You’d think such a ridiculously outfitted creature would be considered a boob by the rest of the animal world but some snakes use venom to secure or punish their victims and this, instead, strikes fear in almost all animals, including mighty man. This is a characteristic of Biblical proportions and is transferred to all the other snakes — whether or not they deserve it — and therefore, can be both a blessing and a curse.
Like most of us, snakes just want to be left alone and the suspicion they may be packing venom may guarantee that or, unfortunately, some people get the wrong idea and unjustly whack a perfectly innocent (and useful) snake. Please learn to tell the difference and kindly steer clear of all of Camp Salmen Nature Park’s snakes.
In general, snakes usually know you’re there before you know they’re there and will quietly disappear because they want nothing to do with you; nothing personal, but humans are just too big to eat. Merely make a lot of human noise and vibration as you blunder about the woods and avoid reaching under logs and such before looking first.
Most people will grant that black snakes have double mojo. The one most often seen at Camp Salmen is the Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus). They’re fairly easy to identify with a light grey lower jaw. They also have a curious habit of rearing up six inches or so like a mini-cobra to look around. When fleeing they are among the fastest of snakes in North America, thus the name. They are non-venomous but can get pretty feisty if harassed and will strike at a marauding hand before deciding it’s best to retreat.
Our next most popular snake is the all black Coachwhip (Coluber flagellum). They are long, thin and limber like an old-time coach whip or a pile of black rope laying on the ground. However, once alerted to your presence they do something most peculiar. They straighten up like an arrow in the direction they want to escape and take off like a rocket to disappear into the vegetation.
The black snake (actually it’s more like dark grey, with a pattern) that’s not often seen and best avoided is Louisiana’s star venomous snake — the legendary Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus). Since they prefer to lurk in wetland environments to hunt frogs and fish, we encourage our guests to stay out of our swamp and stay on the board walks where these snakes can’t reach you.