Snakes on a canoe


By Sue Curtis



Let me state right up front and without reservation that I do not like snakes. I do not like them to the extent that I have a totally healthy, normal aversion to them. It’s not a phobia (at least I don’t believe so). I simply will take all measures possible to avoid seeing, touching, or being in the vicinity of a snake. ANY kind of snake.

So you can imagine my horror and sweaty palms when I read about the government-sanctioned hunting of the Burmese pythons that have apparently been reproducing in the Florida everglades. Ever since about 2002, Floridians have been aware and studying the steadily increasing numbers of these creatures.

Now you may think that Florida is sufficiently far away for me to rest easy in my lazy-boy. However, these snakes grow to the length of 15 feet, weigh up to 135 pounds, and are wiping out whole species such as rabbits and birds in some areas. Some of these guys have even successfully eaten an alligator!

So I am totally reasonable in my belief that they could traverse the few states between Florida and Ohio and arrive in my back yard, hungry and looking at my pets. Or, god forbid, me.

My loathing of snakes dates back to my childhood. I was innocently playing on the beach near the lake one day. I noticed a big blue piece of plastic and thought what a wonderful cape it would make (I was a child with an active imagination). As I whipped the plastic from the ground, about a dozen or so thin, green snakes began slithering all around my feet.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience and began my life-long aversion.

A number of years ago, Matt and I took our son on a canoeing trip down the Stillwater River. It was a great day! We packed a picnic lunch and the three of us set off in a canoe to enjoy the water,the sunshine, and Ohio flora and fauna. About an hour into our trip, I noticed the water moccasin swimming toward our canoe. I know, I know, the water moccasin hasn’t been spotted in Ohio in recent years, nor is it endemic to our state. But it was reared up and aggressively coming toward our canoe. And it was most definitely (at least in my head) the very deadly water moccasin.

Matt, to his credit, didn’t laugh at me when I screeched and pointed. He calmly said it was most likely a harmless water snake, but that didn’t make me stop screaming. So then he suggested we row out of there.

Right. Like I was going to stick my oar down in the water and invite this reptile to slither right up and eat me. Or whatever they do to people.

So you’ve probably figured out my fear and loathing of snakes is both life-long and a little more than a healthy aversion. But even so, those pythons are scary! What is your aversion? Email me at suecurtis9@gmail.com.

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By Sue Curtis

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.