We had tromped through mud and rocks for a good twenty minutes down a trail we found at a local park. We made our way to the river side, only to find ourselves thirty feet up a cliff looking down on the swift moving water below. By then the kids were tired and longing for the playground we had left behind by the parking lot, so we turned around and headed back.
The big kids were about fifteen feet in front of me and Baby E on the trail when they passed by a snake slithering through the leaves and small plants parallel to them. They walked past in ignorance, but I was worried Baby E would see it and freak out so I grabbed his hand and rushed by. When I knew we were a safe distance away, I stopped them and we went back to see it.
It was black with a white belly and it measured about four feet long. I figured it was a black snake, like the harmless ones we used to find in our garden growing up. It had stopped slithering as we approached, us still keeping a healthy distance. It stared at us for a moment and then slowly began to coil its neck back in what looked like a lunging position. We weren’t close enough for it to strike us so we just watched it for a minute. That’s when I noticed an odd sound, like a rattling. My eyes wandered down the length of the snake to see its tail violently shaking, making a rattling noise as it hit the dry leaves and twigs around it.
I’ve never seen a black snake rattle before, so for a moment I worried I had misidentified the snake and put my kids in unnecessary danger. I moved them away from the snake very quickly and when I turned around to check it once more, it was gone.
The kids were very eager at that point to be out of the woods so we booked it to the playground. As they played, I sat in the pavilion and researched snakes. The best I could come up with was a Black Rat Snake, which will mimic a rattler if it senses danger, but it isn’t poisonous.
Satisfied that my kids hadn’t been in any real danger, I relaxed and let them play for about 45 minutes. By that time other families showed up and at one point there were a bunch of kids standing in a semi circle on the other side of the playground. I heard one of them day “snake.”
I got up to look and sure enough, there was a snake. It looked identical to the one we encountered in the woods 200 yards away. Either that snaked made serious headway in less than an hour or it wasn’t alone. Either way, we had had enough snake encounters for one day. We left a few minutes later. While I absolutely loved our hike, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to refer to that place as anything other than “The Snake Park!” *shudder*
Thank you for all your prayers for my mom. She came home from the hospital this afternoon and is looking forward to her recovery here!