View Full Version : Snake Tangled Up and Dying in Garden Rescued by Determined Man

09-23-2014, 12:32 PM

Editorís note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on January 4, 2012. Enjoy!
Written by Steve OíNeil of EarthShine Nature Programs (http://www.earthshinenature.com/home)
Late one summer evening I received a wildlife rescue call from a man who said that he had a Copperhead entangled in a piece of yard netting. I asked the man if he was sure that it was a Copperhead because people often confuse several different species of harmless snakes with Copperheads, but whatever kind of snake it was, I knew that I had to hurry. The snake (http://www.care2.com/causes/snake-hopelessly-entangled-woman-cuts-him-free.html) had been stuck in the netting for 48 hours!
I drove the 20 miles or so to the location and found that the snake was indeed a venomous Northern Copperhead and it was severely entangled in a mass of plastic yard netting. The homeowner, a concerned lover of all wildlife, had taken the time to set up a work light over the area where the snake was tangled in order to make the work easier for me. After looking over the situation I quickly realized that I would need tools to keep me away from the business end of the snake.
The Snake Was Exhausted and Dehydrated from the 48 Hour Struggle to Break Free
I borrowed a pair of scissors and an X-acto knife from the homeowner and began to cut away the netting. As I cut I saw that the snake was exhausted. Its lengthy entanglement in the netting had pushed it to the edge. It was so tired that it could barely move. It was undoubtedly dehydrated and possibly in shock from spending the day in the summerís heat even though the homeowner had the foresight to keep the snake in the shade and occasionally sprinkle cool water over it to keep it from overheating. These actions are what surely kept the snake alive.
I worked slowly and carefully moving from the tail toward the head cutting the netting one strand at a time. I used scissors where the netting was looser and had to use the X-acto knife, a type of razor, to cut the net strands where they were pressing tightly against the snakeís skin. When I got close to the snakeís head I had to be very careful not to hurt it and not to get hurt myself.
He Flicked His Tongue
I was finally able to gently cut the last piece of netting free and the snake went limp, took a deep breath and flicked its tongue a few times. I gently placed a clear plastic tube over the snakeís head and first few inches of its body so that I could examine it for injuries without any danger of it biting me. It was so exhausted that it just let me pick it up in the tube and give it a quick check before releasing it into the nearby woods where it crawled slowly toward a nearby creek, obviously quite happy to be free. I thanked the man who shared habitat with the snake for taking care of him until I could free him and felt good in the knowledge that I had helped this small snake survive.
Some may wonder why I went to such trouble to rescue a venomous snake. I do so because venomous or non-venomous, all snakes are part of a healthy ecosystem and they should be allowed to live and thrive and play their part in their natural environment. Without snakes and other carnivores helping to control populations of other animals like rodents, birds and insects, nature would quickly fall out of balance and the disastrous consequences of species overpopulation could follow.
Do Not Use Garden Netting
Snakes are one of the most beautiful and beneficial but also one of the most misunderstood and mistreated creatures on Earth. Please, if you encounter a snake in the wild or in your yard please do not kill or harm it in any way ó step back and marvel at its beauty and complexity and learn more about its uniqueness and connectedness to nature and to all of us. And please consider not using plastic yard netting if at all possible. It is notorious for trapping and killing all sorts of wildlife from reptiles and amphibians to birds and deer. To see more of Steveís rescue work, visit the Earthshine Nature website (http://www.earthshinenature.com/home). Thereís also a 13 minute video of the copperhead rescue (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eytlQdwg-S0).

http://dingo.care2.com/pictures/causes/uploads/2012/01/stevee1-300x228.jpg (http://dingo.care2.com/pictures/causes/uploads/2012/01/stevee1.jpg)Steve, shown here with a black snake, is a wildlife educator. Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase.

Related Stories:
Snake Hopelessly Entangled: Woman Cuts Him Free (http://www.care2.com/causes/snake-hopelessly-entangled-woman-cuts-him-free.html)
Gecko Saves Friend from Snake (http://www.care2.com/causes/gecko-saves-friend-from-snake.html)
Woman Guards Snake From Attack: What Would You Have Done? (http://www.care2.com/causes/woman-guards-snake-from-attack-what-would-you-have-done.html)

09-23-2014, 01:40 PM
I am sure today's Safara appreciates the snake rescue as well! It is great the homeowner gave the snake shade and even sprinkled it with water so it did not overheat! Job well done for all concerned!

09-25-2014, 06:46 PM
What a couple of nice (and brave!) folks, to make sure that copperhead survived! Thanks for posting this!