C. danced around a nice-sized coral snake yesterday morning at Friedrich Park. Three of us were running along talking about the terrain out at Bandera when C. broke into a high-stepping jig. I get to teach a bit about snakes, so I’m always interested to see exactly what’s slithered by. We reviewed the rhyme “Red on yellow, kill of fellow. Red on black, venom lack.” This is a useless rhyme for me because I can switch it around and confuse myself. “Red on yellow, okay fellow. Red on black, you’re dead Jack.” Fortunately red and yellow are the colors are McDonalds, so I just remember that if I eat enough McDonalds I’ll die. Of course, I’ve heard there are poisonous coral snakes on the Texas-Mexico border that have black bands next to red bands. Sneaky. So the coral snake rhyme for Texas is “Red on yellow or black, stay away from the snake.” Thankfully it’s hard to get yourself killed by a coral snake. Before 2006, the last confirmed coral snake death was in 1960s. And the fellow who died in 2006, really had to work at it. (“When the coral snake slithered among them a couple hours before dusk Saturday, the men had been sitting around drinking long-neck bottles of Budweiser in a wide and littered clearing they had made for themselves in the saw palmettos.”) You can read the full account here, but the take home message is: Don’t pick up a coral snake and, if you do, don’t be too drunk on to get yourself to a hospital afterwards. I’d love to write more showing off my snake-y smarts, but Tropical Storm Hermine is causing some flooding in my garage and I’ve got to save the cat litter.