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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ohio still has Timber and Massasauga Rattlesnakes and Copperheads holding onto life in various sections of the state.....................During the 1796 landscaping survey of what was then known as the "Western Reserve(Ohio Territory), Joshua Stow and Gen. Moses Cleaveland(both men had Ohio towns named after them--Stow and Cleveland), both men observed that "rattlesnakes were numerous",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,"Rattlesnakes were very numerous and a great pest to the first settlers of Stow Township".......... "The 'Gulf' at Stow Corners was filled with these reptiles, and it was many years before they were killed off". ................"So numerous were they and so dangerous, that the settlers took turns in watching the rocks to kill all that came forth"

Local history: Stow founder

 blazes trail with snakes

 and whiskey

Stow was full of rattlesnakes in the early 1800s. Settlers took years to eradicate the poisonous pests from their town.

For a
expanse of
untamed wilderness,
 Stow had a
certain charm.
Joshua Stow, founder and namesake of
 the future
 Ohio town,
purportedly hailed the rugged landscape of hills,
 valleys, streams
 and lakes as "one of the prettiest and most romantic
 spots in the
Western Reserve" when he first laid eyes upon it in
 the late 18th
Then again, the Connecticut native had a voracious
appetite for
 tasty rattlesnakes.
Stow (1762-1842) served on Gen. Moses Cleaveland's
 team for the Connecticut Land Co. in 1796. The
 expedition consisted
 of 45 men, two women and one child.
Cleaveland also lent his name to an Ohio town.
 You've probably never
 heard of it.
As commissary general for the expedition, 34-year-old
 Stow was in
charge of providing boats, firearms, ammunition, tools,
 blankets and
 other necessities for the team. When the group arrived
 at present-day
 Conneaut, it built a sturdy log warehouse to store
 supplies, and named
 the little fortress "Stow's Castle."
Principal surveyor August Porter recalled that Stow
served as flagman
 of the expedition, which put him out front as the crew
mapped out the
 Western Reserve. From the forward position, danger
 often slithered
 underfoot, coiled and hissing.
"Rattlesnakes were numerous and Stow coming first
 upon them
 killed them," Porter wrote. "Being with two or three
other persons
three days without food, we had killed a rattlesnake,
dressed and
 cooked it, and whether from the savory quality of the
 flesh or the
 particular state of the stomachs, I could not say which,
 had eaten
it with a high relish."
Mmmmm. Snake.
The commissary general developed a curious appetite
 for poisonous
 reptiles. Obviously, it was better to bite them than be
bitten. Other
 members of the survey team found themselves looking
forward to
 the wilderness delicacy.
Porter wrote: "Stow was a healthy, active man, fond of
 wood-life, and
determined to adopt all practices, even to the eating of
snakes; and
during most any day while on the lakeshore, he killed
and swung over
 his body from two to six or eight large rattlesnakes,
and at night a
 part were dressed, cooked and eaten by the party
 with good relish,
 probably increased by the circumstance of their being
 fresh while all
 other meat was salt."
Whiskey and water
In the event of a snake bite, Stow carried a flask of whiskey.
 No, really.
 Whiskey was considered a fine remedy when applied to
 a wound. If a
 victim drank enough, he might even forget about the
poisonous bite
… at least momentarily.
Summit County historian Samuel Lane said pioneers
 and settlers
believed that whiskey was an indispensable commodity
 "in any
 enterprise — from church-building to boating."
Although Stow guarded "a goodly quantity" of whiskey in
 commissary, he soon discovered that the surveying team
 going through it faster than anticipated. That's when he
 a brilliant idea.
"So long a time had been spent upon the journey, and
the difficulties
of transportation being so great, Commissary Stow, fearing
 that this
 prime 'necessary of life' would run short before a fresh
 supply could
 be obtained, had adopted the plan of surreptitiously
 increasing the
volume, by decreasing the strength," Lane wrote in 1892.
In other words, he diluted the liquor with water!
Upon discovering the ruse, Moses Cleaveland composed
 a now-famous
 couplet of poetry:
"Christ, the divine, turned water into wine;
"Joshua, the boater, turned whisky into water."
Birth of a town
Although Stow made more than a dozen visits from
 to Ohio on horseback, he never actually lived here.
 He did, however,
make sure that his name was never forgotten.
In 1804, he purchased Township 3, Range 10 of the
 Western Reserve
 for $14,154 — about $531,000 today — and called
 it Stow Township.
In need of a land agent, Joshua Stow appointed
 another Connecticut
native, William Wetmore, who moved to Ohio and
 developed a
permanent settlement in the township that is now
 known as the city of
"It is a remarkable fact that the very township purchased
 and named
after Stow should prove to have been about the most
prolific in Ohio
 in its snake product," Summit County historian Henry
Howe noted in 1891.
"Rattlesnakes were very numerous and a great pest to
 the first settlers
of Stow Township. The 'Gulf' at Stow Corners was filled
with these reptiles,
 and it was many years before they were killed off. So
numerous were they
and so dangerous, that the settlers took turns in watching
the rocks to kill
all that came forth."
Never again would a rattler disrupt the tranquility of one
of the prettiest
 and most romantic spots in the Western Reserve.
Joshua Stow lived out the remainder of his years in
 Middletown, Conn.,
 where he served as postmaster, tax collector and an
associate judge.
He passed away Oct. 10, 1842, at the ripe old age of
79 when life
expectancy for U.S. men was only around 40.
Perhaps an unusual diet accounted for Stow's longevity.
Mmmmm. Snake.

  1. Stow
    City in Ohio

  2. Stow is a city in Summit County, Ohio, United States. 
    The population
     was 34,837 at the 2010 census and 34,674 at the 2012
     estimate. It is a 
    suburban community that is part of the Akron 
    metropolitan area------
    -Cleveland-Akron is the 18th largest DMA televisio
     market in the 
    USA, located in Northeastern Ohio

Ohio has only three species of venomous snakes, two of which
 have rattles at the
end of the tail (Eastern Massasauga (pictured right) &
Timber Rattlesnake).
 The third species is the Northern copperhead. Although many
 believe the water
 moccasin occurs in Ohio, it actually ranges no farther north
 than the Dismal
 Swamp in southeastern Virginia in the eastern portion of its
range, and extreme
 southern Indiana and Illinois, in the western part of its range.
 Water moccasins
 are not native to Ohio. 

Venomous Snakes found
 in Ohio

There are only three venemous snakes that are native to the state of Ohio. They are the Northern Copperhead, Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, and the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake. Of theses three the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake and Eastern Massasauga are considered Endagered species in the state of Ohio. Below you will find some basic information on all three species and maps showing where they can naturally be found within the state. 

Northern Copperhead, (Agkistrodon contortrix)

 The Northern Copperhead has a very distinct color pattern, which  consists of salmon, pink, orange and brown colors, usually with "saddles" or hour glass shapes along its back. The Copperhead has bitten more people in the United States than any other venemous snake, although very few deaths have been attributed to their bite, it is still a very painfull one and these snakes should be give the utmost respect and left alone if encountered in the wild.

 Copperheads are usually found in rocky outcrops and wooded areas. Their diet usually consists of small rodents, insects, lizards and frogs. The Copperhead reaches adult lengths of 24in - 36in. They are active during the day, in Spring and Fall, but become active during night in the Summer months. Below is a map showing where the Copperhead is found within the state of Ohio : 


Eastern Timber Rattlesnake, (Crotalus horridus horridus)

 The Eastern Timber Rattlesnake usually has a yellowish or brown color and gets darker toward the end of its tail. It has very distinct "chevron" shaped crossbands along its body and a very noticable rattle at the end of it's tail. The Eastern Timber Rattlesnake is one of the most venemous snakes, in the northeastern United States, but bites from this snake are not common. This species is normally calm and would rather move away when bothered than to strike, however if provoked it will raise up shaking it's rattle, giving a warning before striking out in defense. Rattlesnakes can strike up to 1/3 to 1/2 their body length !  

 Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes are usualy found in dry, wooded, hilly country. Their diet usually will consist of squirrels, mice, other small rodents and small birds. They reach adult lengths of 36 - 54 inches, and they are active during the day Spring and Fall and become active at night during the Summer months. Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes are on Ohio's Endangered Species list and numbers of these snakes in Ohio are relatively low !  Below is a map showing areas of Ohio these rattlers can still be found :


Eastern Massasauga, (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus)

 The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake mostly inhabits swamps and wetlands, usually in river mouths. The word "massasauga" comes from the Chippewa language meaning "great river mouth". The Massasauga is also known as the "swamp rattler". The Massasauga is dark in color with black stripes with a very small rattler on the end of it's tail, and are usually very stocky. Unless very agitated, this snake very rarely attempts to bite. It has very toxic venom, however a healthy adult human rarely will die from a bite, because it's teeth are too small to inject enough venom to do any damage. But if bitten by this snake, please take appropriate action and seek medical treatment !  

 The massasauga's diet usually consists of small rodents, lizards and small frogs. These Rattlers are very small in size, thay only reach adult lengths of 20 inches - 30 inches. During mild days they are active during the daytime and become active at night during the Summer.  In 1996, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources placed the massasauga rattlesnake on Ohio's endangered species list. Below is a map showing where this snake can still be found in Ohio :   


*** Please, if you encounter one of these venomous snakes, do not attempt to capture or kill it. These snakes will leave you alone, if you leave them alone. Please give them the respect and space they deserve ! *** 


JE said...

Don't forget that rattlers will eat 2,000-4,000 ticks in their life time. From one dealing with chronic Lyme disease and living in a area full of ticks, that means that I want rattlers alive and working.

Rick Meril said...

JE.................first,,,,,,,,,,,I hope that your Lyme Disease can be mitigated and that you are ok.................And yes,,,,,,,,whether it be snakes, coyotes, foxes, wolves, pumas or bears...............the more predator diversity in a system, the healthier it is on all levels including reduction of lyme ticks

JE said...

Thanks Rick. I am ok and am going to beat this thing as it is not an option to stay out of the woods. I live in woods full of diversity and love it so. All living creatures have their perfect place in the cycle of life.

Rick Meril said...

stay the course JE...................get the proper antibiotic treatment.............Take best precautions in the woods that you love so dearly!