Eastern Snakes Forum
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A note about head shape in snakes: Head shape is a totally useless character for identifying a snake, and has nothing to do with whether the serpent is or is not venomous (poisonous). Many harmless snakes, especially when young, have rather large heads. Please describe color, pattern, markings, and habitat where the snake was found. The shape of the head will not help us in any way.
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Fear of snakes!
Posted by Alex, forum owner on June 28, 2011, 1:53 pmBoard Administrator
Thought I would post this to help people out who have a fear of snakes. Though some research, (in my view, flawed) indicates that we might have a natural fear of snakes, it has come to my attention through decades of observation and study that most mammals have a startle reflex for snakes, but no real fear; cats have been reported playing with them and catching them, and dogs do not seem particularly fearful of them, some dogs actually attacking them.
I do not consider a terror reaction to snakes natural or reasonable; too many people like myself have learned to handle and play with snakes (non-venomous!), and some people have even gotten familiar enough with venomous ones to actually handle them (very carefully!), such as the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. He had handled thousands of venomous snakes and was never bitten, though, in my view, he took chances with them that were a bit extreme.
Now, I respect venomous snakes, and will not handle them under any circumstances, though I will use a long stick to move them to a safer area off a trail, or will actually catch them and place them in a cooler to take to a safer location, and I usually have some adrenaline going when I do, but I don't have an unreasoning fear of them, and have not ever frozen when dealing with them.
Oddly, I did have a fear of snakes growing up, right into my 30's. I was taught by my relatives to have a fear of them, and was always afraid, even of a "Blacksnake" (either Racer or Rat Snake), though the fear had no foundation in reason. I only got over it when I took a class in Herpetology (Reptiles and Amphibians), and began to deal with snakes on a daily basis.
Link: Snake Fears
The Appalachian Naturalist