Tag Archives: snakes


This past week, my six-year-old was playing in the backyard, when he discovered a snake close beside him. He called to his sister who then called to me, saying there was a baby copperhead in the grass.  I rushed outside and caught it by the head with a stick; on first glance, it did look like a copperhead.  I told my oldest son to bring something to “take care of it” with. He came from the house with a container to put it in — not quite what I had in mind — so we pushed it into the clear little bowl.

The snake immediately flipped over, opened its mouth, and dropped out its tongue! It was playing dead!  Though the copperhead would have wanted it’s life spared, they don’t know that trick. A few years ago, we had found a much-larger, black-colored snake that did the same thing. This snake was a hognose snake.

Just to be sure, I did a quick Internet search of photos and found pictures of hognose snakes that are similar in color to copperheads — and just like ours. Through the bowl we looked at his nose; it was a little upturned. We now had a confirmed hognose on our hands.

Much relieved, I took out the snake so the children could hold it. When we found the previous snake, we learned that hognose snakes aren’t poisonous, rarely bit, and can make good pets. The snake cooperated; within a few minutes, it was no longer frightened.

That was on Sunday…we still have the hognose. His name now is Snake-ily, and he lives in our house. Fortunately, we had a “spare” reptile set-up in storage, so he’s very comfortable and doing well. And next week, we’ll be starting a unit study about snakes. 🙂

Rattlesnake Steak

file000838868154Our camping trip in Tennessee over Memorial Day was a fun time of visiting with family members. It was also the first time I had ever eaten rattlesnake. 

On the last full day of the trip, most of the children and a few of the adults decided to take a short hike to a deeper place in the river known as the Swimming Hole. The hike involved following a path through the woods; a large group of children went on ahead and my brother, his grown son, and two of his son’s friend brought up the rear. It was on this path that my nephew nearly stepped on a rattlesnake. 

Thankfully, all the younger children had already gone by. My nephew and one of his friends went into action and quickly killed the snake. They brought it back to the campsite among the excited shouts of the kids. 

My niece’s husband, a true southern boy from Alabama, knew just what to do. Surrounded by a host of curious children, he skinned and gutted the snake. They saw the two mice it had eaten recently along with its heart and entrails. Quite nauseating to me, but great science for the kids. 

My nephew then sautéed the snake in salad dressing and put it on a grill over the campfire. When it was well-done, he cut it up and passed it around. Now I’m not an adventurous eater at all, but how often do you eat rattlesnake fresh out of the woods? Everyone took a small piece, including me. And you know, it wasn’t bad — sort of a mix between fish and chicken in flavor. Even my peanut-butter and jelly eating five-year-old gave it a try. 

Camping is always an adventure, and this trip was no exception. Next time we eat rattlesnake, though, I’d prefer it to be in a restaurant. I’d rather avoid the snakes on the path.