More Perils of Snake Photography

Snake bite close up

In a lightning fast moment, as fast as the serpent’s strike, my entire life flashed before my eyes along with the fear that my life might soon be ending. The impact of the snake against my skin, and the sharp needle-like jabs told me 100% that I had been bit. As I was about to drop my camera and call for the hospital’s helicopter to air lift me out, I remembered… Oh yeah, it’s just a harmless Eastern Kingsnake!

As a fellow Dreamstime photographer, Augustine, illustrated in a recent, excellently written and riveting blog entitled The Perils of Snake Photography: snakes always make sensational subjects! From that very first encounter in Eden, snake stories are always dramatic. Some people only need hear the word “snake” to be sent off in a sprint of hysteria. But the truth is, the majority are totally harmless (depending upon where you live, perhaps).

Snake in the grass coiled to strike

This beautiful Eastern Kingsnake was the subject of one of those frantic calls to animal control. “Hello? 911? Yes, there’s a huge snake in my living room.” The homeowner marveled at the audacity we had to just walk right in and pick it up barehanded. But when you know your snakes, you know when there is danger, or when it is safe to handle.

Eastern Kingsnakes, Lampropeltis getula, also still known by locals as chain kingnakes, are a harmless constrictor found in the United States. They mostly eat rodents, but being immune to the venom, it also will dine upon other snakes and reptiles; hence its name, the king of snakes! While I used to find them quite often in my younger reptile photography days, they are much less frequent as subjects of our animal control calls.

Eastern Kingsnake, Georgia

I took this guy to a couple of school classrooms for talks before photographing him and releasing him back to the wild. Even though he’d been captive and handled for a few weeks, he was still quite feisty. When he decided our photo session was over, he let me know by chomping down on my arm. So what did I do? Photograph it, of course!

In the end, there was no peril at all. The bite didn't cause any immediate pain, no sudden death, no swelling; just a few drops of blood and a wound that hurt no more than a paper cut. Other than giving you a heart attack out of fear, most of our snakes are absolutely not perilous!

Snake bite close up

Photo credits: William Wise.

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July 19, 2019


"Chop off a finger"!!! Reminds me of a funny story: in my young years when I kept many captive rattlesnakes, I had a large knife in my room at the ready thinking I'd quickly cut off a finger if bitten. I highly doubt I would have had the courage to do it though! 

July 18, 2019


Generally Australian snakes are smart enough to keep clear of humans, although 50 years ago a 2 metre (+) Eastern Brown snake, one of the world's deadliest, sprung up from nowhere and tried to bite me. Luckily it missed. I now spend half the year in Greece where the snakes are Micky Mouse but the locals are terrified of them. You will still find deluded souls who, if bitten, will slash the bitten area to "suck out the venom" or, in extreme cases, chop off a finger to "save themselves". 

July 10, 2019


William, your knowledge passion, and zeal for wildlife is amazing.... that snake bite could have scared the wits out of me! Thank you for the link.

July 09, 2019


Hey Dragan! I hadn't seen you post in a while. Thanks for reading and commenting! William

July 08, 2019


more dangerous were the thoughts of what might happen than the bite of the snake. 

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