The gas pipeline that crosses Bahulaban has been completed and now the reclamation process is about to begin. I had talked to a rep of the pipeline company subcontractor early in the process about some specific details but when I called the  contact, I found out that they were no longer doing the work and that a new company had been subcontracted.

I went to Bahulaban to find out who I needed to talk to by approaching the men who were working there. When I arrived, they were loading a trailer.  One of them had a  muddy garter snake in his hands and was letting it wriggle  over one into the next and then switching his hands so it could keep going. Naturally the conversation turned to snakes.

I told the story of how my wife used to be quite scared of snakes and if she saw a garter snake in the garden would stay out of it for the balance of that day. This lasted until  she saw a garter snake bite her. She knew she was bitten because she saw the snake bite her finger but its teeth were so sharp and thin that she couldn’t even feel it.

We talked about copperheads and how they are easily confused with immature black snakes.

I mentioned that I rarely  see a copperhead here as they are reclusive. One of the guys said that when timber rattlesnakes are cornered they will rattle and try to get away but a trapped copperhead will be more aggressive in attacking as a defensive move.

They said that when working in the mountains of southern West Virginia it wasn’t uncommon to kill 30 or 40 timber rattlesnakes and copperheads in a year.

As there are no timber rattlesnakes in our part of West Virginia the following is academic, but if you ever need to know the sex of a timber rattlesnake here is one method.

The guy said if you pick up a timber rattlesnake by the tail and let it dangle, its penis flops out.

I think it is appropriate to say here, “Kids, don’t try this at home.”