Friday, August 15, 2008

Be careful out there

You never know when you will find danger in the garden. I was reminded this week and last.

With this dry, hot weather the wild life moves more as water as well as food is harder to find. With ponds, I realize that the water that is here is home to many frogs and draws birds, mice, rats and other small wild life. All of these things are way down on the food chain so I am always on the alert for the animals that eat them. While pulling up dead plants I found one of those animals. No real danger to me but maybe to my wife or the dogs.

It is a Coral snake and I used to catch them by hand all the time as a kid and sell them to a professor for the research they were doing on making an anti venom. When he found out we were catching them by hand he wouldn't buy any more. We were never bit but we had a friend who was bitten while gardening. She said it was very painful but Coral snake bites are usually not considered life threatening.

A couple of weeks ago my younger brother was bitten by a Copperhead while on the back porch. My older brother and his wife took him to the closest hospital, I think it was Gonzalles. Copperhead bites aren't considered life threatening, so no one was too concerned. But after getting a dose of anti venom David just kept getting worse. They had to helo him to San Antonio to find out what was wrong. This was at midnight and he didn't get out of intensive care till 2:00 the next day.Through testing they found that he was diabetic.[he didn't know] That bite would have killed him if they hadn't found out and started an insulin IV. So for some any snake bite can be deadly.


Anonymous said...

I respect snakes rather than fear them, but then again I'm not finding copperheads or coral snakes in my garden. I'm amazed that you used to catch these as a kid.

The only snake I've ever seen in my garden is a little garter snake---at least I guess that's what it was.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and an intriguing woman.

katina said...

You live out close to Lake Georgetown don't you?

Remind me not to go backpacking out there in the summer. geez.

Annie in Austin said...

Great photo and a sobering tale, Bob - I've heard of coral snakes but don't think seeing them in person is necessary - pictures are fine!

Maybe the silver lining is that your brother's previously unknown condition can be treated - but getting bit by a coral snake is sure a dramatic way and dangerous way to be diagnosed.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

Wow, scary story. Corals are so beautiful. We found one at the curb of our house in Rollingwood--practically middle of town! I once came face to face with a diamondback at my sister's ranch. I was looking for arrowheads and flicking flint off a creekbed and heard it before I saw it--hissing. My body jumped backwards 6 ft. w/out any assistance from my conscious brain. Very handy caveman response technique.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a picture! I've never seen one in person, and I didn't realize just how dramatic a Coral Snakes colors are. You say that their bites are not usually considered life threatening, but I certainly grew up here in Texas knowing to avoid them because of the adage "red and yellow kill a fella". Now you are telling me it ain't so?
Robin at Getting Grounded

Anonymous said...

beautiful colors.

my neighbors say they find copperheads on their property fairly regularly but I've haven't ever seen one here.

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