Friday, August 12, 2011

Water Holes

I have been training a new dispatcher since I got back from vacation and as is bound to happen she shares her interests with the other operators in the communications center. I try to avoid the conversations as they tend to be rather robust, centering on subjects like gross foods and poisonous animals.

It turns out Lisa is a vast, bottomless fund of interesting news about snakes, scorpions, arachnids and God knows what. Apparently the Keys are teeming with Nature's assassins in a multiplicity of guises so terrible one barely stands a chance of surviving a modest stroll through the woods.

Which is odd because I have been managing to do that for years. Lisa was recently stung by a scorpion; I have never even seen one let alone faced off against one. I saw hundreds when I lived in Italy but they never bothered me. The Keys are also putrid I am told with rattlesnakes.

I suppose they must be but so far I am bound to report I have encountered none. I hate snakes but all I see usually are harmless and shy black racers. When I say I hate snakes I mean they give me the creeps but I respect their usefulness and their right to live in peace.

Much of these islands goes under water from time to time which makes it rather hard for creatures that live on the ground or burrow under ground to make a year round residence in these places. I fear that talking about these potential critter encounters may jinx me and I shall suddenly find myself facing snakes and insects in droves especially as I can say that so far Cheyenne and I have lived charmed lives in that respect.

These backwoods are lovely and peaceful places to wander and most often Cheyenne and I are alone out here. Sometimes we hear crashing in the undergrowth, Key deer perhaps or small birds rattling dry palms. Rustling is usually produced by geckos or lizards of one sort or another and we two wander unmolested, unmolesting in turn. We neither hunt nor fish, Cheyenne sniffs scents and I photograph stuff. Perhaps our non ferocious approach gives us a measure of immunity.

In sepia tint these places look far more mysterious and perhaps even sinister than they are in real life. Snakes or no snakes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

The last picture has tones of old scifi movies, and I am 1/2 expecting the creature from the black lagoon to emerge (granted that was filmed at Silver Springs - I think...).

Conchscooter said...

I keep forgetting to play with the sepia setting. It yields surprising images.

RichardM said...

If you hate snakes, you need to move to the arctic. No snakes! There are a few other things to worry about but no snakes.

Amanda said...

Your colleague's comment about the Keys supposedly being teeming with rattlesnakes struck me as odd.
The presentation on poisonous snakes in Florida I attended last year at the Naples Zoo indicated that the Keys were in fact the least likely place in Florida to find rattlers. Too much water. Rattle snakes like dry land. Still, I'm sure there are some eastern diamondbacks and dusky pygmies in the hammocks.

Coral snakes and cottonmouths, on the other hand ...

Ultimately, it's the spiders in the backwoods of the Keys that give me the biggest pause.

Anonymous said...

Do rattle snakes in Florida hibernate? They do in Montana. I almost stepped on a 5 ft long rattler next to the road while walking the dog a couple of weekends ago. Last weekend, we almost ran into a bear, don't know if it was a grizzly or black bear as we didn't wait around to find out, but I could smell it.

Bob from Livingston Montana

Conchscooter said...

Nice try Richard, but if I had to live snake free I'd take Iceland first. I like their fuck you attitude to international financiers.
I think Amanda is correct about rattlers and as for other snakes they are more prevalent close to the mainland I wonder if iguanas eat snakes or snake eggs? If so I had better stop hating them.
Bob you live altogether too close to gruesome nature. I cant stop thinking about snow in July...

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

Cuba claims to be snake free.

Chuck and the Pheebs said...


The people I know who concern themselves with the perils of nature usually do so to justify an indoors sedentary life munching Cheetos whilst watching Dancing with the Stars.

A wasp sting can kill me - yet I worry more about drunk ass idiot tourists mowing me down on rental scooters than whether or not nature attacks.

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!


Walking barefoot in the mangroves,


Conchscooter said...

Hmmm, Cuba gives the finger to international banksters too, after a fashion, unless they are called Vesco. And the riding would be excellent.
I guess Chuck I could live to regret saying it but things on the dangerous animal front seem overblown.