cucumber smell - poisonous snakes

dighappy

I have been told by more than one person that if there is a rattlesnake in the area there will be the strong smell of cucumbers in the air near where they are resting.... I live in NJ(Southern) and beleive the only rattlesnake here is the Pine Rattler and do live in a heavily wooded area. Several times while I am out in my horse pasture I have smelled cucumbers in an isolated spot (not always the same spot) in the field. Has anyone ever heard this before and is there any truth to it.

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wayne_mo

I have heard this idea more often associated with cottonmouths and copperheads which have musk glands near their cloaca which can emit a foul smelling fluid when the snake is threatened but I've really only noticed this smell one time when I frightened a cottonmouth that vibrated its tail and expelled musk before fleeing under a log. I have unwittingly stepped into a concentration of cottonmouths near a den before without smelling anything even though there were a half dozen snakes within a few feet of me.

Timber Rattlesnakes are your rattlesnake species in Southern New Jersey. I haven't heard this idea associated with them before. And while there is a grain of truth to the idea with cottonmouths and copperheads I can't say as though I have ever noticed this to be true other than the one time a snake expelled a significant amount of musk in retreat.

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Elly_NJ

Timber rattlers are highly endangered in NJ, and indeed are the only rattler in the State. I have spoken with State Wildlife Biologists that deal with the species, and they never mentioned a cucumber smell.

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manature

Just butting in here, as this is interesting. I can understand that you might occasionally smell a musk scent from some snakes (and I have with garter snakes, ringnecks, and a couple of others), but I never thought it smelled like cucumbers. To me, cucumbers smell fresh and green, rather than musky. Perhaps it is subjective. Wayne, when you HAVE noticed a musk smell, did it remind you of cucumbers?

I've been in close proximity to both rattlers and cottonmouths on a number of occasions (nothing like you true herpers, of course) and I have never smelled anything at all. So I don't think I'll be relying on it as a good signal that danger might be lurking. And I have a nose that dogs envy, according to my husband. *grin*

Very interesting thread!

Marcia

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mikeygraz

In my opinion, these stories are merely old wives tales. I have personally heard the same story, only with copperheads and that the smell was that of onions. I have seen dozens of timber rattlesnakes and never smelled "cucumbers" or any other smell unless I physically manipulating and processing the animals (in which they sprayed musk). I'd chalk this up to a tale and believe it has little if any credence. If you are wondering if a snake is around, use your eyes and ears, but don't put much weight on your nose.
~Mike

No cucumber smell here...

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dighappy

Thanks everyone for your answers......I will have to keep my eyes peeled then if there is to be no "cucumber" warning. Another sure way to tell if a snake (or anything else)is in the area is to watch the horses. They pretty much tell me when something is up. I wonder what that strong cucumber smell is coming from then. I smell it only periodically and in different parts of the pasture. Weird.

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manature

Terrific picture, Mike! Is that one of your "dozens" of timber rattlers? It's a beauty! I'm only really familiar with the ones we have here in central Florida, eastern diamondbacks and dusky pygmies.

Dig, perhaps the cucumber smell is coming from a plant? I would imagine horses would certainly begin shying and acting strange at the approach of a snake. I have often been alerted to them by the behavior of birds in the area, especially jays and mockingbirds. They will begin to mob, screeching like crazy and often dive bombing the snake. That's part of being alert, I think. You not only notice what you see and hear yourself, but you pay attention to what the critters in the area are telling you, as well.

Marcia

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mikeygraz

Hi Marcia -
Yup, it is. I saw around 30 timbers last year from Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. This year has been a good bit slower and I've been focusing more on my grad work so I don't run into them as much. I am still hoping to see a pigmy sometime...I lucked out on seeing a diamondback on the east coast of Florida this spring, a lil' one but a diamondback nonetheless

I agree - I wouldn't be surprised if the smell came from a plant

Here's a shot of my favorite Nebraska timber...

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manature

What a GORGEOUS picture! Look at all the COLOR on that guy! Lovely rusty stripe down his back, eh? And I see that black tail peeking out...beautiful!!

Thanks for sharing that. As you know, I'm sure, timber rattlers and copperheads have a very limited range in Florida, so I've never seen either in the wild. I've seen some whopping big diamondbacks, though, and plenty of feisty pygmies.

Once, when I lived in south Florida, there was a very bad forest fire that encroached on the development we lived in. Firefighters were driving tractors up and down our streets, digging firebreaks, etc, and animals of all sorts were fleeing the flames. We saw lots of stuff coming out of the palmettos, and at one point, a fire fighter came out on his tractor holding up a gigantic rattlesnake by the tail that he had accidentally run over. He hopped off the tractor and held his arm up and the head of the snake was on the ground. It was at the very LEAST six feet long, and I really think it was probably closer to seven, and as thick as my leg. GINORMOUS!!

BTW, the flames reached our backyard fence and we were loading up the car to get the heck out when the skies opened up in a torrential downpour. The first rain we had had in weeks and weeks. If you had seen it in a movie, you would have thought it was a ridiculous tale...being saved by rain at the very last minute. Too bad it was too late to help the snake, though.

Marcia

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uhohgardner

It's double jeopardy, but I'll take the snakes over any cucumber.
Better run.

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agailh

The copperhead is the cause of many snakebites yearly but they are rarely fatal. Bites occur when people accidentally step on or touch the snake, which tends to be well camouflaged in its surroundings. When touched, the copperhead quickly strikes or remains quiet and tries to crawl away. Sometimes when touched, they emit a musk that smells like cucumbers.

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S.A.McKenzie

I've caught literally dozens of Copperheads, Cottonmouths and Canebrake(Timber)Rattlers over the decades, and have handled(with proper tools, of course)many more Rattlesnake species, and I have NEVER smelled anything remotely like a cucumber associated with any snake! Snake musk STINKS; it's similar to skunk musk, and some people say it's even stinkier. There is nothing about that smell that you would associate with anything remotely fresh and edible, trust me. It's purely a wives' tale that venomous(no such thing as a "poisonous" snake, btw)snakes give off a cucumber smell. That tale likely started with the fact that snakes frequent gardens,looking for rodent pests to eat, and someone saw a snake in a garden and smelled cucumbers because there actually WERE cucumbers planted nearby, but the smell and the sighting got intermingled in that person's panicked mind.

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poaky1

I had heard this also several years ago- Rattlers give off cucumber smell. I can't add much in favor or against this belief, but it had been told to me about 10 years ago.

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tlilbit

Yes, Copperheads put off a cucumber smell - and it is not just cause you frighten them. I work outside a lot and when I smell that smell -- it can be traced to a copperhead. Rattlesnakes give off a stinky sweet smell I associate with a really sweet Lily of the Valley flower. This also, is not because I have disturbed them - I can smell them nearby when they are in the woods close to where I am working. They avoid me, I avoid them!

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fhfchrish

I have heard this myth for many years, mostly associated with Copperheads but also Cottonmouths and some rattlesnake species. I have been musked by many, many venomous snakes over the years and although copperheads and cottonmouths (and some rattlesnakes) do have a distinctive musk when disturbed, I have never been able to see the "cucumber" link in any way. I have on a number of occasions found venomous snakes by recognizing this odor, but it never reminded me of a cucumber. It isn't really a "bad" smell, just a unique smell.

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Debbie Bellino Meredith

I have been trying to get this confirmation! I live on the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge, Ga.

I travel always between the gigantic boulder and the back side of our house. It is a tight squeeze, plus, the whole area is all rocks and boulders to get to my bird feeders and ..

Just this past two weeks I noticed that when I walk back through the tight space, trust me it is me being mind over matter any time I have done this the past 1 1/2 years until now, I feel a MUCH stronger foreboding and have felt it before that there is a damn snake. I must say it has been a nice season this year, nothing but our garter snake showed it's face.

NO water snakes, no water moccasins on the rocks sunning out on the river what is up with that! A little bit queer since we have the best damn sunning rocks for miles on this river.


SO, here is my query: I walk past the boulder and the squeeze space between out house when I am done, I walk back a very few minutes later I smell my favorite fragrance of cucumbers...

Today, I went up and stuck my sniffer into that hole before you walk in and smelled nothing but THE usual dead leafs and dirt!

Then I shook my keys, smelled nothing. Went to walk up a stair or two towards our cars and smelled cucumbers...

Now tell me I am crazy.

This is really pissing me off, because some men that deal with snakes say they don't smell this.

Well, then I don't have a Deadly snake lurking where I am walking as well as my 77 yr old mother and my Grands...

So when I get bitten or they do...I will blast the internet that I was DAMN right!

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Debbie Bellino Meredith

Truly would appreciate a source, of solution to getting peace of mind, this is not just my experience, others have noticed this odor. I do have health insurance. I do not need to be bitten. I wish to have this snake or snakes rehomed please.. or tell me how to get them off my home property. Thank you all.

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fhfchrish

Debbie, Your fear is totally unfounded. Here's a suggestion. Find a local zoo, herp society, or snake relocator. Get them to let you smell a venomous snake (confirm with them that that is the correct smell). That way you will at least know if the smell that is terrorizing you is in fact a snake at all.

Also, ask yourself this..."How many people do you know in that area that have ever been bitten by a venomous snake?" This in spite the fact that you perceive them being all around. The threat just isn't there.

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tlilbit

Debbie, I hate to tell you but it is true the smell of cucumbers and the smell of stinky sweet Lily of the valley. I physically have traced the smell directly to the snakes multiple times on my property. I don't care that people say it's a myth, I'm crazy, etc...I have smelled the smells and found the snakes. I wouldn't panic, I never do, it's just an extra warning to avoid that area right now. You could put a plastic owl on a stake near the areas and see if that helps.

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poaky1

Debbie I have been told the same about the smell, but, there are so many weeds and plants that smell like a cuke, I have freaked out many times smelling the smell, but, I would do the suggested thing about a herp society, then you will KNOW what is true. You are right to expect them there in Ga, but the real answer likely lies with the herp people, even calling them and asking questions may help you. But a real sniff test may be the right thing to do. I smell cukes every time I cut my grass, but I doubt there are snakes in all those areas. There is an area where they could be, but our cats all 10 of them stalk every critter around, and would be injured or killed likely. I hope you get some true answers. Poaky1

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Sharon McKenzie

Go to a reptile show that allows venomous snakes, or find a breeder who keeps venomous, and see if you can visit. I attend reptile shows on a regular basis that have venomous snakes and have been surrounded by these animals, I have several friends who breed them, and I've kept them myself. I have NEVER smelled anything remotely like a cucumber or melon, let alone anything I'd consider "sweet" or flowery, emanating from a snake of any kind!

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lazy_gardens

I had a neighbor who kept rattlers of various species (properly permitted) and all I could detect in his house was a faintly "musky" smell that I associate with reptiles in general.

I have walked right past HUMONGOUS rattlesnakes that had no obvious odor.

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Sharon McKenzie

My experiences exactly. Snakes just have a slightly musky odor, and it's more noticeable in captive snakes living in enclosed spaces than in wild snakes, unless you pick one up or agitate it. They can spray musk like a skunk, and there is nothing pleasant-smelling about it! As long as I've kept snakes, it still isn't a smell that I associate with anything I'd want on my salad, lol! Wild snakes that are out in the open, just going about their business, really don't have a detectable smell, regardless of whether they are venomous or not.

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spydurm

I have smelled cucumbers on a hiking trail near a local river, and far from the nearest garden, on several occasions over several years and been able to associate the smell to a nearby copperhead. NOT a myth.

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Sharon McKenzie

Actually it IS a myth, and anyone who actually keeps these snakes in captivity will tell you without a doubt that they do NOT have a "cucumber smell". Chances are a plant, not a snake, is producing a cucumber-like smell, and the presence of a snake is a coincidence. There are actually several fern species that have a smell similar to a cucumber, and one would expect ferns on a hiking trail near a river. Snakes like to take shelter under ferns, and of course, snakes have to drink water, too, so they tend to be found near bodies of water, especially in hot weather.

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poaky1

Not anything new to add but, I saw a show on TV which mentioned the "unpleasant musky smell of captive reptiles" that includes those reptiles with legs, and those without" snakes and bearded dragons etc. I had seen one live Copperhead in my life. My husband at the time, and I went fishing, and he pointed it out to me quietly, and there was a Copperhead sunning itself on a rock near the river. I smelled nothing. But, then again, we didn't scare it, or aggravate it. Maybe if we would've stressed it somehow, it would've put out some musk or smell.

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poaky1

Also, all I've ever seen snake-wise here at home in my yard were garter, and green ribbon snakes, oh, and a black racer. The racer was trying to get away instead of chase me, thank goodness, I hear that sometimes they try and chase people. My friend and I were in florida, and she was looking at property there. There was lots of overgrowth of weeds. Well, her and a black racer encountered each other... and they each took off in different directions, scared as heck of each other, I had to laugh, but, I would've ran off also. They both were like AHHHHHH.......

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fhfchrish

Snakes don't chase people. That is an old wive's tail that is promulgated world wide. Every country has its species of "aggressive" snake which will chase you down be it Coachwhips and Cottonmouths (US), Black Mambas (southern Africa) or Eastern Brownsnakes (Australia). It isn't true anywhere.

A king cobra defending a nest might not back down if you approached its nest, but it certainly wouldn't chase you if you moved away. But no other snakes defend their nests.

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Sharon McKenzie

Racers don't actually "chase" people. Racers, if cornered, will make a mock "charge" in a person's direction, but will glide right on past and keep going. I have put that to the test many times and have never been bitten by a Racer under those circumstances. It would make absolutely no sense whatsoever for any snake to chase a human or any other larger predator(and that's exactly what we are to them-bigger predators). They would get nothing out of that behavior at all, and if an animal expends more energy than it takes in, in the form of food, it dies, plain and simple. The amount of energy that a snake, especially, given its metabolism, would have to expend "chasing" or "attacking" something it could not possibly eat would be extremely draining on its energy reserves, to get absolutely no energy back in return, and that's not even taking into account the likelihood of the larger predator/human retaliating and attacking the snake, which is a high likelihood indeed. If any animal species was prone to that sort of behavior, natural selection would have culled them from existence long before humans were even around to observe such behavior. That would be self-genocide.

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Gary C

I have a theory about this I call the cilantro effect. Some people are sensitive to a chemical in cilantro making it taste like soap while others do not and find it delicious.This sensitivity has only been researched in the last 10 years I believe.Perhaps there is a chemical in snake musk that some are more sensitive to then others and is perceived as a cucumber/melon smell. That would explain the divide. Just an idea.

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poaky1

I have heard some people can smell Cyanide, as a smell like almonds taste, and others can't so maybe you are on to something.

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Dorothy Tanner

I was stepping off a porch and smelled cucumbers. Directly in front of me was a copperhead coiled to strike me but he had a frog in his mouth. That frog saved me and I did notice the strong cucumber smell first.

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poaky1

I guess someone (Dorothy) telling from personal experience, there must be people that do smell cukes when a copperhead is near, or a big coincidence. Where are you Dorothy? I think I would likely never see a Copperhead in my yard. I have only seen them up in the nearby mountains. And my hubby had to tell me it was a copperhead, the colors were on a juvenile. But there are lots of wooded areas nearby that I know there are black racers, Garters and green grass snakes. I accidentally transported a garter snake in a bucket of gravel from one place to my yard, I get the Heebie Geebies when I think he was in the back of my hatchback in a bucket of gravel. But, they really do us good, unless it's a Copperhead (or worse) we don't see til it's too late, but, IF we have to get bit by a venomous snake, the Copperhead is the less of the evils. They don't usually kill people unless you are a small child, and help isn't gotten to for a long while. But, I think the heart attack after being scared to death would get me personally! I think about snakes alot when I go near a rock pile that I have. The rocks have been there for at least 7-8 years, but, we have cats, and I don't think that snakes would hang around long there.

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fhfchrish

Looking back on the responses there seems to be a couple of clear trends in the "data" so far:

1. Most people with extensive experience with these species (keeping them in captivity, direct research experience handling them, etc) report that they DON'T associate the smell of venomous snakes with cucumber but that venomous snakes do have a smell that is distinctive to the "trained" nose. If these species smell like cucumbers, it seems they would have noticed.

2. Some people with less direct exposure with these species (occasional run ins in the wild, but not direct handling) also DON'T associate them with a cucumber smell.

3. Some people with less direct exposure with these species DO report the cucumber smell.

This is interesting and I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I think Gary C. hits the nail on the head.

Question 1 - What do cucumbers smell like?

Personally, I don't find cucumbers to have much of a smell. They are not odorless but they certainly aren't as easy to smell in the distance as something like garlic or ammonia. But maybe some people have a different receptor or different numbers of these receptors than others and can detect a molecule emanating from cucumbers that the rest of us can't. This is true for many other odors, so why not cucumbers?

Question 2 - Do copperheads have a smell reminiscent of this?

I think now we have to exclude those of us "non-cucumber smellers" from the test since we don't think cucumbers have this particular smell others are describing. Now ask the others in a double blind situation whether they can smell this on venomous species and we can get to the answer. But this study is still waiting to be done.

I guess the take-homes for me are:

1. You can't rely on this smell as a way to detect venomous snakes. Sometimes (or to some people) they don't smell like cucumbers.

2. Some people are able to make this association in confirmed settings.

3. Anecdotal reports of people smelling cucumbers and worrying if there were venomous snakes around aren't data. And sometimes the snakes don't smell like this, even to "cucumber smellers".

I am serious that someone needs to do some double blind study on a group of people for this. It would be interesting, assuming it hasn't been done.

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etoppingset

I got on here today to find out if very many other folks associate the smell of Cucumbers in the woods with the the ideal of there being a Copperhead near . I can definitely say that some copperheads HAVE a cucumber smell. I don't know what the reason of that would be, given the fact that there usually no garden near by. So a word to the wise. Just to be on the safe side. If you are out and about , suddenly smell cucumbers, look down and around. And be cautious. Because an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. As for black snakes some will chase you and some will try to get away. Perhaps its a fight or flight thing, or they may be protecting there young, I have wondered.

I have not come across a rattle snake but a couple of times. I can't say to much as to the smell of a rattlesnake .

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Steve Yova

Again, some may say it is a myth, but I know what I smelled (cucumbers) in the woods where there were no cukes - and what I saw on two occasions separated by years - an adult copperhead. I will be cautious with that scent for myself and my family regardless of the relationship being a myth to some. I encourage the rest of you to do the same - be cautious!

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poaky1

I cut my grass last week, and in one area I smelled a smell like cukes, and the scent lasted a very short amount of time. I think it was when I mowed between my property and the weeds where the neighbors property started (they leave it wild there) so I could'nt see if there was a snake there. The only snake I have ever seen there was a green "grass snake", and that was along while ago, it accidentally got run over by my husband. But, the one time I saw a copperhead while fishing with my husband many eons ago, we didn't smell anything. It was sunning itself on a rock by the water.

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Debbie Bellino Meredith

Poaky1

...you sway like tall grass saying nothing. Enough of your rambles!

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Sharon McKenzie

"Rambles"? I don't see anything "rambling" about what Poaky1 posted. She's just making a valid point about not smelling cucumbers when seeing an actual venomous snake. Are you trolling, or what? You, on the other hand, have added nothing to the conversation.

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Debbie Bellino Meredith

lol look back Sharon Poaky1 was posting not much to offer here:poaky1

February 12, 2014 at 4:34AM

I had heard this also several years ago- Rattlers give off cucumber smell. I can't add much in favor or against this belief, but it had been told to me about 10 years ago.

Bookmark

Then has remarked rambling 5 times since, so as you go back you will see in the history of this conversation that I have definitely contributed. It's apparent here that You're the troll...

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poaky1

Wildhorse, If every post on every subject were just cold hard facts and specific answers there would be hardly any communication on any of the threads. If you don't like what i say when you see my name DON"T READ IT. I've read some of the other posts on here and we're all just making comments that aren't specific answers to any problems, just ideas that may or may not help any of us. I've mentioned in many of my replies that I'm no expert in the subject, if only experts with THE RIGHT answer posted, this would be boring empty forum/website.

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Debbie Bellino Meredith

True, Poaky1 you post the same thing Repeatedly.

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poaky1

Enlighten me and everyone else on the subject Pro, Please do.

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tankerbrady66

I have read all of the comments an will add my Two cents worth.I had a run in today with a copper head in my car port.while I was holding it down the snake gave me musk smell had to wash car port off to get the smell out.

It was not like a skunk but it would get your attention in the garden.


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poaky1

Please tell me you didn't use your hand to hold it down. I think all snakes kinda poop and pee at the same time on people so you leave them go. So, anyway, smell like cukes? It sounds like a no. I would guess that if you surprised them they would'nt smell like that until fully aware of being threatened, like when being held down.

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irjuk

I just googled "my dog got into something that smells like cucumbers" and couldn't believe all the comments I've stumbled upon here! It is dark, she got out of the yard. I live in a suburban area in Michigan. I could smell "skunk" in the area where I caught her, but it really didn't smell strongly of skunk, it smelled more like cucumbers! Wow! I hope she didn't get bit, it's Thanksgiving and all the vet offices are closed. I think "musky" would also describe it. But google, do we have copperheads in Michigan? Still can't believe all the comments here! YES! definitely smelled like cucumbers!!

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poaky1

Hopefully the snakes are all denned up for the winter just in case. I'm not sure if they are up in Michigan, though. I doubt they're out now, if you guys do get them in summer.

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fhfchrish

In Michigan, the only species of venomous snake is the very rare Eastern Massasauga. It is only rarely seen since it is restricted to wetland areas.

There is a range map of recent MI records here - https://www.miherpatlas.org/taxon.php?taxon=107

I've captured quite a few Western Massasaugas and I don't think they have the "venomous snake" smell at all. They don't seem to musk like Copperheads, Cottonmouths and the other Rattlesnakes.

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irjuk

So maybe it was a skunk after all, and it smells like cucumbers when it's more up close, in your face, and personal? It really did/does smell like cucumbers, (intensely pungent cucumbers) but the air in the surrounding neighborhood smelled more typically like skunk. Thx so much for responding fhfchrish!

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poaky1

Debbie you may want delete this stuff when your sober. I'm not judging, just thought you may want your kids name off the internet.

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Debbie Bellino Meredith

If I could delete cancer...

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poaky1

I wish nobody's family members would die, including my sister and dad. But, I know that is just another one of my many posts that doesn't help anybody, or say much of anything. But, it's true.

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oneelflady

rltaylor

I want everyone to know that the western diamond back indeed smells like cucumbers. For years we smelled it and never knew what it was. Till the day I walked out on my porch and stepped on one. It was a very green cucumber smell, Very pungent. When the dog Cather got it she said it was good it had eaten already or I would have got bit. Since that day we have seen no less than 6 rattlers in our yard and a neighbor in our yard killed one yesterday. I live in AZ near the Mexican boarder and when I smell that sent I am always on alert. Maybe not all rattlers smell like it but out here they do mikeygraz. Precaution is the best part of safty I always say.

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poaky1

If you stepped on a western diamond back rattle snake and didn't get envenomated, I would go and play the lottery, ask for that big promotion, just go for any big thing that you may have been holding back on. I do know there are dry bites, and MAYBE when you stepped on it it was early enough for it to be coldish out, and the snake could'nt move fast enough to strike when it was stepped on. I live in Pa. I am clueless about Arizona. But, I know parts of it (or all) are desert. So when dark it's cold or cool, when daytime hot or warm, summer hot as hell. I don't know about it eating and having to do with striking you, it will strike to defend itself hungry or not. You are damn lucky. But, I guess, if it's rattlers who smell like cukes, the copperheads are off the hook then.

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fhfchrish

That is interesting information rltaylor. I happen to live in an area where copperheads and western diamondbacks are both common and have smelled a lot of both of them. Their musk certainly smells different from each other although neither of them reminds me of cucumbers. But again that may be due to the reasons I pointed out before.

I have observed that Prairie Rattlesnakes smell more like Copperheads than Western Diamondbacks do. I don't remember what Mojave Rattlesnakes smell like but I have probably dealt with 100 or less of them in my life. My memory seems to be that they are less likely to musk and therefore their smell isn't obvious.

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oneelflady

rltaylor

If it is all poisonous snakes that smell like that it is a good thing they do!. The one I stepped on only rattled after I stepped on it. and I was so scarred I couldn't find the door knob to bet back in the house case after it slithered away I didn't know where it had gone. But that smell is now indelibly put upon my memory and when I smell it now I am very cautious.

I have had the misfortune of living in KY for a while that had cotton mouth, copper heads and timber rattlers. Fortunately I was only chased by a 3inch long copperhead and was able to get away. I don't recall about the smell in the copper heads but after smelling the rattle snake I would trust my nose and believe anyone on that.

Some one said it was the weeds that smelled like that but. we have denuded our yard of weeds.especially around the gate were we smell the cucumbers off and on. People out her have sand after digging out the roots of the bull grass. This way there is nothing for the snakes to hide in. "It is not the weeds. We do have one native weed that stinks but it smells like cat pee if you walk on it. Ewww.

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fhfchrish

Many venomous snakes in the US do have a similar smelling musk, but many non-venomous snakes also produce a musk that can smell similar. Also a venomous snake only smells this way if it chooses to musk. And coralsnakes have a very different smell when they do musk, which is rare.

So you can't use this smell as a reliable indicator of venomous snakes.

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Kathy Rorie

Sharon McKenzie. Just letting you know. Yes, black racers do chase people. I have seen my aunt running several different times from one. Grew up in WV and for some strange reason, if my Aunt was out working in her garden and there was a black racer around it would chase her to the house. She was too scared to stop and see what it would do. So yes mam, they do chase people!

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fhfchrish

Kathy, the problem with this kind of anecdotal evidence is that the science and real data don't support it. The best data available for black racers say they can crawl at a max speed of around 4 mph, which is about the pace of a quick walk. A person could easily jog faster than any speeding snake, let alone outrun one, so being chased doesn't really make sense. It would be like being chased by a turtle.

Someone might run away from a snake, but the snake isn't going to give chase. It can't and there is no logical explanation of why a black racer would do it.

I worked out in the field in South Carolina for several years doing research in an area where black racers were very common. I saw several per week, at least, sometimes a few per day. I occasionally chased a few of them down to catch them for research. Not once in any of that time did one chase me, or even move towards me.

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poaky1

My best friend was going to buy some land in one of the Fla keys (maybe big pine key, can't recall) and she went to see the plot which had an old mobile home on it) and she saw a black racer snake, he went one way as fast as hell, and she went the other way, just as fast, I was right there, I smelled nothing. I have smelled cucumber really strong when cutting my grass, and I hadn't planted it in my garden, but, saw no snakes at all. I saw a black racer in my dogs yard several ( maybe 8 yrs ago) and I had to take it ( I used a rake) to a field across the driveway, and let it loose in the field, to get free, and I never smelled anything. My mom's dog was biting it on the head as it tried to get into a birds nest up in the Blue spruce tree.

But, then again I'm talking about black racers, not Copperheads and rattle snakes. Rattlesnakes are super rare where I live, but, up the mountains about 30 miles from me, you will see Copperheads. I had seen one hell, maybe 25 years ago, while fishing with my ex-husband. There was a Copperhead lying out on a rock above the water where we were fishing. I never smelled a thing. Okay, I have already mentioned this stuff above. But, I will just prove Debbie above right, and I'll just post this stuff again, mostly because most folks don't bother to read all the posts on here from the bottom to the top. But, anyone who has smelled cukes and seen a snake post please.

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gabes_mom08

my mom said they don't smell like cucumber's.

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Polly Ann

If a cat smells a cucumber it jumps sky high...its not only that it resembles a snake but the scent also throws them into fear/precaution mode. That instinct comes from somewhere...sounds like a few folk need to research this subject more. I believe its not a wives tale.



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poaky1

Funny stuff, I do wonder why they all jumped like that, I had drove past an area a couple days ago, and smelled watermelon and grass smells. It's too early for watermelons, unless those people had a heated greenhouse, but, I know I didn't smell cukes, but, it did make me think of this subject.

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