Why are people so afraid to poke things with a stick these days?

The males seem to do that a lot. They will chase and investigate anything that moves within their territory in case it’s a female to mate with or a competitor to fight with. They’re all buzz and no sting though. :honeybee:


Really old folklore, mostly. Odes have multitudes of nicknames, from snake-doctor to mosquito hawk. My stepmother was terrified of them; she said that when she was a kid she believed the old wives’ tale that damsels and/or dragons would sew shut the mouths of liars and scolds. Although she claimed to have outgrown that, she was still convinced that they would sting or bite. Needless to say, she was none too happy when I’d coax one onto my finger for a photo.

During my senior year, my high school choir was invited to perform at the Peachtree Music Festival in Atlanta. This involved a lengthy bus trip, and it was decided by the chaperoning adults that the only way that they were going to survive was if we got to blow off steam somewhere along the midpoint of the drive. What better place for that than the Chikamauga Battlefield National Park?

Somewhere in the choir archives, there’s a photo of me (my hands, anyway) holding a hatchling Ringneck Snake, with the caption “Look at the cute little baby snake I found!” Our director was convinced that it had to be venomous, and that she was going to have to derail the whole circus to take me to a hospital some ten hours away from any member of my family so that I didn’t drop dead in front of her. The snake was maybe three inches tops, remarkably laid-back, and seriously disproportionate to the amount of fuss it was causing.

I found a nice bit of ground cover into which I released it. It very wisely decided to get away from all of the overly-exciteable mammals.


Yeah rattlesnakes are a little more difficult than elapids in Australia. I’ll happily handle any Aussie elapid, but I probably wouldn’t treat Vipers (and stout elapids like Death adders) the same way. Also a tip for those people that do handle venomous snakes, wash your hands after handling a ven (especially if you were using PPE). I learnt that recently after stuffing up big-time recently with a Tiger snake :grimacing:

The one time I found a garter snake and attempted to hold it for a picture, it got agitated and my hands smelled like snake musk for the remainder of that hike…

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That’s what garter snakes do. Many times I’ve gone through the day smelling like snake musk because I grabbed a Thamnophis. It’s a very “herpy” smell – the smell of a close encounter with a neat snake – so I don’t mind it.


I have a scar on my wrist because 10-year-old-me watched too much crocodile hunter and I decided to pick up a garter snake a little rougher than I should have and he got me.

Weirdly, not a bad memory though, its honestly hilarious in hindsight

Yeah, even if you don’t fear the snake, you will fear the hospital bill. Antivenin (= antivenom) is very expensive.

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Can’t say I’ve ever been bitten by a wild vertebrate honestly, they’ve all been pretty tolerable towards me, unfortunately crickets do not share that same sentiment…

Every time I attempt to pick up Gryllus sp. to get a picture of their ventral side, I get bitten surprisingly hard for an animal that seems so avoidant.

Oh I 100% deserved the bite. More of a nick than anything really, and at least it was only a garter snake.

I don’t touch insects unless I know fully what they are - too many are just really to fight the world, it seems

Yeah fair, during a brief month the mountain range I usually hike on was overrun with Nemognatha lutea, they looked so different to all of the other blister beetles I’d seen that I didn’t realize until after I returned home to upload.

Fortunately I have enough foresight to avoid touching insects directly, although not out of worry for my health, mostly because I don’t want to disturb or agitate them. At most I stabilize the plants they’re on from the wind to get a clear photo, or hold flighty ground dwelling species so they don’t escape immediately.

Haha I’m the complete opposite. I love holding bugs! I’ve got a pool in my backyard and on really hot days many flies and bees/wasps get stuck in it. Even grass spiders sometimes. I used to only pick them out with a stick but this summer I’ve gained the confidence to hold them in my hand (thanks in part to iNat!) It’s a really humbling experience for me to have a little creature in your hand that is very capable of harming you but chooses not to. Also feels great knowing you’ve saved a life :)


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