Just rural area things: running over a snake den with a lawnmower and cursing while you flee from copperheads
When I was a wee thing of about 10, we went to visit m Ohio family at their “campground” which was really more of a trailer park surrounding a reptile, bug and angry swan-infested sump, but baby Gallus thought this was AWESOME. Spent the whole trip catching frogs and turtles and a Wolf Spider the size of my palm which damn near gave Aunt Mickey a heart attack. Sorry.
However, I had grown up in the relatively venomous snake-free cradle of the CA coast, so I had no natural aversion to reptiles, much less knowledge of what the eastern ones looked like.
So you can see how I thought that the dark gray and kind of dusty-looking snake coiled up perfectly still outside Mrs. Bolghet’s trailer was an unusually realistic-looking lawn ornament, and I leaned down to get a better look at the detailing.
Cousin Jay Jay remembers watching me “Do A Fuckin’ Ninja Flip” to Back The Fuck Up as the Cottonmouth, in a perfectly reasonable response to having some freaky-ass mammal in it’s face, lunged at me. I remember thinking “huh, their mouths really are white’ as it rustled it’s ass back into the lake and I waited for my heart to start beating again.
Jay Jay, realizing that there were some gaps in my outdoor knowledge, spent the rest of the afternoon with me, marching about the woods and identifying various plants and bugs and SNAKES out of his Boy Scout handbook until he was reasonably satisfied that I wasn’t going to die in the woods, and cajoled the turtle-hunting secrets out of me.
(The secret is to look for the tiny triangle-shapes their noses make when they poke out of the water, and you have to spot them a good 30 feet off or they’ll see you first and run off. Then, you move extra slow. Ever see a heron standing on one leg as it takes literally 10 minutes to put the other foot down? like that. once you’re close enough, lower hands to the SIDE of the turtle, so you’re going to have a good grip it can’t kick out of, then grab it with your jedi-like reflexes and lift UP immediately.
Then you can carry the snapper back to the campsite and wake up your uncle by using the turtle to bite his beer can in half and make him scream like Fay Wray while you and your cousin howl like gibbons on nitrous oxide.
sometimes, when life gets particularly sad or hard, i remind myself that my leopard gecko begs at the glass when i’m ripping paper towels and then runs to the top of his log in anticipation of me putting a bit there because he likes to spoon with it