CopperheadBlack Rat SnakeNot Just for Kids

Snakes -- Enemies or Friends?

story and illustrations by Mary and Sarah Brewer

Snakes are most active in the summer, but this time of year snakes are looking for places to hibernate. If you happen to see a snake in your house, do not panic! It's best to pick them up with something other than your hands. That's because it isn't always easy to tell what kind of snake you have. Here are two ways to get them out:

1 Sweep the snake into a trash can or other large container. Take it outside to let it go.snake stick

2 Make a snake stick. (pictured at right) How? Take a long stick, attach a rope to one end and make a loop that you can tighten and loosen. Then put the loop in front of the snake's head; he will put his head through and you pull it tight (not too tight!). The snake will coil around the stick and you can carry it outside to a safe place.

PleaseRattlesnake do not kill the snake because they are just as important as any other animal. Plus it is against state law to kill a snake.

We had a snake in our house last summer. Our mother, Sharon Brewer, was washing dishes when she saw a black rat snake stretched across the cabinet behind her. She jumped up on the sink and climbed across the counters to the phone and called her neighbor. He came with his homemade snake stick, got the snake out and let it go in the woods. Some people still have a fear of snakes even though they know the snakes are harmless.

After our snake experience, we asked other people about theirs. Sarah Blaser had a King Cobra in her bathroom; this was in Penang Malaysia in 1975. Her mother found it and they got a gardener that worked for them to get it out. Sarah was in her bedroom at the time and remembers being very scared.

We also interviewed our neighbors, the Brumbaughs. They had a snake in their bathroom. It was coiled around the radiator. Jack turned on the heat, and the snake came off the radiator into a bag he held open on the floor.

Another time they heard a snake in their attic. They called animal control, who said the snake was in the attic looking for food, probably mice. They said when the food was gone the snake would leave.

And another time, Jack heard another snake in the attic. He tried a different idea this time. He went up into the attic, turned on the lights and played loud music hoping to annoy the snake. It must have worked because he didn't hear the snake again.

Snakes are an important part of our environment. They help control mice and provide food for other animals. So if you happen to see a snake, remember it is probably not poisonous ­ but still be careful and don't panic!

Some common snakes you'll see in Maryland are the Black Rat Snake, Garter Snake and the Ring-Necked Snake. These are not poisonous snakes, but they may bite, so be careful. Garter Snake

Black rat snakes are black with white bellies; some may have little speckles of white on their backs.

Copperheads and Timber Rattlesnakes are poisonous. The Timber Rattlesnake is only found in the mountains, and, like all rattlesnakes, has a rattle on the end of its tail. If you come too near, it shakes its rattle, warning you away. The Copperhead is found all over Maryland. It can be cream colored, beige or orange with dark brown hourglass shapes on its back. Young copperheads have yellow on the end of their tails.

Kids' Calendar

Playmobil Play Date @ Be Beep Sat. Nov. 14 (11-1 @ Annapolis; 2-4 @ Severna Park)-Dig into Playmobil play sets and drive remote control trains. 558A Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park: 410/544-1844 2327C Forest Dr., Annapolis: 410/224-4066.

Kids' Play Sat. Nov. 14 (11:30am)-Aesop's Fables come to life on-stage in Chesapeake Music Hall's series for kids. Hot dog, PBJ & ice cream for lunch. 339 Busch's Frontage Rd., Annapolis. $8.95: 800/406-0306.

Make Seniors Smile Wed. Nov. 18 (10am)-Kids ages 2-5 make presents to give to residents of Sunrise Assisted Living Community in a visit that same day. Chesapeake Children's Museum, Festival at Riva Rd. Shopping Ctr., Annapolis. $4: 410/267-0677.

Ballerina Tells a Tale Thurs. Nov. 19 (7pm)-Meet a real, costumed ballerina and listen as she reads from The Nutcracker, a ballet story of sweet magic and holiday delights. Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center: 410/573-1115.

Extinction Stinks Fri. Nov. 20 (10-11am)-Kids ages 8+ discover what makes animals go extinct, and which animals are, or may soon be, endangered. Patuxent Res. Refuge - North Tract, Rt. 198 btwn. BW Pkwy. & Rt. 32. Rsvp: 410/674-3304.

Fly Away Home Fri. Nov. 20 (4-5pm)-Kids ages 8+ learn why birds migrate and what dangers they face on their perilous journey. Patuxent Research Refuge - North Tract, Rt. 198 btwn. BW Pkwy. & Rt. 32. Rsvp: 410/674-3304.

Seed Stories Sat. Nov. 21 (1-3pm)-Discover seeds and how they float, fly and hitch rides on people and animals. Dress warmly and wear fuzzy socks to see how many hitch a ride on you. Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Lothian. $2.50; rsvp: 410/741-9330.

Duck, Duck, Goose Sat. Nov. 21 (1:30-3pm)-Kids ages 6+ learn what makes ducks different from geese on a nature hike thru Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary. Upper Marlboro. $1 class fee; $2 entry fee; rsvp: 301/888-1410.

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VolumeVI Number 45
November 12-18, 1998
New Bay Times

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