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Snakes. Yikes.

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I was just thinkng about a time not to long ago when I found a full grown Copper Head in my back yard. He's taking a dirt nap now but it got me to thinking about running into snakes while out Geocaching. I have not run into any while GCing but I always "try" to be on the look out for them.

What kind of snakes, if any, have you run into while stomping through the woods looking for the almighty cache? What precautions, if any, do you take?

Any pics of what you've seen?



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I've found garter and bull snakes in my area while out caching (Minnesota). There are eastern timber rattlers a bit south and east of me, but not where I live. When I find a snake, it usually darts away as fast as it can. I like snakes though, so they don't bother me at all-- at least not the ones around here.


Last time I was caching in AZ though, I was *very* careful not to put my hand anyplace without first poking around with a stick. There, you've got to worry about scorpions too...

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I have a foolproof way to keep them away. When I remember my camera, there will be no snakes. When I leave it at home, I see them quite often. :rolleyes:


I'm always glad to see a snake. They are interesting animals, and much less dangerous when you know where they are. Diamondbacks are pretty common around here. Once I even saw a Rosy Boa. I was rattled at only once, when I was moving so fast I was past the snake before either of us saw the other. Most of the time the encounter is simply an opportunity to see an amazing animal.


I'm much more afraid of ticks.

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A few weeks ago, I was walking with my dog up a fire road to place a cache. The dog (who was on a leash) saw something on the side of the trail -- I lost my balance (but not the leash) and the next thing I know the dog is three feet away from a coiled rattler. I pulled her back and we continued on. I regreted that I did not get a picture; Cricket regretted that I did not let her go after the snake. Since then I have been a little more careful with the dog. I also carry a walking stick if I think there will be bushwhacking, and try to look where I step.

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This cache of mine has had a few recent logs mentioning rattlesnake encounters. One finder dodged 6 on the way. Another bravely snagged the cache and signed the log with one buzzing 10 feet away. Another cache of mine about a mile away also had several reports of rattlesnakes nearby.


Two weeks ago my wife actually stepped on a rattler as she was jumping to a rock. Scared the tar out of her.


I also saw this guy in last summer on the way to a cache in the same general area:



I saw this guy too, but these don't bother me. I just wish rattlesnakes were as easy to spot. Why is it that the dangerous ones (rattlesnakes and copperheads) have such good camo, while harmless snakes stick out?




<<< putting on flameproof suit, flame away >>>>

Edited by briansnat
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For whatever reason, I've encountered a lot of snakes while Geocaching.


When I'm caching locally (California), I'm quite comfortable with them since I know which ones to avoid (the rattlers). One time, a baby rattlesnake (very dangerous) trapped itself at the edge of the trail harrassing passerbys. It didn't know how to escape. I had to get two long sticks and push it away from the trail. After it attacked one of the sticks several times, it went on its merry way.


When I'm caching in less familiar territory, I'm much more careful. I encountered a colorful snake while caching near Deception Pass State Park up in Washington State not too long ago, but not knowing the locale and the type of snake it was, I decided to give it room to slither away.

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Recently, these lovely breeding indigos - they were also shedding, hence the white color



on Thanksgiving day we did some cache maintenance in the Green Swamp and saw this well fed (hey, it was Thanksgiving!) water mocassin




I like snakes, I like them a lot....


Oh yes, pygmy rattlers, lots and lots of pygmy rattlers...

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We've come across rattlesnakes twice. Both times, they were in dry grass alongside the trail, and were completely invisible -- one rattled and scared the !@#$ out of us, the other drew attention to itself by slithering away. We always carry sticks, and the stick goes into the grass/brush/rocks before any feet or hands do! Often caches are hidden in piles of nice, warm, sunny rocks here. I'm surprised we haven't met more snakes.


(one of my "favorite" cache hints: "don't be scared to stick your hand in there!" It's referring to a hidey-hole in a junk-and-rock pile, the cache is a blind grab because of the angle, and rattlesnakes have been seen right at ground zero. It's all well and good for the owner to tell you not to be afraid, but it's not his hand!)

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I've run into two snakes while caching. Since I have a severe snake phobia, these experiences were terrifying and funny in restropect.


One time I was on a steep hill looking for a cache that was supposed to be hidden in a gopher hole. I spent a long time poking around the holes with my walking stick and nearly stepped on a big snake lying in the open. I ran 30ft up the slopes in a few seconds flat while the snake "ran" downhill. I felt pain all over me and I thought I was bitten but luckily it was just nervous knots...


The other time I was searching for a different cache also on a hill covered with knee high grass. I made a lot of noise with my walking stick. After I gave up (another DNF <_< ) I was walking in the open area without any grass so I thought it was safe and I again nearly stepped on another big snake. I got so startled I fell down into a big ditch. got a little muddy :rolleyes:


I only geocache strictly in the city...my bushwhacking days are over!

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Just the day before yesterday I was in the woods, kneeling to peer under the edge of a rock, and I looked up to see a four foot bullsnake coiled up right next to my face. I must have come very close to stepping on it just a few minutes earlier. It sat still long enough for us to admire it for a bit, then slid off under a rock that I had been recently considering sticking my hand under to feel for the cache.

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When I'm caching in less familiar territory, I'm much more careful. I encountered a colorful snake while caching near Deception Pass State Park up in Washington State not too long ago, but not knowing the locale and the type of snake it was, I decided to give it room to slither away.


Only native snake you have to worry about here in Washington is the Western Rattle Snake.


I was caching around the Lewiston, Idaho/Clarkston, Wash. area a week ago and I seen more snakes (non poison) in just that one day than I have all spring everywhere else.


Have not come across any buzztails yet while caching. The baby ones scare me the most because they have no way to warn you.

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We went to a snake demo a few weeks ago that talked a bit about identification and other interesting facts. We went caching a while later and a copperhead slithered right between 2 of the boys that were with us and crawled up under the tree right where we needed to replace the cache. Then last weekend I went caching down in tennesee and saw about a dozen snakes on the road going to the cache. Needless to say I was a bit nervous looking for caches that day.

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I have encountered snakes at least four times in my one year of geocaching, but only one of the encounters was with a poisonous snake (a copperhead): Dismal Delight.


The above cache was in Virginia, but back home in the Ozarks (Southwestern Missouri), copperheads are also common. Someone was bit by a copperhead while geocaching around here about a year ago and had to go to the hospital. I think the log has since been deleted, otherwise I'd link to it.


While they are not as common around here, cachers sometimes encounter cottonmouths: Creek Cache

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We came across, what we believe to be, a juvenile Timber Rattlesnake on June 1st while we were doing Combo Loaf (GCMGVV). Evidently the little guy climbed in to the birdhouse...devoured the eggs or nestlings and then had to wait for digestion before he could exit the hole. Photo available with MooseMaMa's log for that cache.



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I've seen plenty of snakes and they don't bother me; it is just one more thing to keep a lookout for.


For poisonous snakes, I've seen timber rattlers along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, and a Copperhead while taking a nice hike in the country outside of Nashville.


My biggest surprise was as a newbie, when I turned over a rotted log to discover the longest Queen Snake I'd ever seen.


And my favorite snake picture was of the photogenic fellow below; he stayed still and posed for numerous pictures by my group when we found "The Upper Yough Trek" in Maryland. The best advice given in the Northeast Forum's "snake thread" was that this is a Water Snake. Funny, for timber rattlers I've always concentrated on moving away from the area rather than getting my camera out!



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I was on my way down from Beus Canyon in Ogden, Utah and almost stepped on a diamond back. Luckily it moved before I got too close, so I managed to see it before I got to it. I just backed-off for a few seconds and it slithered into the brush on the side of the trail. No harm done.


I've also seen a few "generic brown snakes" along the Weber River.

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Saw a black rat snake this past weekend while hunting for a cache.


The cache was supposedly "just off the trail", but I ended up quite a ways off the trail hunting, while my wife stayed on the trail. On my way back over to her, I saw him sitting on a log in what little bit of sunlight was peeking through the trees. My first thought was, "Oh, wow. A snake!" and continued on my way. He didn't mess with me, and I didn't mess with him. It was only when I was on my way back to the car that I thought, "Oh my gosh! There was a snake back there, and had I not seen him, I might've walked right into him!" (I tend to panic after something happens, when I slow down and have time to think about it. Messed-up, I know ...)


Didn't tell my wife about it yet -- she's petrified of snakes (though she's fascinated by them when they're behind glass, in a cage, etc.)


So far, that's been our only "encounter". (In fact, that's one of the first snakes I've seen "in the wild" since I was about 10 years old and found one near my grandfather's chicken coop!)

Edited by RandLD
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Four, I think, but nobody bigger around than my finger. I'm not phobic, but I'm not fond, either. So it was a slightly queasy experience when one slithered out from under me as I sat cross-legged getting a good reading to place my first cache. I don't know if I sat on the poor sod or he had a hidey hole I sat on or what. He seemed unperturbed.


It's funny that the little, harmless ones are so passive, like frogs. And the poisonous ones can be aggressive.

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:)Here in the desert southwest one will cross trails with a snake quite often (don't mess with them and you'll be ok) ........ :)


This picture was posted to one of my caches here in Yuma, HERE This was from March 28th... a bit early for snakes in this area but then one never knows..........

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I've run into alot of snakes in Eastern PA. Gerter, Copperheads, Rat, Black and a bunch of water snakes that were big but I don't know what they were. They usually seem more afraid of me than I am of them. Of course I am never running up to grab them either!

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I have seen I think 3 so far. One my sister almost grabbed with her bare hand while climbing over a rock, one that was dead on the trail (threw rocks at it to make sure...since it smelled. had flies buzzing around it, and didn't move after several direct hits we accepted that it was of no threat), and one long thin one that was hiding right where the cache I needed was. That one scared me because it looked beat up and dead (I had stopped in my tracks close to it and thought at first it was a stick). I yelled snake as I clotheslined my son as he started past me. I tossed a rock at it and the thing didn't move so my son, in his infinite wisdom of all things great and small, started forward to grab the cache. I grabbed him and scolded him just as he saw the snakes tongue flick out (I thought it was a bug on it). Tossed another rock and nailed it...that thing sounded off like a heavy metal concert! I had never heard one before but had been told that they don't sound like hte ones in the movies. I took off in the opposite direction, my son wants to continue checking it out (he got chewed out for that one). When I yelled at him he joined me several feet away on a high spot and we listened to that thing hissing for 5-10 minutes! It is very true, you never forget that sound and I made my son be very quiet and listen to it so he will never forget it either. I am so glad my daughter wasnt with us because she has a tendency to run ahead without thinking or looking...scary thought!

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I see them quite often here in southern Arizona. I have had two ratlesnake encounters while caching. The first time I apparently didn't notice the snake as I retrieved the cache but definitely noticed when I went moments later to return it (I moved the cache slightly to avoid annoying the snake).


The second was last weekend, when searching for a cache in the Huachuca Mts. Scott of Team Mule Ears flushed the snake accidentally, but managed to snap a photo as the snake retreated.


Big Rattler

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Yesterday I came a tad too close to one pissed off bullsnake. On the last stretch of our bike ride yesterday, my friends and I were riding along this ditch toward home. I stopped to take a short break, and about 10 seconds later heard a...noise. It sounded like a pump trying to get water but catching air, so I started looking around. About 5' away at my feet was a good 6' snake with a body the size of my forearm. The front half of its body was coiled in a striking position and it was hissing up a storm. I worked my way away and guided my friends around where I had seen it. Fun times.

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You should always be aware of where you are walking. I was playing around with backtrack after leaving a cache and I ran into this rather large specimen. I almost stepped on him/or her. It was very cooperative about taking pictures though. PA photo. Quehanna Wild Area.


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