The Top Ten Myths About Snakes
It would be safe to say, every child who ventured out of doors at one time or another has been warned to keep an eye pealed for one of these incredible animals, less you become another victim who fell prey to a mi-roding reptile known as the "Hoop Snake". This extra long and muscular snake has the capabilities of forming a perfect 360 degree circle with its body while on the ground. Then it takes its tail into its mouth forming a living Hula-Hoop, Like magic, it flips up onto its side and the chase is on!
Rolling at incredible speeds dodging trees, cars and any other object in its path, the viscious Hoop Snake chases its victim down, up hills, down hills, up sets of steps, through the yard and over the neighborhood cat, nothing can stop this ancient reptile when it is on the trail of a child, their favorite prey. As a child, I looked around every corner to insure my safety against this well known snake and I guess I did a good job of avoiding it, as I never did get to see one, or meet another kid who either saw one or was chased by one. I would guess my generation was faster then the generations of past, as just about every adult who spoke of this creature was a former victim or had a relative who was scourged by a Hoop Snake. It is sad when kids grow up and realize there are no Hoop Snakes, It played a large part in most kids lives. The adults told their stories with such an intense dread in their voice and described this animal in such detail, a kid never had a chance.
There is no telling how many kids got a spanking by the originators of this tail for being late for supper or for not being on time simply because they walked slow, looking at every spot in the distance where a Hoop Snake might lay in wait for them, while on their way home. It was a very confusing time for a lot of kids in my former neighborhood, I can tell you that with all honesty. Now I realize there never was nor will there ever be a Hoop Snake and I am saddened by this mostly because of the time lost during my child hood. Can you just imagine the strength it would possess had this animal been real? To be able to flip up onto its side defies the laws of physics as does its ability to swerve in and out of trees and other objects while its eyes are looking either down or up and never seeing what Lay in its path. Well I guess I provided a few adults with a little bit of laughter as they watched me walk away looking around every corner I came to. This tale is busted, never was a Hoop Snake, never will be.
Next we have the dreaded Milk Snake who was responsible for kids acquiring brittle bone disease. As a kid, I was told to drink all of my milk because there has been an increase of Milk Snakes due to the heavy rains and there was sure to be a milk shortage fairly soon. This Milk Snake was not related to the real milk snake, a member of the King Snake family, (Lampropeltis triangulum), not at all. This snake was long and fat, all black and slipped into barns under the cloak of darkness, moving along slowly and deliberately, a cow never stood a chance. It would latch onto the cows utter and never giving a thought to the kids whose teeth were sure to fall out and then acquire brittle bones, it sucked that poor cow dry. We were told that farmers would come to the barn at day break to find dust leaving the cows utter as they attempted to milk it.
Some farmers had a bounty on this snake and would pay big bucks for every milk snake that was brought to them. I never really thought about it but can you imagine how large the milk snake must have been to consume three to four gallons of milk at a single sitting? We are talking twenty-five feet and as big around as a football. Surely a snake that large would have been easy to find but like the vampire who was able to drink six liters of blood from a single human victim, it was magic because no one ever collected the first dollar of all of the bounty's offered for this milk thief, not one. Again sad to say the milk snake is a myth, never was one, never will be. Snakes are actually lactose intolerant and forcing a snake to drink two ounces of snake could very well cause its demise. Fooled again!
What ever happened to the new species of snake called the "Venomous Bull Snake"? This frightening animal is the product of two very amorous and very different species of snakes who happened upon one and other a short time back. The male was a Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake who came upon a Southern Pine snake, they glanced at one and other, stars were seen by both and cupid started shooting arrows everywhere and they fell madly in love with one and other. Like all married couples (back then) they had a mess of young uns. These were not ordinary young uns but snakes with half of the fathers defencive weaponry and half the mothers. Totaled up, the Bull snake as it was named was one bad animal to run across in the woods.
It had long folding fangs and huge venom glands, it was longer then its mother and father by two feet. It had cat like black eyes and its head was shaped like a coffin. This snake was naturally mean because all the other snakes would have nothing to do with it and it would bite anything it came upon from Sherie anger built up inside it. As a kid, I avoided so many field trips to the local woods for fear of running into the venomous Bull Snake. Now I realize that it had the correct name "Bull" because I learned that a rattlesnake and a pine snake have about as much of a chance of reproducing as a cat and a dog would have should they wed! Again, busted, no real bull snakes, never was never will be, again, some adults idea of making a kid look like an idiot.
Next we have the Coach whip snake, a mean and dastardly critter who would chase you down, trip you and whip the shirt right off your back, for no good reason at all, just down right meanness. A Coach whip was supposed to take one look at a child and for reasons unknown become enraged, it was a fast snake, faster then the average eight year old anyway. It would get in front of the running kid and trip him up causing him to fall and by the time the kid knew what was happening the whip snake would use its specially braided tail to flog the poor child half to death. The local hospital had a ward set up just for victims of whip Snake attack. I never met a victim but every adult I ever met knew the name of some kid unfortunate enough to cross paths with this brutal killer. The last man attacking Whip Snake was killed on the day I became an adult, what a shame I never got to warn my kids about this monster of the deep woods. They were replaced bu a kindly thin Whip Snake belonging to the family Masticophis and nip when caught but never use their braided tails to harm humans at all. Funny how things work out isn't it.
Have you heard about the wonderful mother snake that will protect her babies at all costs to herself? This super mom snake will open her mouth as wide as possible when ever she senses danger in the immediate area and scoops all of her babies inside and scurries off to safety? What a terrific gal, this is how the southern Cottonmouth is said to protect her brood of unskilled young. The average litter of young delivered by this species is between 8 and 24 young, they average about 11 inches each, making this a real mouthful. I have meet and talked to three different people in my carrier who are adamant about witnessing such an event in the wilds of Georgia and Alabama. Want a surprise, I believe them and am sure they saw the large Cottonmouth take up pop smoke hairstyle some smaller ones next to her. The thing I differ with was the larger snakes motives! The larger Cottonmouth was doing what I like to call "having lunch"! Both Cottonmouths and Copperheads are members of the family Agkistrodon and one trait enamored to this family is they tend to be on the cannibalistic side and will eat members of their own species as fast as they would eat other species of snakes. Three young Cottonmouths are a mouthful and the digestive acids would kill any living entities in the throat or stomach. They are not regurgitated later unless she becomes ill and believe me, they are in no condition to crawl off. This myth is busted, never happened and never will, sorry guys.