Many things about 2020 have been difficult. As you know. One thing that was not difficult was finding Cottonmouths on our walks in the woods. Each picture above is of a different individual. All but the bottom right one posed without moving. It’s tucking its head away in the log. Not in the mood for such.

Before I met my husband and before I became a naturalist, the sight of one of these guys would have me running, not walking, out of the woods. It wasn’t until we saw one curled up like a honey bun on a little wooden bridge, when Charles said “Oh, boy!” and I said “Oh, no!” I took a couple of reluctant pictures as I slowly backed up the path, while exclaiming “we are going to die!” As Charles kept a safe distance and took pictures from different angles (and I peered down from my branch), the snake slowly unwound itself and retreated away from us to find shelter under a dwarf palmetto. Something in me changed that day. The snake didn’t want to be bothered. It didn’t want to eat me. It didn’t want to strike. Its aim was self-preservation. This ties in closely with what I was thinking myself (from my safe position up in the tree).

If these guys are threatened or feel they can’t escape, they will try to defend themselves. I would.

In case it seems that I have been paid by the International Snake-huggers Committee, I haven’t.

Personal experience (and education) is priceless.