Reddit got me going again. Here’s the story of my first snake bite.
I was about five, maybe six years old. My brother who was three years older had his buddy from school staying at the house for the weekend, and the three of us decided to go down to the lake and go fishing. Now my brother’s friend is a city kid, and we figure out that he’s terrified of snakes. We get down to the lake and there’s crawdad holes all over around the edge of the lake. He didn’t know any better so we told him they were all snake holes. He was three years older than me, but I still had him on his toes all morning calling out snake and putting sticks by his feet. It was fun.
It was on the walk back that it got real interesting. I’m walking back behind him and my brother. My brother is carrying the poles and his friend is carrying his shoes over his shoulders, walking in the grass. He must have stepped right over it, because I’m walking behind him and look right down to see a big, big garter snake in the grass right along the road. I’d handled snakes and had never had any natural fear of them. My father always said that when I was barely old enough to know what a snake was I’d yelled at him to stop the tractor while he was mowing a field, ran out in front of it and flopped down on a little snake. I just never had that natural fear. So I do about the same thing here. I just reached down and grabbed it. “Snake!”
I look up just in time to see my brother’s friend break the sound barrier running away. Snake is literally longer than I am. Holding it by the neck over my head (don’t do this without supporting the body) its tail still dragged on the ground. Huge garter. Well, long story slightly shorter, it turns out to be a Western Garter, known for being just about as mean as snake can get. That little bastard struck at anyone that ever got near it. Most snakes will get used to you after a while. Black snakes will calm down in about five minutes usually.
That little bastard bit me right on the wrist when I put it in a big jar. Then bit me again on the hand when I tried to transfer it to an aquarium. Bit me square on the nipple the one time I tried to hold him. Right through a sweater, dead on the nipple. That one hurt. So after a few days I just let it go. He was just too mean to keep. But having him for a first snake, I think I just never worried about it, and as a result I’ve ended up getting bit sooner or later by all my snakes, and a few of my friend’s snakes. Once even by a lizard. Ever been bitten by a Golden Tegu? That hurt like hell, they’re truly vicious. And that’s the story of my first snake bite.