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Snake Man theme song
by Carman Clark

All Snake Killers
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God has made us different,
he made us so unique.
We slither on the ground,
we have no hands and feet.
Though you find us scary,
or maybe just plain weird,
our intentions are not to hurt you
or cause you such great fear.
Our venom's not meant for humans
but to help us when we eat.
So, please stop the senseless killing
before we're all extinct.
We're not saying you have to love us
or tell us we're the best.
God's the one who created us.
So, treat us with respect.

written by Sarah Clark
for Southeastern Reptile Rescue



Fears are educated into us
and can, if we wish,
be educated out.
-Karl A. Merringer

A righteous man cares for
the needs of his animal...
Proverbs 12:10

The snake is an animal.
It has a backbone and a heart.
It has red blood.
It drinks water and eats food.
It breathes air and feels fear
just like every other
animal in the world.
And, it's in a body that's
the hardest thing
for the average
person to understand.

 Snake Huntin' 

Written by Jason Clark

People always say to me, "Snake hunting! Why in the world would you want to go looking for snakes?" My answer, well, I really don't know. But I do know that I have a lot of fun every time I go. On this trip, I decided to go to South Georgia and into North Florida. Now, depending on which side of the state line you are on depends on which snakes you can catch. In Georgia, you can catch all the venomous snakes you want but you have to leave the harmless ones alone. In Florida, you can catch all of the harmless snakes you want but not any venomous snakes. Any time you are going to be in desolate places around venomous snakes, you always want to have a companion with you. So, I took a good friend of mine - Warren Bond. Warren is a professional photographer and snake enthusiast. Because we were not planning on actually removing any of the snakes we catch from the wild, we atleast need to get some good pictures of them. Warren and I started out from my house at about 10a.m. and took our time driving south. Anytime we saw good "snake habitat" we would pull over, get out on foot and start walking. Once we got to South Georgia, Warren told me of a place where he recently found a timber rattlesnake along with several other beauties. He said it was only a couple miles off the interstate. At this point I didn't realize that a couple miles to Warren meant 20 miles give or take 5 or 6 for good measure. Once we finally got to our destination we found the property that we wanted to hunt had been sold and was now posted with no trespassing signs. On our way back to the interstate, we saw an old abandoned house that had fallen down and was now a pile of rubble. It also had a small pond about 75 feet away that looked perfect for wildlife. As Warren went to one side of the house, I approached the other. One of the first pieces of debris I lifted was a large white piece of crumpled plastic. As I moved it aside all I could see was some overgrown grass. Just before I walked away I decided to sweep the grass which revealed a nice sized cottonmouth. I yelled for Warren and told him to go grab his camera. Warren soon returned with his camera that weighs more than my truck and began to take some photos of the snake while it still laid in the spot where I found it. We then decided that it may be best for the snake if we release it at the edge of the pond near the house since the snake was lying pretty close to the road. I then used my snake hook to pick up the snake as Warren took a couple more shots of it. I then said to Warren, "Do you want to hold it while I take your picture?" Warren then began to pick the snake up when the snake decided he didn't want to be bothered any more and quickly slithered off into a pile of debris. So basically, I caught the snake and Warren released it! A hundred or so miles later and several hours of searching the sides of roads for snake activity, Warren located a pigmy rattlesnake lying motionless on a log. He called me over to have a look and pointed at the log. The snake was so well camouflaged it took quite a while to see it. Several more hours of searching turned up nothing so we decided to go grab some dinner and find a place to stay for the night. The next day as I drove from the restaurant where we ate breakfast, Warren was busy studying the map trying to find another good location for hunting. A few miles later, Warren told me to turn left at the next dirt road. I then saw the dirt road and turned in and immediately stopped and said, "Warren, this is not a road. It's a driveway." Warren assured me that it was in fact a road despite the fact that it had its own mailbox. Along the sides of this "road" were great places for snakes. In fact we found several black racers in no time at all. We then stumbled across several out of state license plates and we joked that whoever used to live here probably lured people in and killed them and kept the license plates as trophies. I then noticed a small piece of steel protruding from the ground. Upon investigating, I realized it to be an extreemely old chain. As I began pulling the buried chain from the ground, I found it to be much longer than I anticipated with no apparent end. Warren was not impressed with my find and quickly began whining about me waisting valuable snake hunting time. Warren then offered to go and get the truck and told me to give him the keys and he would turn it around and come pick me up. About 30 seconds after I heard my truck crank, I heard what sounded like tires spinning and my engine roaring. I then heard Warren yell to me, "Hey, come and get your truck unstuck." Warren had turned around in a huge sand pit and dug the tires in deep. I had been working really hard unearthing my really cool chain but had to put that on hold for the time being. We tried digging the sand out away from the tires and placing boards underneath them but it didn't work. At the time, I didn't realize where Warren had gotten the wood. I found out later that he had removed it from the wall of a nearby barn. After about twenty, hot, sweaty minutes we realized we were stuck! Just as I was saying to Warren that I couldn't believe we were stuck and not only stuck but stuck on private property, the owners pulled up. The lady rolled down her window and spoke to us for a minute and then said she was going to get her husband. Luckily the owners of the property were really nice and pulled us out with a huge front end loader. He then told us the story of the property and said that it had belonged to his wifes great great grandfather who originally owned about 7000 acres. He never allowed anyone on his property. They said that he once shot and killed a local tax accessor but wasn't caught until he killed two game wardens. The old timer bargained his way out of prison by giving away most of his land to a Florida State Legislature of whom the main road through the area is aptly named after. Even though the property owners were very nice, they made it clear that they did not like people trespassing on their property which was the reason for the sandpit on the narrow road. It was the only place to turn around. We inquired of the area where we found the old chain and was told that the land there was not theirs and that the owner was in prison for drug trafficking. As we pulled away, the land owners began smoothing out Warrens deep ruts in the sand making it ready for their next victim. Against Warrens protest, I backed my truck up to the twisted pile of chain that I had dug up. I fastened the chain to the truck and began pulling away and soon saw an oak tree trailing behind me. That's what was holding the chain. Thank God for the torque of an F-350. Now came the easy part. Or so I thought. The chain was so large and bulky, it was impossible to load in the bed of the truck alone. Insuring Warren that I was not leaving without the chain and that if he helped we could resume snake hunting much quicker, we loaded the chain. Following directions to a new, legal hunting area given to us by the trespassee's proved to be of fertile ground for reptiles. After about fifteen minutes of searching a fairly clear pine forest, Warren located another pigmy rattler underneath a small piece of bark. I stood by as Warren made the trek back to the truck to grab his camera for photos. We then drove on a little farther and came upon a river with wide sand bars. As soon as we got to the edge of the water we saw a snake cruising up and down the bank in the waters edge. It was a red belly water snake. As we began to walk farther down the river, Warren spotted another snake that quickly darted off into the thick brush. It was the same as the previous snake but was much better at hiding. It seemed to disappear right before our eyes. On the way back to the truck, I almost stepped on a four foot black racer who was comfortably stretched across my path. The snake seemed content with allowing us to watch it relax from about six feet away. I knew if I was to catch this snake, I would have to suddenly dive and hope for the best. I then made my move and took hold of a handful of now a not so relaxed snake who had no reservations about showing me its biting techniques. After a couple minutes of observation, I released the snake and watched it disapper into a large cavity beneath an old tree. As the evening approached and the day began to slowly cool down, we knew that the snakes would now begin to retreat from their shady daytime hideouts and would hopefully cross our path as we drove along some of the desolate roads. This part of snake hunting is called road cruising. You basically drive around real slow and hope for the best. A few times we would see black racers speed across the roadway and quickly disappear into the brush. After staring at the road mile after mile, your eyes begin to play tricks on you and every little stick or crack in the road is a snake as was the case with our next prize. While cruising down a one lane dirt road through the Apalachicola National Forest, I saw what appeared to be a snake. I slammed on brakes and jumped out of the truck while yelling for Warren to get his camera. Sure enough, it was a beautiful gray rat snake lying motionless on the side of the road. Warren and I stood facing each other admiring the snake on the ground inbetween us. All of a sudden the snake decided to take off like a bolt of lightening. Warren and I simultaneously dove for the snake. We succeded in catching it but not before banging our heads together and almost knocking each other out. What a scene that would have been. Two guys lying in the middle of the road with snakes crawling around them and being trampled on by free ranging cows. Yes, there were cows walking around everywhere. Regaining our composure we drove on and sped down a busy paved road with a line of cars behind us. Then I saw it. A snake lying in the middle of my lane. I knew if I pulled over, one of the cars behind us would surely crush it. So, I stopped in the middle of the road and blocked traffic. Jumping out of the truck, hoping not to get hit myself, I grabbed the snake and then moved the truck from the road. This was a lucky catch. It was a hognose snake. We layed it on the tailgate and watched its famous antics. It writhed and twisted, deficated and tried to regurgitate a meal and then concluded by lying on its back, tongue hanging out and mouth wide open, trying its best to look dead. Each time I would flip the snake on its belly, it immediately rolls on its back to remind us it is dead.
During our trip, some other snake hunters asked us how we managed to find so many snakes this weekend. And I think Warren put it best by saying, "Well, we look around for an area that looks like really good snake habitat and then go in the other direction."

By the way, the chain measured over 182 feet in length and is well over 400 pounds!
It now lines Jason's driveway.

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