Finding the King of American Snakes

Submitted by Answers contributor Quietman
Spent a week at the beach, Holden to be exact, and while there did a bit of research in the Green Swamp, a marvelous 350,000 acre wilderness bordering Nature Conservancy lands near Shallotte, NC,  one of the towns near Holden Beach. I took  a couple of days while at the beach to get credit for my classes with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, Public Education Division.
We have been working mainly with trying to find evidence of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, an endangered species here in North Carolina. Although more common in other states, we are at the northern edge of the snake’s range, and clear cutting back in the 60’s pretty much wrecked most of its habitat.
The Green Swamp is home to a variety of wildlife. Black bear roam the area, along with coyote, fox, bobcat, alligator and deer. The waterways team with fish, largemouth bass, bowfin, redfin pickerel among them. Spectacular birds inhabit the area, various raptors including bald eagle, osprey, and several hawk species. Pileated woodpeckers, white ibis, various herons and numerous songbirds.
We began our  trek into the swamp on an old logging road, whose sandy surface was crisscrossed with the tracks of numerous creatures. One in particular made us nervous, a black bear had used the track recently, and his prints were sunk much deeper in the sand than mine, and I am 212 pounds. A family of raccoons meandered across the road and disappeared into the swamp, followed by a doe with twin fawns.We moved along the edge of a broken pine forest, and saw numerous snakes, including two huge cottonmouths, lying on a log in the creek, sharing it with a couple of eastern river cooter turtles.
We hadn’t gone far into the pines, when Matt said he heard something like a rattler buzzing. It stopped (I never heard it) and we moved closer to the creek and crossed over on an old hand bridge.
Deer flies buzzed around, and a few of them decided we were tasty, we both had several bites when we returned to the car. Really pesky varmints, and hard to swat!
After an hour of walking around and turning logs over, we found a small timber rattlesnake. He never rattled, just sat still, watching us. He had a bulge in his middle, indicating he had recently eaten some unfortunate rodent.
We came back to the bridge, and saw two five foot alligators lying on the bank of the creek just down from the bridge. They seemed to be asleep, so we allowed them their repose, and went back to the pine scrub forest. Pileated woodpeckers were everywhere. Their raucous cries filled the air, and their brilliant colors of black, white, and red just stood out so well in the forest.
After a few minutes, we again heard the distinctive whirring of a rattlesnake, and honed in on another timber rattler, nearly four feet long. This guy was wide awake, coiled and angry! We got as close as we dared, and he struck out at us again and again, but luckily we stayed clear of his attempts.
We went across the road, and followed the bear tracks for about two miles, but never came upon him. From the tracks, it appeared to be a good sized boar. We came back to the vehicle, and dined on turkey sandwiches and Yoo-hoos! Delicious fare when one is hot, tired and hungry!
We drove a couple of miles down to the Nature Conservancy lands, parked, and entered the pine forest. This area is famous for the endangered Venus flytrap, a carnivorous plant found only in Carolina swamplands. We didn’t find any, but they are there in numbers.
We decided to search an area that appeared prime habitat for the diamondbacks, with scattered long leaf pines, and dense understory growth nearly knee high.
It was very nearly a big mistake…
After searching here for an hour, we decided to go back to the vehicle, and head back to the cottage, maybe hit the surf before dinner. After walking for about a half mile, we again heard the sound of an upset rattlesnake, but this was different somehow, slower, but deeper, more ominous. It seemed to be all around us, and we were not wearing leather snake chaps, and the vegetation was knee deep, as I said before.
We froze, and tried to home in on the sound. Matt was afraid to move, but I had to find the snake, as I was sure it was an eastern diamondback. We waited, and the sound would rise, then fall, but seemed never to cease totally. Finally, Matt said the he thought it was coming from an area just to our east, around a lightning killed tree. The ancient tree had burned from the inside out, and a hole at the bottom looked like a good place for a snake to hide out. I took a couple of steps toward it, then the awesome whirring began again, this time right in front of me!
I took a stick and parted the grass, and there in front of me was an enormous eastern diamondback rattler!
I fumbled for the notepad, and logged in the coordinates and time, estimated the length of the snake (five foot six inches) and asked for the digital camera from Matt. He edged closer, and taking the stick, he parted the grass for the shot. No snake!
We searched around the grass for a while, but began to feel distinctively very creepy, as we were in close quarters with the most dangerous snake on the continent, and we could not see him, but knew he was there!
We edged our way slowly out of there, disappointed, yet elated.
We had located the quarry.
Back at the car, a noise up the road got our attention. A female bear with two cubs in tow made for the creek, but stopped long enough to wait for a third cub to come up. The family moved off without so much as a glance toward us.
We didn’t go back the next day, as the fish were biting very well in the surf, so we stuck to that. Still, it was a great excursion, finding the king of American snakes, and all the other wonderful creatures that live in the magical Green Swamp!

WIT – where the teens hang out on Answers.com

Teens2You’ve probably seen the acronym and badges all around the site, but let me introduce you fully to the Answers.com WIT program.

WIT stands for The WikiAnswers Influential Teens. This program provides a safe place for teens to hang out online, ask and answer questions, and even gain the skills to assist the Answers’ Q&A community through special projects!  WIT is a great opportunity for teens to learn cooperation, understanding, and leadership skills.  It’s a fun program, a unique experience, and a terrific resume/college application builder!

WIT is divided into 4 divisions, allowing members to choose which tasks they enjoy most:

Keep an eye out for WIT Explorers! This division is for those members who would like to participate in all facets of the site rather than focus on one particular aspect. To name a few, missions may include answering questions, recategorizing, featuring, and working on flagged questions.

Our fearless WIT Warriors focus on new categories and unsupervised categories. Tasks include seeding new questions, recategorizing questions, cleaning up unsupervised categories, and jumping in to assist with categories that need extra help.

Watch out for those WIT Trailblazers! The Trailblazers focus specifically on answering questions. Their focus could be on newer categories, current event categories, specific categories of interest and featured categories.

Teens1  Meep! Beep! Here come the WIT Roadrunners! They tackle special projects assigned to their division, clean up alternates and merges of  various questions, help Supervisors clean up problem areas in their categories as necessary, remove personal information from answers,  and  various category clean-up.

And these awesome teens have been busy this year! So far in 2014, they have answered 460 questions, done 5,330 recategorizations, 1,410  edits, and edited and unflagged 250 flagged questions.  Membership has grown 20%, with 178 awesome teens in the program, and the  number of missions completed is up 100% since August 2013.

The WIT program coordinator is Melissa aka Melbrown2013.  WIT is currently open to teens between the ages of 13 and 18, have a few  quality contributions on Answers.com, are in good standing on the site, and complete the WIT Membership Application.  The number of  contributions isn’t as important as the quality, and desire to be involved in WIT!

 

If you’re a teen and would like to become a part of this amazing program, contact Melissa at: melbrown2013 at wikianswers.com. Replace “at” with “@” and omit the spaces.

Announcing our 2014 Summer Sizzler AnswerThon Winners!!

We’re excited to announce the winners of our 2014 Summer Sizzler AnswerThon!

Please join us in congratulating these winners who worked hard at answering as many questions as they could from July 17 to July 20. They were amazing!

 

TYPING

FIRST PLACE: $200 Amazon card:

WNY007 (1822 answers)
CrazzyAmmy (1703 answers)
Jabirshah (1446 answers)

SECOND PLACE: $100 Amazon card

Skullcandy88 (1054 answers)
JayJayVay (1023 answers)
Dfoofnik (817 answers)
Peakaytea (712 answers)
Lifesnadir (582 answers)
GeekDushyant (548 answers)
Prachi.tejan.1.0794 (527 answers)
Darkwater (519 answers)
Nemeth.yella (500 answers)

THIRD PLACE: $25 Amazon card

MattApril (450 answers)
Desdichado (439 answers)
Ginezumi (384 answers)
Lugia2453 (305 answers)
LincMad (281 answers)
Lakeshia Plum (275 answers)
Mr.Quizzical (265 answers)
Mg42 killer (261 answers)
PinkiePieJr (248 answers)
Elosery (225 answers)
Flukey (216 answers)

RUNNER-UPS:  Answers Merchandise

Anuradha.dubey.gp6143 (202 answers)
Starrskitchen (185 answers)
DrAshok Deshmukh (183 answers)
Dynotech (181 answers)
Lysdexia (169 answers)
Pyrrha (168 answers)
Dlhalper (149 answers)
Prioktan918 (145 answers)
Snart Gurk (145 answers)
ThatwouldBme (125 answers)

RANDOM WINNERS:

Amazon gift cards just by answering at least 10 questions! $25 Amazon card

Tschear (124 answers)
Najn (90 answers)
Galileedawn (35 answers)
LWOPP (24 answers)
Musdan77 (10 answers)

The much anticipated AnswerThon is hosted by Answers four times each year. Registrants for the event compete during a specified time period to answer as many unanswered questions as they can. It’s easy to win! In fact, if you answer just 10 questions, you’re automatically entered in a drawing to win an Amazon gift card.

How many questions can YOU answer?

questions

Keep an eye on The World of Answers so you won’t miss the next AnswerThon!

How about those WikiReviewers?

Close up of vintage typewriter machineWhen our WikiReviewers tackle a task, they do it with gusto! It’s amazing to see members of this program band together on missions and work hard to meet and even by-pass monthly program goals!

We’re saving the bulk of our brags for our end-of-the-year sound off, but we just can’t keep quiet about one of the  WikiReviewers‘ accomplishments this year. And boy are we proud of this one!  In April, WikiReviewers dove into the Uncategorized category with a goal of recategorizing 5,000 questions. We thought that would be a pretty tough task. Well, you’ll be amazed to know by the end of the month, we had recategorized an astronomical 425,988 questions!!  Turns out we set our sights a little low on that one, and as more WikiReviewers pitched in, we exceeded our goal far beyond what we expected!

In the past year, WikiReviewers have completed a walloping 14,978 missions, making hundreds of thousands of needed edits on the site!  We’ve also gained over 30 new members since the first of the year!

There are five divisions in the WikiReviewers Program, each with their own specific types of assignments.  Robin, the program coordinator, places newcomers to the program in the most suitable category for them, based on a review of their contributions to the site.

If you happen to meet up with a WikiReviewer on the site, give them a pat on the back.  They certainly deserve it!

 

It’s exciting to be part of the WikiReviewers Program!  If you would like to join us, message Robin, the program coordinator and let her know.

Vigorous Chemist

vigorouschemist

Vigorouschemist Is a WikiAnswers Supervisor, Mentor, Editor at Large, Wikiguide, SPA Alimnist and Vandal Patrol Generalist, his principal leisure time activities are related to classical music. He devotes at least one hour every day to play the piano (excluding exercises). Sometimes when his mind is stuck for any reason, he might scribble down a small melody or improvise something which would never be heard again even to him.

What is your first name?

My first name is Chrishan.

What is your occupation?

I’m currently an undergraduate in the Physical Sciences stream at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka.

What is your Answers.com username and how did it come about?

My username at Answers.com is Vigorouschemist. When I was in high school in the Advanced Level of Mathematics, I became famous for solving exam questions in chemistry in a relatively very short time. My friends gave me this nickname after I got only one incorrect response in a span of 30 minutes on a two hour exam.

What enticed you to join our community?

When I and my classmates were doing academic work, we used the Internet for immediate reference.  On many occasions –  actually almost all occasions –  we landed on the Answers.com page.  I decided that one day I would  contribute to Answers.com! I signed up on 29th April 29th in 2012, although prior to that time I contributed as an anonymous user. The credits of enticement should go to my friends and search engines.

What is your favorite thing to do on Answers.com?

As a regular contributor, my favorite task is to give first answers in full sentences.  I submitted 100 such answers even before completing my first 150 contributions. By now, as a supervisor, batch re-categorizing and editing alternates are among my favorite activities.  Meanwhile, my least interesting task is to warn and block users.

If you were inviting someone to join Answers.com, what reason(s) would you give them to become a part of our community?

I will never forget to invite my friends to contribute to Answers.com.  It allows them to help other persons in various ways and they gain extra knowledge about the fields they are interested in. I would recommend Answers.com as one of the best websites with a friendly community of CAs, Supervisors, Special Project Assistants and other contributors.

What life accomplishments are you proud of?

One of the accomplishments that I am most proud of is being eligible to do undergraduate studies in my favorite subject stream.

What accomplishments on Answers.com are you proud of?

I’m proud of being a Double Platinum Contributor, Special Project Assistant Active Alumni, and a Category Supervisor. I am also a Mentoring Program graduate, another tremendous achievement! What is your favorite type of music?  What is your favorite band or artist?

I like classical music, especially piano sonatas and symphonies. Among my favorite composers are Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Robert Schumann and many others.

Who is your favorite poet?  What is your favorite poem and why?

My favorite poet is Wendy Whatmore. My favorite poem is “Island Spell” by the same author and it is written about my home country. The poetic devices and techniques used there are awesome!

Do you view the glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’?  Why?

Actually I believe it depends on the context. As an example, when results are given on an exam, I’d like to see the glass as ‘half filled’. But when I’m practicing something, such as a performance for a recital, I usually like to see the ‘half empty’ glass, because it can be further filled by continuous effort!

What is your favorite quote and why?

“A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein I believe that there may be many mistakes happened by me (although I try to refrain), so I am practicing to be patient in all circumstances I face when dealing with other persons.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?

My parents, all of my teachers and my sister are among the persons behind me in my activities.

Where is one place in the world you would love to visit and why?

I would like to visit the Amazon Rain Forest. The beauty of nature, colorful surroundings rich with natural and clean air and its solemnity would make me happy and light hearted!

What are your special interests, hobbies, or collections?

There are many activities that I enjoy in my leisure times. Most of the time I am play the piano, and among my other hobbies are philately, listening to music, photography, playing chess and contributing to Answers.com (obviously!).

Meet HisPowr4U

Hispowr4U started out on Answers.com in 2007 and already had a WAmmy Lifetime Achievement Award by 2009.  She is an honored member of the Millionaire’s Club many times over with more than 3 million contributions. She has 6,744 Trust Points, another indication of how highly valued she is on the site. Her favorite categories include: Word and Phrase Origins, Definitions and Word Differences, and Synonyms and Antonyms. She is also very active in the Music category.  Check out B.J.s profile page to see beautiful portraits of Smokey, her kitty and many more accomplishments. She is an impressive and respected member of our community!

What is your first name? My real first name is Betty, but I go by BJ.

What is your occupation? I’m unemployed and disabled.

What is your Answers.com username and how did it come about?

It is HisPowr4U (notice there’s no E in it!). I actually prayed that God would help me to think of a name that would point others to Him, and that’s what I believe He gave me.

Where in the world do you hail from and what makes this place special?

I grew up in Missouri, but since 1984 I have lived in Western North Carolina. I love the mountains here, and the flowers in the spring.

How did you discover Answers.com?

 I was asking a question on Google.com – I have no idea now what the question was – and one of the first “answers” was a link to WikiAnswers. I was lovestruck.

What enticed you to join our community?

Soon after I started contributing to the site, I was invited to become a Supervisor. I had so much fun on the site, I jumped right in.

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Smokey: Powr4U's kitty!

Smokey: Powr4U’s kitty!

 I would be a kitten, because they are so precious and cuddly.

What is your favorite thing to do on Answers.com?

 I love to re-categorize questions.

If you were inviting someone to join Answers.com, what reason would you give that person to become a part of our community?

 It’s FUN! There are so many things available on the site now to do, and there are so many more groups than when I first found the site. If a person has special knowledge about any subject, he or she will be able to find a niche here.

What life accomplishments are you proud of?

 I used to do short-term mission trips to Juarez, Mexico once a year with a friend of mine who had a youth group. I translated for the group sometimes because I was the only one who spoke Spanish. We did preaching, singing, and a lot of skits. I even taught the youth group how to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “This Little Light of Mine” in Spanish.

I am proud of learning Spanish, although I’m not totally fluent.  It comes in handy. Now I’m writing Bible questions in Spanish for the director of an orphanage in Guatemala. They do what they call “Bible Quizzing” in which the kids use questions (Such as who, what, when, where, why, how?)  to memorize Bible verses.

Check out some of HisPowr4U’s contributions on the site!

Meet Ironnica: Eclectic, Intelligent and Irish

Friend with Ironnica on Graduation Day

Friend with Ironnica on Graduation Day

Ironnica is one of our top Supervisors in the areas of Chemistry and Math. He has a special talent for chemistry in particular and is currently doing a PhD in the subject, and he is just 25 years old! To pay his way through school, he bartends and he also works with undergraduate students at University. On our site, he is an AnswerThon winner in Second Place, and a member of the Mentoring Program and Vandal Patrol. He is also a Category Supervisor in Math and Arithmetic and Chemistry and related areas. At over 26, 000 contributions, he is already a Gold Contributor. It is an honor to have Ironnica helping out on our site! Read more and get to know this young Irishman.

What is your first name?

My first name is Liam.

What is your occupation?

I am a PhD student in Dublin City University. My area of study is solar fuels generation in the Department of Chemistry.

What enticed you to join our community?

I asked a question about a guitar that I wanted to buy, the Jackson WRMG. It has a very unusual shape and I wanted to know if it would fit into a normal sized soft guitar bag. Somebody actually checked their guitar and let me know that it did. From there, I answered a few questions while in  my first year of college and later I was asked to join the Premier Answerers Facebook page. That was a very nice touch. Following that, the community of people on the site made it somewhere that I wanted to stay. There are a lot of lovely people here.

What is your favorite thing to do on Answers.com?

I like answering questions. I’ve recently been working through a few key words, mainly on unit conversions, as a means to clean the backlog up. I could try to guess alternative wording for answers in the hope of slotting an answer in, but for the majority of these questions, they require a one sentence answer, and it is far more efficient to just answer them. When I started,  I used to look up the answers to questions I had a vague idea about, and I learned a lot of random things myself through that method. I used reliable sources so I do not fear that the info was incorrect!

What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

The move from an institute of technology (IT Carlow) to university was daring. I didn’t come from a house with vast amounts of money, but I knew from my time in Carlow that chemistry was my calling and that I would have been at a disadvantage if I didn’t take the plunge.

What is your favorite type of music? What is your favorite band or artist?

Andy McKee

Andy McKee

I used to be into heavy metal and some power metal, hard rock, punk and a random mix aside from that. I have gone now drifted towards pop punk and listen to Less than Jake, The Offspring, Blink 182, Bad Religion, Lars Frederiksen, Bouncing Souls, Fight Like Apes and Dead Cat Bounce. Two legends of music that I’ll always hold very dear are Andy McKee (double hand tapping acoustic) and Ludovico Einaudi (Italian composer and pianist). I’ve been very lucky to see both and they gave incredible shows.

What makes you unique?

I am a very honest person, and if I’m not being honest, I have good reason not to be. I am not religious, but I do live by a loose idea of karma. I have been very lucky in life to get where I am, which encourages me to continue this way and to keep in mind who may be affected by my actions or lack of them.

What are you most passionate about in your life?

I am most passionate about chemistry, and as of late, inspiring younger minds by explaining things in ways that I wish had been told to me. I have always been passionate about my three nephews and my niece and I hope to be there for them whenever they need me in the future.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?

I don’t need to look far in my life for inspiration thankfully. My girlfriend, Andrea is a rock, and a very intelligent, capable and highly motivated individual, and to put up with me is something to be admired on its own.

My dad and sister have always offered me help. My dad has provided me with any tools that I have needed in life, and has done his level best for me. I have quite a few aunts and uncles who are there to give support whenever needed, in particular, my uncle Eamonn who is a Catholic priest. He (and others) has looked out for me and we get on remarkably well, considering I am an atheist. He respects that, and it goes unmentioned.

Do you view the glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’? Why?

I am a half empty type of person, a bad habit. Doing research is an absolute roller-coaster that has you picking yourself up a few times a week. That’s where the forced optimism comes in, and the “ah sure, it’ll be grand” line.

What life accomplishments are you proud of?

I won the 2009 Eurachem Analytical Measurement Competition in Ireland. I was selected as one of five IT students to represent Ireland at the 2008 London International Youth Science Forum. I got a side qualification in quality assurance while attending Carlow IT. I finished top of class in my undergraduate degree. Also, I never dreamed that I could have the opportunity to do a PhD, and for getting here (a long road to go yet) I am proud no matter what lies ahead in the future.

Anything else?

Not so much a question, but I have to thank the Answers team for the opportunity to enter the recent AnswersThon and for being the lovely people that they are. They have provided a platform of free education.  I am also thankful to Sal Khan of Khan Academy, Wikipedia, and the infinite amount of freely available educational resources on the Internet. We really live in a knowledge-rich environment with all these media available at our fingertips. With proper dedication, anyone can succeed, with the right tools already in place.

Check out some of Ironnica’s questions on Answers.com:

How do you find the answer to A girl counted 28 geese and horses on the farm all together and if there were 78 legs how many were geese?

What two factors most influence the chance a collision will occur between atoms of chemical reactions?

What are 5 ways to know that a chemical reaction has taken place?

How much water will a 25 millimeter by 100 millimeter pipe hold?