I killed two copperheads!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ellebeaux, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    I killed two copperheads and now I feel guilty about it!

    Saturday I was feeding my friend's twelve Welsh Ponies. I had been there for half an hour or so, going in and out of the barn. I noticed the cat was watching something underneath the barn door. From the silouhette (sic) in the sun, I thought it was a toad.

    When I finally took the time to look, it was a copperhead! The cat was stalking it so I debated for several minutes then decided it had to go. I got a shovel and prepared to attack.

    Don't you remember, as a kid, seeing TV shows where the woodsman gets the shovel and with one blow chops the head off the evil rattlesnake? Well, it didn't work that way for me. The snake was between the railings that the barn door slides on. I had to keep running from one side of the door to the other, watching my feet and leaning out as far as I could to try to pull its body out so I could whack it. Once I whacked it, it started shaking its tail like a rattlesnake which totally confused me. I was making some very primal noises that I have never heard come out of my mouth before!

    Finally I got it. The head was chopped off, with jaws still snapping and the body wriggling around. I went to pull the body out from between the rails when a SECOND head popped up! You can't believe how I jumped and swore! But my blood was up and I sent that one packing immediately So now I had two heads and two bodies writhing around. They did that for at least an hour. Gross.

    I buried the heads and draped the bodies over the wheelbarrow to let the owners know that I was taking good care of their property.

    I have no idea what the copperheads were doing together. I had also seen a dead one on the road not a half mile away. Maybe they are all looking for winter homes? The owners have never seen one during the two years they've been living at the farm.

    But I feel a little bad about killing them because they weren't threatening me and I could've just moved the cat.

    Beaux
     
  2. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

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    It is time for them to be looking for winter nesting areas. I don't like to kill wildlife either, but in this case, I think you did the right thing. I can co-exist if they are not near enough to threaten my life. Having 2 cooperheads at your barn is too close to comfort for me. They could have bitten one of the ponies or a human if left there. Try not to beat yourself up over it. Sometimes a sacrifice has to be made for the good of all.
     

  3. Reptyle

    Reptyle Well-Known Member

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    In the future, if you should find yourself over run with field mice and rats...Well, I bet you can guess why.
     
  4. Valduare

    Valduare Well-Known Member

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    copperheads good to heat? i keep hearing about rattlesnake being real good but havnt heard much about other snakes.
     
  5. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Fetch home some black snakes. They eat poison snakes, rats, and mice.
     
  6. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    You did the right thing. Just think of those copperheads cozied up in the hay and someone coming in to do chores and stepping on one. Copperheads are very aggressive. Dang things will chase you. I'd feel a bit bad over killing a non-venomous snake but never a venomous one. You get better at being able to kill them quickly with practice. Just a side note on black snakes. They will eat rodents and I've been told they will eat other snakes...though I've never seen this...one thing they will for sure eat is chicken eggs. Had a heck of a time one summer......seemed like my chickens had stopped laying. Found the culprit in the hen house one day. Huge black snake. Didn't want to kill it so I caught it and relocated it about a 1/2 mile down the road. It was back the next day. Caught it again and took it further. It was back in 2 days. Didn't know snakes could do that.
     
  7. mamakatinmd

    mamakatinmd Well-Known Member

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    Don't feel too badly about it. I think you did the right thing. We killed about 7 maybe more last year. Most were babies. They started showing up about October here. My four kids hate shoes (I'm rarely seen wearing them myself untill it's pretty cold) From what I understand the small ones are more dangerous since they cannot yet control thier venom flow/dose? I felt like I spent all of October yelling for everyone to wear thier shoes out in case of the snakes. (Yes, I did lead by example :) My animal loving 9 year old would give me a dressing down everytime I had to kill one. As I told him I would feel worse if one bit his 3 year old brother, due to his small size could be potentially fatal, so they had to go.
    Kat
     
  8. lilyrose

    lilyrose Well-Known Member

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    Copperhead bites are very nasty and poisonous so like many here I think you did what you had to. You had little choice. While I respect wildlife there are some critters which aren't safe to have too close for comfort. The movement you witnessed was probably just the nerves of the snake. Once you cut the head off I doubt the critter felt any more pain.

    We drove into our driveway one day and I stepped outside my car door almost smack dab on a copperhead all coiled up and ready to strike! He was only 3 feet from my feet! There's a wooden wall next to the drive so we figured he had made that his home. Unfortunately, we couldn't just let him continue living there because we go in and out of our car a lot so we had to do him in. I didn't like it either. He was not easy to kill. They must be spirited to their core.

    But if it means avoiding a family member almost having to have a limb amputated because of copperhead poison, then so be it. We know someone who came close to that point.

    Also, and I'm not sure of this, but I think I read somewhere that copperheads freeze when you approach them whereas some other snakes slither away. So just because you shake the bushes with a rake ahead of going in doesn't mean nothing is there.
     
  9. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    Poisonous snakes are open season on my property. Killing nonpoisonous snakes is a no no in my book.
     
  10. copperhead51

    copperhead51 Well-Known Member

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    Killing a copperhead is illegal in Missouri. Shoot, shovel and shutup.
     
  11. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    The only good snake is a dead snake. You did good. :D


    Kenneth in NC
     
  12. lilyrose

    lilyrose Well-Known Member

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    "Killing a copperhead is illegal in Missouri."

    You've got to be kidding?!

    Who came up with that? I can't believe it.

    I think that's just plain irresponsible. If you've got one living under your back deck or between wood on a wall, you can't do anything but try to trap it??

    That is the craziest thing I've heard in a while. But I guess you're right - sez so here: http://www.trumanlake.com/nature/snkshw1.htm

    You know these wacko environmentalists are really going overboard. I once knew one and she honestly felt that if it comes to an animal dying or a human, then the human should die. Makes you sick: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/904130/posts
     
  13. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    I second that!
     
  14. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    If tree huggers only hugged trees I might like them BUT they want to save Ticks that give diseases, posion snakes, spotted owls, several variety of termites and two species of cockroaches. Give me a Break. I draw the line at roaches and snakes. Sorry.


    Kenneth in NC

    No animal is worth a human life.
     
  15. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Only a fool kills snakes because they are afraid of them or ignorant.
    Common sense dictates though that if they are potentially dangerous due to the location then they must go. It would be wonderful if everyone was able to relocate them, but again... if it poses a threat to you or livestock then it's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Common sense. I killed an Eastern diamondback that bit our dog once. We were in its territory and it didn't touch any of us cause we weren't as warm as the dog and we didn't have our nose on the ground in front of it. I wish that I didn't kill it since it wasn't really necessary to. The dog lived. The snake didn't inject enough venom to kill the dog. I didn't show the same good judgement that the snake did. Best thing is to let them be if possible. But in a barn is not good.
     
  16. jgbndaudio

    jgbndaudio Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    I'm not a fan of snakes (any kind). She did what she had to do but, that being said the planet we live on (earth) uses a balanced systematic approch to it's environment. Who can predict what we do to that balance when we eliminate a part of the system?
    You might not like ticks, snakes or spotted owls (how anybody can be against saving owls is beside me), termites and roaches but the truth is they all play a role in our environment.
    Scott



     
  17. plowhand

    plowhand Well-Known Member

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    I cannot believe that anyone would like a poisonous reptile around their house or outbuildings. On my farm any poisonous snake is fare game. If I see one crawling across the road into a neighbors yard they are fair game, especially if the have small children or are elderly. Small children often can't differentiate betwixt poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. I won't let chicken snakes or black snakes hang around my barn because of my poultry. I've tried shooing them away from a hen and her bittys,you might as well try to stop freight train. A big chicken snake can really go through a setting of eggs or a hacthing of chicks, and so can a bunch of rats. I lump them both in the same catergory. I understand only a few people die from venomous snake bites, but who wants to take a chance. Non-poisonous snake bites can be dangerous also, as a neighbor was bitten by a blacksnake when he tried to unclog his hay cutter. His hand took infection and he nearly lost it. I don't imagine he like them to well now. Always remember that any where that attract rodents often attract snakes. Remeber also that snakes can end up in the darnedest places. Last year, a local man was bitten in the neck by a timber rattler as he crawled into his deer stand. Who would imagine a rattler thirty feet up in a free standing blind?
     
  18. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    Kill every snake you can possibly find in/on/around your property regardless of venomous or non. Just wait until you see what you'll have to deal with the following season.

    If an animal wild OR domestic is a threat around the property then sure, remove it if possible, kill it if necessary but, in the case of predatory animals, don't think that widespread eradication, even within less than a full acre, isn't going to have any effect on the balance already in place. Who knows, snakes may be feeding the raptors more easily than either mouse or prized poultry. With the snakes gone, the raptors may move out looking for easier prey. Then the mouse population explodes. Or the squirrel pop. or the wild hare pop., chipmonk, groundhog, etc.

    Trust me, I'm not trying to fault you Beaux. In your case I would say that at the very least relocation would have been better than leaving the hots where they were but dispatching them was probably the right move. For others, however, that think they're better off without any form of snake slithering around I have just two words - Hanta virus.
     
  19. lilyrose

    lilyrose Well-Known Member

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    We wouldn't kill a non-venomous snake because it's true that they help balance the critter world. But the person starting this thread said he was dealing with two poisonous copperheads.

    I'll add this: Supposedly even after you kill a venomous snake the head can still bite so the danger isn't necessarily gone quite yet.
     
  20. tnborn

    tnborn Well-Known Member

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    In tn, it is illegal to kill copperheads or rattlesnakes as well as non poisonous snakes. :eek: the tn wildlife reasoning :because the rattlesnakes and copperheads are endangered :rolleyes: . they are at my house because I kill every posinous snake that I see. Would you believe, the tn wildlife agency restocked Big South Fork National park with those?? :eek: Not like we didn't have enough copperheads and rattlesnakes around. :rolleyes: Lets put more poisonous snakes in areas which have large boulders, rocks, woody areas :eek: What a bunch of educated idiots that we have working in this state :eek: BTW you did well. Killing those snakes might have safed a life.
    tnborn