Snake Superstitions

snake_2489006Ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, is the second most common phobia. Considering the fact that snakes live on every continent except for Antarctica, you’re bound to see a snake every now and then while you’re exploring the outdoors. Being able to properly identify different types of snakes is a useful skill for anyone planning on being out in nature. There are four different types of poisonous snakes in the United States: rattlesnake, coral snake, cottonmouth, and copperhead.

If you’re not sure whether or not a snake is venomous, it’s a good idea to treat it as though it were. That doesn’t mean leap about and shriek in fear, working yourself up into a state of irreconcilable terror. You should remain calm and keep a safe distance, watching to make sure that you know where the snake is at all times. Be mindful of spots that look like prime snake pits and try to avoid reaching or stepping in those areas.

As long as you keep your wits about you and use common sense, you don’t have to be too worried about snakes. Snakes can sense vibrations of your footsteps and typically¬† don’t want to tangle with something as big as a person. While it’s easy to say that, the idea of being confronted by a lethal snake is still terrifying, especially if you’re multiple days in on a hike or trekking in the back country. Here are a few snake superstitions and myths!

  • If you hang a snakeskin from your rafters, your house will be protected from fires.
  • Tying the dead body of a snake around a bite will help with recovery.
  • Traditionally, snakes were considered to have healing powers. The staff of Asceplius (the symbol of a snake wrapped around a staff) is still used today by EMTs
  • Dreaming of a snake is considered to be bad luck.
  • In South Africa, burning a dead python is said to bring rain
  • If you’re a gambler, find yourself a snake tooth. This is said to bring you luck.
  • In old legends, hoop snakes would bite their own tales to form a hoop and then roll away from danger.
  • A pregnant woman should avoid snakes at all costs. If a snake startles a pregnant woman, the child will be born with a constricted neck.
  • If you kill a snake, its significant other will hunt you down and exact revenge.
  • Mambas can outrun a horse.
  • A decapitated snake won’t die until sunset.
  • Snakes hypnotize their prey.

Fun Fact: The longest snake in captivity ever recorded was a 25 ft 2 in long reticulated python named Medusa. She weighs in at over 350 lbs and calls Kansas City, Missouri home.

One Comment

  1. I was chased by a Cottonmouth Moccasin quite a few years ago in the Everglades when I accompanied my older brother and his partner who were snake hunting to get venom for medical research.

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