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  1. #1
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    Question resident copperheads

    I seem to recall that one or more of the shelters in northern VA/WV are reported to have resident copperheads at the shelter site.
    Does anyone know what locations those are?
    Thanks. Pete Hoffman

  2. #2
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    The Manassas Gap Shelter north of Shenendoah National Park had snakes at one time (circa 2000), but it was not in evidence when I passed through in Fall 2001. I did not hear of snakes at any other shelter through that stretch that Fall.

    I spoke to the shelter maintainer who said they had trapped snakes then fixed a hole in the floor, cleared out brush in front of the shelter, and repoured the concrete fireplace base to try to keep them away.

    However, the mother-of-all wood rats kept me awake all night. There were entries in the shelter log describing how it would lick the salt from people's hair at night. Fortunately, an overnight camper with a Bonfire flood flashlight joined me, so the rat kept to the rafters.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  3. #3

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    Dicks Dome is a shelter or area I've heard has had some copperhead problems.

  4. #4
    Yes, I know I mis-spelled "Hamster"...
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    Talking

    However, the mother-of-all wood rats kept me awake all night. There were entries in the shelter log describing how it would lick the salt from people's hair at night
    HAHAHAHA!!!

    "It was the worst accident.... I EVER SEEN!" - Large Marge, Pee-wee's Big Adventure
    "A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days".
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    GA-ME Someday (Maybe '06?)
    Many Miles in Massachusetts & Vermont...

  5. #5
    GA-ME 3/5/02 -8/14/02
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    There were lots of copperheads sunning themsleves on a log when we had lunch at Manassas Gap shelter. However, there was also a group of boy scouts, under encouragement from their troop "leader" smashing them all with large rocks (despite the facts that the snakes were nowhere near the shelter, nor instigating any harm), so I would say maybe the snake problem is a problem no longer, thanks to the industriousness of these nature lovers...
    "It's a dangerous business, going out your door...if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."-The Hobbit

  6. #6

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    I passed through the Manassas Gap Shelter two weeks ago and the journal was full of references about Copperheads. In fact someone had drawn a picture of a snake on paper and posted it on the wall.

    I don't recall reading as many references about snakes at any shelter on the AT.

    Thankfully no reports have been circulated of any one that has been bitten.

  7. #7

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    Originally posted by Jumpstart
    there was also a group of boy scouts, under encouragement from their troop "leader" smashing them all with large rocks (despite the facts that the snakes were nowhere near the shelter, nor instigating any harm)
    That is unbelievable. What a knucklehead that Scout Leader is.

  8. #8
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    In 2000 or 2001 a PATC crew cleaned out Manassas Gap Shelter. It was so bad they wore BIO-HAZARD SUITS! They made a number of improvements to the shelter and for awhile there had been no sightings of the resident snakes, but in speaking to hikers this year it is apparent at least one has returned.

  9. #9
    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    Default shelters

    I didn't dstay at mannassas but i stopped for water on my way to one of my favorite shelters, dicks dome. The shelter platform had been raised by PATC so that the snakes would stay below the shelter. A few of my buddies stayed there that night and reported no animals. None at Dicks dome either.
    Lamberts Meadow did have many mentions of a large rat though i did not stay there

  10. #10

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    Default Re: shelters

    Originally posted by A-Train
    ... The shelter platform had been raised by PATC so that the snakes would stay below the shelter. A few of my buddies stayed there that night and reported no animals. ...
    Snakes = no rodents. A good equation in my book. I understand some with irrational fears don't agree.

    Rain Man

  11. #11
    Registered User Streamweaver's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Yup! You'll never see a snake chewing on your food bag !!! Streamweaver
    "Theres is no real hope of traveling perfectly light in the mountains.It is good to try,as long as you realize that,like proving a unified field theory,mastering Kanji,or routinely brewing the perfect cup of coffee,the game can never be won." Smoke Blanchard

  12. #12

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    A rattle snake used to live under the Priest Shelter. I loved that one not only no mice but no snoring either.

  13. #13
    Registered User Bucky Katt's Avatar
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    Do rattlesnakes and copperheads "hibernate" during certain times of the year in the South, or is it pretty much too warm for that?

    I was planning at trip to the Spy Rock/ Priest area, and I've been very fortunate not to run into anything more than one black snake and one garden snake in all the years I've been hiking/backpacking...Reading this thread has freaked me out.

  14. #14
    Registered User darkage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpstart View Post
    There were lots of copperheads sunning themsleves on a log when we had lunch at Manassas Gap shelter. However, there was also a group of boy scouts, under encouragement from their troop "leader" smashing them all with large rocks (despite the facts that the snakes were nowhere near the shelter, nor instigating any harm), so I would say maybe the snake problem is a problem no longer, thanks to the industriousness of these nature lovers...
    Someone should of started chucking rocks at the scout leader .... I would of.

    Did they atleast eat snake that night?

  15. #15
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    Default Serves you right

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky Katt View Post
    Reading this thread has freaked me out.
    That's what you get for reading old threads!

  16. #16

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    2002...copperhead on the rafter in the shelter NOBO just past US RT40 in Maryland. Mention of it by EVERY entry in the shelter register but no mention of it ever bothering anybody.

    geek

  17. #17
    The perpetual thru-hiker!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky Katt View Post
    Do rattlesnakes and copperheads "hibernate" during certain times of the year in the South, or is it pretty much too warm for that?

    I was planning at trip to the Spy Rock/ Priest area, and I've been very fortunate not to run into anything more than one black snake and one garden snake in all the years I've been hiking/backpacking...Reading this thread has freaked me out.
    You won't be seeing any snakes before very late March in the mountains, early march in the swamps. I think we should encourage them at shelters.....helps get rid of bugs, rodents, tourists and very small dogs!

  18. #18
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    People often mis-identify snakes as being a copperhead or rattlesnake when they are more likley a northern brown snake or garter.

  19. #19
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    Default Pics

    My favorite copperhead photo links expired recently. Maybe someone knows of others. Snakes of Georgia and South Carolina which I often link has good photos. There are also photos in WhiteBlaze's gallery.

    Everyone who hikes on the A.T. ought to be able to identify a copperhead.
    Last edited by emerald; 01-19-2009 at 17:52. Reason: Added link.

  20. #20

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    You're more likely to be struck by lightning than to be bite by a poisonous snake. They are here for a purpose. It's good to have them around. Just watch where you're walking and don't worry about them while you're in the shelters. They don't to have anything to do with you or anything you have. If there's lots of mice in the shelters, then there are no snakes.

    I had a large king snake living under our heating/cooling unit for the last 2 or 3 years. I considered myself very fortunate. Last year while I was gone hiking my wife saw it. Up until then she was not aware of it and I hadn't told her for obvious reason. When she saw it, she freaked out and called someone who came over and killed it. Pissed me off too!!

    Happy hiking.

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