I realize that many people are afraid of snakes—terrified may be a better word. But there is no reason to be. We have lived on our farm for seventeen years with dozens of species of snakes, three of those species are venomous, and yet no one has ever been bitten. We’ve had a few dogs bitten by copperheads, but that’s because they initiated the aggression. It was the dogs who tried to harm the snakes.
The image to the left shows a yellow-bellied water snake in our front yard. It had more than likely come up looking for food at night. It’s essentially harmless, though it puts on a good show of aggressive behavior, and water snakes are notoriously anti-social; they do not like being handled. They are not, however, venomous.