In my line of work as a snake trapper I have been asked some pretty off-the-wall questions.
Of course, I get ones like this: What in the world inspired you to do this type of work? Or is there something wrong with you mentally for wanting to trap and help snakes?
But there have been a lot of myths about snakes that people seem to really believe. Even when I try telling them that what they hear or read is impossible or not true it can turn into a very strong debate. So most times I let them believe what they want. People are happy with my services so that is all that matters.
I thought I would list some of the common snake myths that I have encountered with my everyday work.
Myth 1 - Snakes will bite the end of its tail and form a hoop so they can roll away when scared.
Not true. A snake can bite its tail, but they are not anatomically proportioned to form the shape of a hoop and roll.
Myth 2 - A mother snake will swallow her young if there is a predator near or any type of danger is present. She will than spit them out later when it is safe.
Not true. A female snake, no matter if she lays eggs or gives live birth, will never stay around to protect her young. Yes, you will see a female rattlesnake stay by her young after giving birth for a couple of days but that is because she is exhausted. Also, if she swallowed her young they would die so that is just not possible.
Myth 3 (or Snake Fact) - Snakes will chase after you.
There have been stories about snakes chasing after a person not only in the United States but in other countries. The fact is, a male snake may chase after you if it is mating season and he feels threatened or defending his territory. You may have six to eight males competing for one female. But this can vary depending on the snake species. But generally speaking a snake just does not decide to chase you out of the blue.
Myth 4 - Snakes drink milk. That is how the milk snake got it's name.
Not true. Snakes do not drink milk. They are not mammals. Milk snakes received their name because they hang around a barn perhaps where there are dairy cows, but only because of mice.
Myth 5 - Black rat snakes and copperheads can breed.
Not true. Black rat snakes are egg layers and the copperhead gives live birth. This is anatomically impossible.
Hope this answers some of your questions and perhaps satisfies your curiosity. As always if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to email me at email@example.com. I am always happy to help.
Tammy McCormack is a professional snake trapper and writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.