More Perils of Snake Photography
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).
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.
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!
Photo credits: William Wise.
Nature and Wildlife Photography