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Snake, Cottonmouth, Coiled, Mouth open
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Doing a little bush hogging around our place this weekend, I saw a huge cotton mouth, much like the one pictured above, and it reminded me that the Dog Days of Summer are upon us!

This year the period began on July 3 and will continue all the way through Wednesday, August 11. According to;

The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.

So, what's all this got to do with me seeing that water moccasin? Well, my grandfather was never one to allow facts to get in the way of a good story. What he passed along to all his grandsons was that during the dog days of summer, the heat caused the vast majority of snakes to shed their skins, and during this time a crust would develop over their eyes, so they would literally strike at anything that got near them.

Obviously, with dogs spending so much time in the areas where snakes are prone to live, they were the biggest victims of these blinded snakes. Thus, we got the "Dog Days of Summer."

There was even an article published by the New York Times way back in 1975 that seemed to support this type of thinking.  Sounds logical huh? Enough for any kid to believe his grandfather was passing along a nugget of wisdom right? Well, apparently it's just not the case.

In articles published by and by  that theory is completely debunked stating that snakes don't shed their skins more in August than any other month.

So, if you fell pray to the old myth just like I did, rest assured, snakes are always worthy of a little distance and our respect, but no more dangerous or aggressive right now than any other time of the year.

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