Rookie Snake Mistake

There was a Garter Snake in the middle of the path this morning – harmless – we see them all the time and everywhere, but it got me thinking about my snake bite last month.  I posted a quick snippet about it on Facebook when it happened, but below are some of the details.

June 7, 2011, I was weeding around the pool, and I know there are snakes that like to hang out under the pool decking, but I didn’t see this snake camouflaged in the grass before it lashed out and bit me.  I stayed calm.  My reaction was simply “I just got bit by a snake.”  At the time of the bite, I was under the impression that my attacker was an Eastern Massasauga, one of three poisonous snakes in New York, because it was the same kind of snake I took pictures of on June 26, 2009.  One of these snakes was on our walkway near the house.  It was about 4 ft. long, I freaked a little, but I put on my big rubber boots and fire gloves, grabbed a five gallon bucket and threw the snake in.  I admired him for some time before I dumped him in the ravine across the street.  I thought ‘that takes care of that.’  But we had several more encounters with this type of snake that summer.

So even though I stayed calm when I was bitten by the snake, I decided I had better do some more research to make sure I had correctly identified the snake and I wasn’t going to die or anything.  There was a little bleeding from the bite, but it didn’t hurt, and I decided if it started to hurt, or go numb, turn red, or swell, that’s when I would go to the hospital.

My research this go-around pegged the snake as an Eastern Milk Snake – non-poisonous, harmless.   If you look at the comparison photo, the markings are similar, but the Massasauga has a stout body and a rattle at the end of the tail.  Rookie mistake.


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