Facebook friends may recall my encounter with a copperhead a couple of weeks ago. The snake was relaxing in a pile of leaves that I had raked up previously, and decided that he preferred to remain in the yard rather than be turned into mulch by the excellent Orange County Recycling service.
I have seen the snakes many times over the last couple of years—in the yard, on the road, on the Bolin Creek bike trail, and on some of the footpaths that connect are sub-optimally designed neighbourhood. They are such a part of life that I decided that it might not be a bad thing to be bit by one, just to know what to expect, and to add it to my list of experiences. So while I have not been seeking out the pit viper, I have been doing my weeding aggressively of late.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, a man who we had hired to power wash our deck, as he was surveying the site to give me an estimate, pointed out a spider on one of the wood beams of our screened in porch: “Is that a black widow?” he asked. I mean, to me that was like asking if one of the gallinaceous interlopers from the neighbours’ coops scratching in our yard was a bird of paradise. I assumed that the black widow was a deadly spider, probably found down there in South America with all those other weird species.
Turns out they are common in this area. My neighbour reports seeing them frequently in his wood pile. I had just added the spider to my list of things-I-want-to-get-bit-by when I came across this article, detailing what actually happens.
I may need to revise my plan, as the consequences seem to outweigh the benefits of being able to speak knowledgeably about the subject.