Teva Tip 15 - Fears of Nature 3 - Snakes
We asked 200 Jewish professionals, students, parents and singles across the United States, "What are your greatest fears of nature?"
The results are interesting. The number one fear is large animals (the type of animal depending on the geographic location of the respondent). The number two fear is snakes. Number three is spiders and insects (bees, mosquitoes). The forth most common fear is getting lost. And number five is "going to the bathroom in the woods." Over the next several months, I will offer insights into dealing with each of these fears. While it is important to be aware of potential dangers in the outdoors, there is nothing "out there" which cannot be managed nicely.
Ever since the "snake" tempted Eve into eating from the forbidden fruit, people and snakes have not gotten along. In fact, God says to the
And snakes are just about everywhere. They serve a vital role in balancing the eco system. Snakes consume everything from fish to mice. In return, they are prey to everything from birds and fish to squirrels. There are thousands of different types of snakes – on land, in fresh water and in the ocean. A very, very small percent of these snakes are venomous. The most venomous snakes live in the ocean. And a large percentage of the more poisonous snakes are found in Australia and Africa.
North America has a few different types of poisonous snakes.
The most common are rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins (aka cottonmouth). The most likely places to find the rattlesnakes are in rocky areas, in piles of brush and even under tarps at your campsite. Copperheads prefer more grassy areas when they're not wandering into populated areas. And water moccasins are so named because they are found in water – swamps, Everglades, streams and lakes.
Copperheads and rattlesnakes usually communicate their presence. Rattlesnakes shake their rattle and it sound very much like a loud baby rattle.
Copperheads give off a distinctive cucumber-like smell. Water moccasins are much more difficult to detect. They move silently and quickly. And, rattlesnakes do not always rattle (especially after they have eaten or have been procreating). However, should you be scrambling over some boulders and hear a rattling sound, there's only one thing to do – STAND PERFECTLY STILL. The same if you are walking through a field and begin to smell cucumbers. Don't move.
Take a few deep breaths and look around you without moving your head.
Snakes blend into their surroundings very easily and are not easy to spot. If you look carefully and still do not see the snake, there's a good chance that it's under a rock or log nearby. Remain patient and keep listening. Sooner or later the snake will make noise or begin to move. When you locate the snake, very slowly and with baby steps, move away from it.
Neither rattlesnakes nor copperheads move exceptionally fast. And, they can only strike out for a distance of ½ the length of their bodies. So, if
there is 4-foot long snake that is already 6 feet away from you, then you're safe. Even if it used all of its strength it would still fall 2 feet short of striking you.
Remember that snakes are no different from dogs, cats, trees or any other part of creation. All they are doing is following the directions of Creator to
be who they are. And when you see a rattlesnake or copperhead for the first time, don't forget to say the She-he-keyanu Blessing, "Thank you God, for allowing me to keeping me alive and allowing me to be at
this place for this experience."