Thursday, March 13, 2008
If You Don't See The Beauty In A Cottonmouth Moccasin, Maybe You Are Standing Too Far Away
People hate this snake. They might fear rattlesnakes, but they seem to revile this one ... as if it were capable of being evil. It's not of course, only we have that ability.
They attribute all sorts of vicious qualities to it ...
"Those cottonmouths are just plain mean ... they'll chase you through the swamp ... swim after you and attack ya ... I run over every one I see ..."
So ... if they are not evil, human chasing serpents, why do they get such a reputation?
Mostly from handed down "knowledge" of course, but they do have some characteristics that add fuel to the fire.
They are painfully, powerfully poisonous, but they are fish and frog eaters who need to stop their prey quickly before it gets away.
They are well camouflaged, so of course that makes them "sneaky" when we fail to see them as we walk in the swamp.
They are also apt to hold their ground when encountered instead of slipping away quickly like many snakes do.
People see that as an aggressive stance instead of a frightened animal relying on it's camouflage, but not having the brainpower to know the jig is up.
When it does get the message that it's been seen, it may slither away slowly due to it's chubby physique . If in her tiny reptile brain, the moccasin slithers off in the direction of the human who scared it, well then, "That ol' cottonmouth chased me off the river bank."
Now who's brain is tiny?
If she doesn't slither off, she might go into a defensive posture like this beauty
She raises and flattens her head to look scarier and if that doesn't work ...
She tries one more thing to get you to back off and it is impressive.
That beautiful brown skin opens up to reveal a "cotton mouth" of white complete with fangs and accompanied by a soft hiss ... not loud like a pine snake, ... just a little exhalation.
If there's no way out, then she locks and loads for the only active defense she has which is to strike rapidly and repeatedly.
Again, remember, she does that because she is frightened.
She's not evil.
Capable and potent, but not evil.
Give her the respect she's due ... and some admiration for her wonderful adaptations if you can muster it ...
... just do it from a safe distance.