Finding the King of American Snakes

Submitted by Answers contributor Quietman
Spent a week at the beach, Holden to be exact, and while there did a bit of research in the Green Swamp, a marvelous 350,000 acre wilderness bordering Nature Conservancy lands near Shallotte, NC,  one of the towns near Holden Beach. I took  a couple of days while at the beach to get credit for my classes with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, Public Education Division.
We have been working mainly with trying to find evidence of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, an endangered species here in North Carolina. Although more common in other states, we are at the northern edge of the snake’s range, and clear cutting back in the 60’s pretty much wrecked most of its habitat.
The Green Swamp is home to a variety of wildlife. Black bear roam the area, along with coyote, fox, bobcat, alligator and deer. The waterways team with fish, largemouth bass, bowfin, redfin pickerel among them. Spectacular birds inhabit the area, various raptors including bald eagle, osprey, and several hawk species. Pileated woodpeckers, white ibis, various herons and numerous songbirds.
We began our  trek into the swamp on an old logging road, whose sandy surface was crisscrossed with the tracks of numerous creatures. One in particular made us nervous, a black bear had used the track recently, and his prints were sunk much deeper in the sand than mine, and I am 212 pounds. A family of raccoons meandered across the road and disappeared into the swamp, followed by a doe with twin fawns.We moved along the edge of a broken pine forest, and saw numerous snakes, including two huge cottonmouths, lying on a log in the creek, sharing it with a couple of eastern river cooter turtles.
We hadn’t gone far into the pines, when Matt said he heard something like a rattler buzzing. It stopped (I never heard it) and we moved closer to the creek and crossed over on an old hand bridge.
Deer flies buzzed around, and a few of them decided we were tasty, we both had several bites when we returned to the car. Really pesky varmints, and hard to swat!
After an hour of walking around and turning logs over, we found a small timber rattlesnake. He never rattled, just sat still, watching us. He had a bulge in his middle, indicating he had recently eaten some unfortunate rodent.
We came back to the bridge, and saw two five foot alligators lying on the bank of the creek just down from the bridge. They seemed to be asleep, so we allowed them their repose, and went back to the pine scrub forest. Pileated woodpeckers were everywhere. Their raucous cries filled the air, and their brilliant colors of black, white, and red just stood out so well in the forest.
After a few minutes, we again heard the distinctive whirring of a rattlesnake, and honed in on another timber rattler, nearly four feet long. This guy was wide awake, coiled and angry! We got as close as we dared, and he struck out at us again and again, but luckily we stayed clear of his attempts.
We went across the road, and followed the bear tracks for about two miles, but never came upon him. From the tracks, it appeared to be a good sized boar. We came back to the vehicle, and dined on turkey sandwiches and Yoo-hoos! Delicious fare when one is hot, tired and hungry!
We drove a couple of miles down to the Nature Conservancy lands, parked, and entered the pine forest. This area is famous for the endangered Venus flytrap, a carnivorous plant found only in Carolina swamplands. We didn’t find any, but they are there in numbers.
We decided to search an area that appeared prime habitat for the diamondbacks, with scattered long leaf pines, and dense understory growth nearly knee high.
It was very nearly a big mistake…
After searching here for an hour, we decided to go back to the vehicle, and head back to the cottage, maybe hit the surf before dinner. After walking for about a half mile, we again heard the sound of an upset rattlesnake, but this was different somehow, slower, but deeper, more ominous. It seemed to be all around us, and we were not wearing leather snake chaps, and the vegetation was knee deep, as I said before.
We froze, and tried to home in on the sound. Matt was afraid to move, but I had to find the snake, as I was sure it was an eastern diamondback. We waited, and the sound would rise, then fall, but seemed never to cease totally. Finally, Matt said the he thought it was coming from an area just to our east, around a lightning killed tree. The ancient tree had burned from the inside out, and a hole at the bottom looked like a good place for a snake to hide out. I took a couple of steps toward it, then the awesome whirring began again, this time right in front of me!
I took a stick and parted the grass, and there in front of me was an enormous eastern diamondback rattler!
I fumbled for the notepad, and logged in the coordinates and time, estimated the length of the snake (five foot six inches) and asked for the digital camera from Matt. He edged closer, and taking the stick, he parted the grass for the shot. No snake!
We searched around the grass for a while, but began to feel distinctively very creepy, as we were in close quarters with the most dangerous snake on the continent, and we could not see him, but knew he was there!
We edged our way slowly out of there, disappointed, yet elated.
We had located the quarry.
Back at the car, a noise up the road got our attention. A female bear with two cubs in tow made for the creek, but stopped long enough to wait for a third cub to come up. The family moved off without so much as a glance toward us.
We didn’t go back the next day, as the fish were biting very well in the surf, so we stuck to that. Still, it was a great excursion, finding the king of American snakes, and all the other wonderful creatures that live in the magical Green Swamp!

Feeling stuck? Take some advice from our Answers.com supervisors

I recently finished reading the bestselling book, You Unstuck, from keynote speaker, branding expert and executive coach, Libby Gill. It was extremely insightful and helped me to better understand the ins and outs of risk taking as related to getting beyond fears and excuses through a process known as CSE – Clarify, Simplify and Execute. Having often received great advice and ideas from Answers.com, after reading the book I was inspired to ask our awesome Supervisor community, “What do you do when you are feeling stuck”?

Here is their wise advice. Enjoy the journey of getting unstuck Answers.com style!

Aggie80: “Start playing the ukulele!”

Luvhistory2010: “I pray that God would show me what I need to do to get unstuck.”

Blue: “My default is going to the bookshelf. And don’t go for one of those “bestsellers” that will be gone within the decade…go for literature that has stood the test of time.”

Jadeacres: “A change, no matter how small is always as good as a rest. Small changes can offer new perspective. Life can get mundane if you do the same thing(s) everyday. Sure, there are certain things you must do but shuffling the deck a bit will surprise you with how it can affect your mood.”

TheGiraffeNinja: “I listen to music and clean. Cleaning and rearranging a room gives you a new feel, not like it’s the same thing over and over.”

Dfoofnik: “Borrow a kitten from someone for a few days.”

Rudiful2: “I have two hobbies, when I feel like my life has become tedious, routine and monotonous, I find being creative focuses the mind away from the ho-hum feelings. I have a woodworking shop and I will make something I have never made before (which takes in-depth thought), or, with Answers.com being my second hobby [any hobby(ies) will work], I will answer questions that take a lot of research which focuses my mind away from my original issues, it’s like stepping away until you can refresh.”

Jo-bar: “I make playlists. ‘Peppy’ is one of my favorite collections for when I have tedious chores to do. It’s hard to get bored when your feet are dancing and your hips are swaying!”

Fuzzy Logic: “Take a class. It doesn’t matter if it’s academic or just for fun (or it could be both!) It’s hard to stay stuck when your mind is expanding.”

Doditov: “What works for this overachiever is to declare a “me” day. I appoint a day, hopefully within a week of my irritations, and devote the entire day to me.”

JoyceP: “While I realize different things work for different people, all I can say is what’s helped me, which is a lot of prayers, tears, and a lot of soul searching. I’ve learned that when life sometimes kicks me down, the best way for me to deal with it is to crawl inside my ‘shell’ and just let the emotions flow, sort of like draining pus from an infected area so it can heal.”

Mcgrumpy: “Just remember manana does not mean tomorrow it means not today. It takes the pressure off.”

Lily of the valley: “When I get like that, I try to do something completely new, that gives me a bit of a challenge. Something that is different to my normal routine, after doing that, I find that I can motivate myself again.”

Wildrosebeef: “If I feel stuck I like to get out of the house for a little while.”

AnswerAngel18: “You can turn it (being stuck) into a positive. Feeling stuck can be just part of life’s little pauses that surely won’t last forever or for long. It’s just life saying, “Here’s a pause, is there some things you want to think over and contemplate, reconsider, recognize, appreciate, etc?””

A 2010 Year in Review… in poetry.

The giant disco ball is set up in Times Square,
Wind gusts and sniffles abound everywhere.
The last calendar page is ready to tear,
And Uggs are officially the preferred footwear!
So as 2010 gets buried in snow
(Or actually not, if you’re in the hemisphere below)
This is the time to reflect, create a New Year’s vow or two,
It’s the Answers.com 2010 Year in Review!
We’ll travel month by month, so sit back and enjoy
Horrible, wonderful, and insane; this is the real McCoy…

January

Haiti was hit by an earthquake, Richter measured 7.0
Strongest magnitude recorded there, from tectonic plates below.
With donations from celebrities like Giselle and Sean Penn,
The Red Cross, FIMA and even the U.N.
Help came swiftly and people opened up their hearts
We are the World was re-sung and topped all the charts.
JD Salinger was finally caught, by that Catcher in the Rye,
You were a recluse but a genius; it’s sad to say goodbye.
The longest annular eclipse of this millennium was hot,
So was Senator Scott Brown, winning Ted Kennedy’s spot.
Jay Leno retired from The Tonight Show, Conan took his place
Six months later he was ousted – ouch, slap in the face!

February

Steve Jobs announced the release of the stylish iPad,
The competition from Tampax could’ve hurt just a tad.
After 44 years the Saints finally reached into their soul
Beating the Colts at NFL’s 44th Super Bowl.
Beyonce’s a winner too, six awards on Grammy night,
First time for a woman – you go girl! Pretty tight!
Toyota wasn’t so lucky, recalling nine million cars,
For sticky accelerators that were not up to par.
Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili dies while training,
Olympics ban the Canadian luge for the athletes remaining.
Obama wants to finally end Don’t ask, Don’t tell
The Supreme Court is iffy; California says ‘swell.’

March

Tiger Woods finally admits to cheating on his wife,
It wasn’t a car accident after all, that threatened his life.
Gatorade didn’t buy it, nor did AT&T,
They dumped him as sponsors; everyone but Nike.
Chile is smacked with an earthquake, a tsunami then rises,
While the southern U.S. gets hit with blizzards of monstrous sizes.
At Sea World, Tilikum kills a trainer named Dawn
He’s an orca after all, you can’t blame his brawn.
Apolo Ohno speed-skated to his eighth Olympic win,
Ends up on a Wheaties box; then you know you’re truly in!
GM announces it will stop making the Hummer,
Tree-huggers cheer while manly men grunt ‘bummer.’
The 82nd Academy Awards were lively and fun,
Sandra Bullock scored ‘Best Actress,’ then adopted a son.
Up and Avatar were movies that globally sold,
If you’re blue and cartoony, you bring home the gold.

April

The lava erupted out of Mt. Eyjafjallajökull, headed south
Which was faster than the name could escape from our mouth.
Air travel was halted, Europe was distressed,
In Arizona, the Anti-Immigration Bill was the mess.
The BP oil rig explosion kills 11 in the Gulf,
Nobody could cap it, not even Gandalf.
Pelicans were dying, sea turtles were in strife,
Gas prices were the concern – but at what cost to life?
Duke wins the NCAA championship, they’re now the best
Russia signs an arms reduction treaty with the U.S.
Obama’s health care reform bill officially makes the cut,
Democrats are joyed, Republicans go nuts.
Polish president Kaczynski and his wife die in a plane,
Lindsay Lohan’s ankle bracelet falls out of its range.
In China and West Virginia there are explosions in mines.
NFL drafts begin – yup, it’s come to be that time.

May

The Afriqiyah A330 airbus crashed near the sea
Coming up from South Africa, bound for Tripoli.
The aftermath was scary, just shrapnel and fire,
But miraculously emerged one lone Dutch survivor.
‘Lookin at Lucky’ and ‘First Dude’ are names of horses
That placed 1st and 2nd at the Preakness courses.
Gary Coleman laid to rest, (child star from Diff’rent Strokes),
He had a tough life from the media, his wife, his folks.
Faisal Shahzad parked his car conveniently in Times Square,
Fully equipped with a bomb, including an ignition flare.
A vigilant pedestrian called in and he was forced to abort,
Don’t think you can mess with the people of New York!
Speaking of justice… Elena Kagan was appointed
As Obama’s first pick; hope he won’t be disappointed.

June

Roy Halladay earns MLB honor and fame,
The true-blue Philly threw his 20th perfect game.
The Indianapolis 500 is won by a Scotty,
Dario Franchitti, whose dad owns a chain of gelati.
FIFA took over full force; Shakira Wakka Wakkas,
Beckham was injured, but we still had our Kaká.
Vuvuzelas were blasted; the sound is annoying ‘like whoa’!
But hotties Ronaldo and Cruz were able to soften the blow.
Eclipse was released, fans are spreading the love,
Which team do you play for: Edward or Jacob?
After 25 years, Larry King leaves CNN,
The first phone-in TV talk show has come to an end.
Japan’s Prime minister resigns, Hatoyama can’t pass the test,
While England drinks itself silly at a summer beer fest.
China ends ties to the dollar, which could prove quite tragic
Hogwarts is no longer exclusive to wizards with magic –
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally opens its doors,
So muggles can actually play quidditch and even the score.

July

Hurricane Alex hit Mexico, but was quickly silenced,
Hurricane Mel Gibson was charged with domestic violence.
Paul the Octopus is a sports fan, psychic and gifted,
Each Mundial team that he chose won just as predicted.
Spain beat Holland 1-0; Red is the clear winner,
No Leffes now, just Sangria en el victory dinner.
When George Steinbrenner died, the Yankees lost their dad
Giuliani, Yogi Berra and New York City were ever so sad.
Justin Bieber’s video Baby became the most YouTubed ever,
His hair might be silly, but what’s behind it is clever.
BP caps the gushing oil well after 86 days,
The fish high-five with their fins, jump up, do the wave.
Serena Williams takes Wimbledon, LeBron signs with the Heat,
The U.S. and Russia swap spies as soon as they meet.
Chelsea Clinton marries Mezvinsky, clad in Vera Wang,
It’s interfaith so lechaim and amen they sang.

August

The 62nd Emmy Awards boasts Jimmy Fallon host,
Mad Men was the series that took home the most.
In the Arizona state primaries, the winner’s John McCain,
He may not be president, but as Senator he reigns.
Kaymer won the PGA Championship, took home the purse,
But on PlayStations everywhere, he doesn’t come first.
Debates ensue on Ground Zero, where the Twins Towers stood,
On whether a mosque should be built near this precious ‘hood.
The owners contend it’s freedom of expression,
Families object; it’s more than a constitutional question.
Proposition 8 was struck down, overturned – then appealed
(I’m gonna need some Pepto by the time this case is sealed.)
Former Senator Ted Stevens died in a crash from the air,
The WHO declared the end of the H1N1 scare.

September

Tragedy turned happy when Antoine Dodson made the news,
He fights off a Bed Intruder and then tops off iTunes.
Keenan Cahill is self-made, lip-syncing ‘teenage dream,’
He looks younger than his age, but he really is 15.
Sesame Street is in trouble – parents give a tough time
Over Katy Perry’s cleavage (though Elmo didn’t mind).
The sheep are running wild; the Kiwis don’t know where to perch,
A 7.2 earthquake hit New Zealand, out there in Christchurch.
Reggie Bush returns the Heisman; he was a steroid-taking man,
Sarah Shourd is the hiker who gets released from Iran.
Terry Jones decides for everyone that it’s Quran Burning Day,
Pastor, to spread God’s word, this just ain’t the right way!
British Police arrest five men over a threat to the Pope,
Lady Gaga wore a meat dress, while PETA tried to cope.
Continental merged with United – it’s the only way to fly
Kenny McKinley of the Broncos has finally said goodbye.

October

A cholera outbreak in Haiti hits the region wide and far,
Rehydration is the key to make the disease say au revoir.
A record was broken by the international space station
For the longest time humans lived in galactic habitation.
The Social Network was released, every Facebook fan attends.
Is Mark Zuckerberg the good guy, or did he screw over his friends?
33 miners were trapped in Chile in the San Jose mine,
Just as the town gave up hope, they got a note – ‘hey, we’re fine.’
Food and water were sent daily through a pulley in the ground
69 days later, all emerge – without a single frown.
Halloween is finally here and the costumes that all score
Involve The Situation and the whole cast of Jersey Shore.
Indonesia has three disasters; Mother Earth can be so mean
The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for Graphene.

November

Obama visited the Far East to promote better trade relations,
Offered to remove Sudan from the list of terror-sponsored nations.
Prince William asks Kate Middleton to be his dear princess,
With Diana’s diamond ring, it shows the love she represents.
In the 106th World Series, the Giants beat the Rangers,
Trader Joe’s recalled cilantro that could cause potential dangers.
Reps took over the House, fulfilling Obama’s fear and dread,
While the Democrats have re-elected Pelosi as their head.
The Deathly Hallows was released, part 1 of the adventures,
When the second half is out, the cast will all be wearing dentures.
Miley Cyrus is now legal, she had her Sweet 18,
Bon Jovi goes on tour, lookin’ good in skinny jeans.
North Korea’s Kim Jung Ill decides to shell Yeonpyeong,
South Korea’s swift response said, ‘We’re ready, bring it on!’
WikiLeaks unveiled a collection of top secret U.S. files,
On Dancing With The Stars, Bristol Palin was all smiles.

December

Leslie Nielson, we will miss you, you left us way too early,
Call him Dracula or Agent, but please don’t call him Shirley.
Angry Birds is all the rage – kill those pigs, they’re all corrupt,
At Level 3 you get the blackbird; with a tap, it self-destructs.
FIFA’s next World Cup in Russia, in the year twenty-eighteen,
Then it’s on to Qatar, where their plants produce benzene.
In the U.S. once again, Aiden is the most popular boys’ name,
For girls no more Isabella – it’s Sophia that now reigns.
Mark Madoff committed suicide; so sad it makes you steam,
Now he’s the latest victim of his father’s ponzi scheme.
Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper is guilty, he finally gets his time
Derek Jeter makes more millions, it’s with the Yankees that he signs.
NASA discovered bacteria which on arsenic can thrive,
Replaces it for phosphorous; not the usual, but it’s alive.
WikiLeaks is constantly Googled – in SEO it’s leadin’
But it’s founder Julian Assange is still accused of crimes in Sweden.

Wishing you an excellent 2011

from

An Ode to Answers.com

Answers.comOne of our contributors, Judy Florian, provides an interesting look inside this crazy ride called Answers.com in our featured poem this week. Answers.com has facts about the Battle of Waterloo and it also has the latest reality show gossip. But it all falls into place and we learn from each other while building the world’s leading Q&A site.

We Learn from YOU, by Judy Florian, July 8, 2010

Need quick answers to your problems?
Volunteers will reply to each of them.
From students’ to professionals’ wisdom
We give true answers to all who come.

Answers.com is the place to turn!
For any subject you wish to learn.
Type a question, see what’s there!
Celebrity to chemistry to polar bear.

Are you curious about Lindsay Lohan?
Database design? or the newest band?
Tracing of blood through your heart?
Give us a topic from which to start!

Ask the most trivial, the most obscure.
Ask about what makes you feel unsure.
We’ll do our best to explain it well,
Define, describe, in detail we’ll tell.

Studying the history of Women’s Lib?
Don’t understand parents? problem sibs?
Concerned about how your boyfriend acts?
Want to understand, know, get the facts?

Want help for your relationship stress?
How she could cheat, but not confess?
Are you figuring out personality types?
Want to understand what’s all the hype?

Test questions? Well, that’s not our goal.
Supplies of test answers creates a hole
In learning all that you will need to know.
But by explanation, Answers we’ll show.

Our directions will give you the source.
Show you ways to pass that school course!
And in the process, volunteers learn too.
From Bieber, to NASA, we learn from YOU!

It’s easy to register and to join the site,
Become a contributor, post Answers right.
Newbie to experienced Answers.com pro,
In your contributions, let knowledge show!

Earn Trust Points with answers written well.
Compassion, respect, and your grammar tells
That you’re one who will share all you know
For recent questions, or ones from long ago.

Then work your way up, if that’s what you want.
Consistency makes advancement an easy jaunt!
Come quick to www.answers.com to get it right.
Answers.com, The World’s Leading Q&A Site.

Anku m knows what she is

Anku m is another one of our Answers.com contributors with a penchant for poetry. She enjoys studying science in school (biology in particular). But when school’s out she focuses her energies on more creative pursuits, including digital photography, painting and the written word. This poem of hers is titled “I know what I am.”

I know what I am, by Anku m

Certain things to know
Obstination they show
Still I don’t know
Why they slow…

If I go round ‘n’ round
Earth I may see
Is not what I think
Oh! I remember
There are many things
Out of my know-how

I wondered life
Yes, I know it strides
Learnin’ from episodes
Trials and ordeals
From birth to present time
And to death

Certain things to know
Obstination they show
Still I don’t know
Why they slow…

Not immortal
Or just divine
In this present time
I know
As its very far
A way from my go
Better there are
Many things to know

Life’s so illustrative
But why am I not illustrious
Mind inquisitive
Mind anxious
Nothing I know

Certain things to know
Obstination they show
Still I don’t know
Why they slow…

One cannot know everything
But I know what I am