Myth or Fact: Can You Really Smell Snakes?
It's hunting season here in Louisiana! Though for now, season is only open for bird hunters with dove and teal season open.
However, deer hunters are spending pretty much every available weekend hour in the woods preparing for the upcoming deer season, which for archers will begin on October 1. Gun season here in Area 2 of Northwest Louisiana is set to begin on Saturday, October 29.
I was part of that dedicated crowd in the woods this past Saturday doing some work on our deer lease in Lincoln Parish and as my friends and I approached a creek we needed to cross, I immediately recognized that pungent odor and hollered at my buddies to hold up.
What Is That Smell?
As we carefully scanned the creek, there he was. Old "nope rope" was lying there, just waiting to strike. That smell was the recognizable odor of a pretty large cottonmouth.
Several friends of mine never realized that you could actually smell a snake, however, once they associate that odor with a cottonmouth, it's something they never forget.
I've been told by fellow outdoorsmen that you can also smell a rattlesnake and several other breeds of snakes, but I can't personally attest to the accuracy of that.
Apparently You Can Smell Several Breeds Of Vipers
So, I began to do a little research regarding the smell of snakes and was astonished to find that a number of snakes can omit an odor when frightened.
Bestlifeonline says that copperheads (which is one of Louisiana's most aggressive snakes) can give off the smell of cucumbers.
Totalreptile.com says the same of rattlesnakes and that a den of these poisonous vipers will smell just like a cucumber.
How Do Snakes Emit This Odor?
Looking at mysnakepet.com we learn just how snakes emit this odor:
Snakes have glands in their tails that contain a stinky liquid musk. They will expel this musk when they feel threatened, which will often repel the attacker due to the stinky smell.
Uniquepetswiki.com, lots of snakes will omit this odor when they expel their musk due to being frightened. The site says that normally non-venomous water snakes will even omit the odor of an overpowering fishy smell. Once educated, a person can quickly recognize their odor.
So, YES, you can smell a snake and the best advice for those that smell one in the outdoors should carefully move away. If the smell is in your home, it would be best to immediately contact an exterminator trained in snake removal.