On Sept. 25, a Mississippi woman was collecting berries in the woods when she was confronted by a venomous snake, not really statistics.
Now, the blonde wood rattlesnake is safe in captivity, and soon the public will be able to see it.
“Me and my friend Matt Brewer and my twin girls were taking muscadine,” said Daniel Ladner of Yazu County. “I was going to make muscadine jelly.
“We were leaving and getting ready to load, and I bent down to pick up the mascadines and I looked up and there he was – 2 feet from my face at eye level. He was right there.”
Ladner said his response was terror.
“I don’t get along well with snakes,” Ladner said. “Taj.
“I’m scared of them. One of my twins is fearless so I went into mama-mode so I could get him away from it.”
Ladner grabs his brave-year-old daughter and jumps into the utility car next door; The other girl was scared and was already inside. Ladner said the blonde snake was not something she had never seen and decided to take pictures of it, although she could barely keep her phone still because of her trembling.
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Protect rare snakes
Ladner said the pictures were sent to a herpetologist who explained that it was very rare. When he realized that he had encountered something unusual, the creature began to grow on him.
“I talked to my dad all night on Saturday about what’s good for snakes,” he said. “It’s not like a normal snake. I didn’t want him to die.”
The snakes and staff came to find it the next afternoon to report to Ladner’s Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, but failed. After making sure it was still in the area, Ladner and his father continued the search and within minutes it was found and agency staff returned to retrieve it.
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Snakes are not real albino
Terry Vandeventer, a herpetologist in Terry, Mississippi, explains that snakes have one of two possible genetic conditions; T positive albinism or hypomelanism. Both produce a limited range of colors on snake skin. So, the snake is not a real albino because other colors remain. In any case, he said, the chances of one being confronted are so low that they cannot be counted.
“It’s an absolutely rare thing,” Vandeventer said. “Thousands of babies will be born before a pop-up.”
So, the adversity at that time is one in a few thousand, but they go down from there because the snake does not wear camouflage like its normal siblings and is more sensitive to prey.
“In a normal litter, most don’t make it,” Vandeventer said. “Most baby snakes don’t make it, but they did. No one knows how rare it is.”
Where and when to see snakes
The snake was taken to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson where the cold-blooded reptile received a warm reception.
“He’s very humble,” said Jamie Merrill, a conservation biologist who works with the museum. “Since he’s here he hasn’t made a fuss.
“She’s very curious and sees what we do. I’m already in love.”
Although it is in the museum, the public will see it a few weeks earlier.
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