Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Snake by any other name...

Yes, yesterday afternoon,
while many people were
watching and discussing
a talking, tweeting weiner,
we went to the beach.

When we first arrived, there was some big truck/machine out front making a lot of noise. It looked like an oil derrick. It was loud. As we walked onto the sand, we saw a long hose running from the machine into the water. Pumping? Perhaps.

For a minute I wondered if it was a good idea to swim while they were working. I assured myself that they would have posted "no swimming" signs if we were supposed to stay away. Right?

So the girls headed for the water and I headed for the beach blanket with my copy of Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting With Jesus (thanks, Dad!) -- which I am really enjoying, well, enjoying the writing, the "dispatches from America's class war" are infuriating and upsetting.

After a few minutes reading, I heard screaming. Then shouts. "Snake!" "There's a snake in the water!" At first I thought they were playing, joking about the hose in the water, but when I got up to investigate, I saw that it was indeed a snake.

Now what? What kind of snake is it? Does it bite? Is it poisonous? How many are there in this water? Did it come to shore because of all the noise and vibrations the machine was making? What should you do if you get bit -- rush to the emergency room or is a band-aid enough?

Can I just say how glad I am that this snake appeared the week after my friends were visiting from California, since we went swimming here twice with them?

Even though I am now skittish about swimming there until I sort out this snake business, the 10yo went back in the water as soon as the snake swam away. Yikes!

Update: Thanks to my friend, Virginia, for identifying this as a Northern Water Snake. I was happy to read this sentence at the link: "Northern water snakes bite people just as often as chipmunks and bluebirds which is to say just about every time they are grabbed." Whew!



batguano said...

It could be that the snake uses sound to navigate in the water, and so was lost, being "blinded" by the noise from the pump.

ina said...

I think you could be right, batguano.

m. heart said...

At first glance I thought the hose was the snake you were talking about and was just about to freak out and scream "NO WAY!" and scare my poor dog. I would be terrified of even that smaller, actual snake, but at least in comparison to the hose it's a bit less menacing. Meaning that at least I couldn't fit inside of the darn thing.