It does not take long to start gathering “learning” experiences outdoors. This is especially true if you are there daily, or are curious enough about things to either be quiet and observe, or do things you would never advise your kids to try. Usually I am the former, though for this lesson very much the latter. Please, kids, do not try this at home!
It was going on summer down in Texas. I had a job with a consulting forester. This particular day I was walking a property for one reason or another, it doesn’t really matter except for the fact that there were no other people nearby nor large machinery. I was headed back to my vehicle when I came upon a snake in the trail. Upon closer examination from a distance, I thought it looked like the nonvenomous hognose snake. My boss had told me about the curious fact that hognose snakes play dead when confronted, in hopes the attacker gets bored and leaves. Not being from an area which had these particular snakes, I was curious to see it in action.
This is where I normally would have let the snake be, walked around it with a wide berth and continued on my way. Not this day. This day, I grabbed a stick. A longish one with which I poked the snake. Yes. While in the woods alone I purposefully antagonized a snake that I was about 50% sure was what I thought it was.
Not only did I poke it once, but several times. This is where people later would say, “serves her right for getting bitten by the snake; she would not leave the darn thing alone. Kept making it mad. What did she think would happen?”
Did it roll over and play dead? I wish. Instead it curled up, began shaking it’s tail, and made its head larger. Finally my logic side overtook my curiosity and I decided to move on rather than ignore the warning clearly given. Besides, there are more than one kind of snake in Texas, several of which are poisonous. I did what I should have done the first time. With a wide area between me and the now very mad snake I walked around and continued on my way down the trail. Quickly.