, etc. Don't run off the good snakes! Black snakes are fine and will help run off copperheads. Keep a 22 handy to shoot any copperheads you might run across. Don't have the gun handy?? Squash its head with rocks(always plenty of those around here!). I actually like snakes as a general rule and love to run across good snakes. But poisonous snakes get the chop around here. Still fun to creep some folks out by letting the 6' black snake curl around my arm and upper body....... :angel: :rolleyes: But copperheads are generally non-aggressive and will usully go out of their way to be left alone.
     
  17. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Texas

    Okay - I'm moving back to central Texas - just a bit north of that area Jen. I lived there for 20 years before moving to England for nearly five.

    I have to admit, the BUGS bothered me more than snakes. So many things in Texas want to kill you.. lol! I killed over 300 scorpions in my house the first year I lived there. Got to where I had to walk around the house before I went to bed every night with a flashlight, and shine it around on all the ceilings. That was where they always were, then get the broom handle and crush them, hoping they didn't slide down it and onto me.

    Ticks were horrendous until the fire ants moved in, they cured the tick problem all righty, but you do want to watch where you are standing!

    Saw lots of tarantulas, but someone said they eat scorpions so I left them alone. (Never saw one in the house, thank goodness.) Not too many black widow spiders, and I learned to identify their webs which helps.

    And I'm moving back.. :eek: lol!
     
  18. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,875
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
  19. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    snake stick
    machette
    pressure canner
    mason jars.
     
  20. Gideon's War

    Gideon's War Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2005
    Location:
    In a state of Grace by the Lord Jesus

    Good grief..why would you live in an area with that many creepy-crawly things???? I'd be screaming like a girl as long as I was awake. I HATE spiders & scorpions freak me out. Glad here in the midwest there isn't that many things thast want to get you (or hide out in your shoes). Yeesh!