Will a Snake Cross a Rope?


Belay On
Site Team
Jun 30, 2009
Sierra Nevada Range
Julie and I have a friend who, unfortunately, is deathly afraid of snakes. We respect her fears and are cautious about even sharing photos or stories with her. She's shared stories that she was able to camp with her family when young because they convinced her this old story about a rope was true.

She's known better since childhood now. This old TV show segment popped up on YouTube.

I like snakes.
One of my bosses (back in the day) was deathly afraid of snakes -- so I learned:

One day my boss came in my office to discuss something. She sat down then saw on my desk a photo of a gopher snaked coiled around my wrist and hand (from a visit to the Warner Lakes Valley, Oregon).
"Mark, please put that away".
Made no sense to me, but I put the photo away.
I've heard that one for years; but " You asked for it " just added another fable to the "dustbin of history". Wonder what happened to that program anyway? Well Steve, you can use the old standby of marking your camp boundaries with a little pee (scent marking)-that seems to work!

My snake story was funny to me and some of my survey crew buddies. One of our team found a baby rattler and knowing the opinionated pompous arrogant new guy was afraid of snakes, we put the snake in the lap drawer of his desk at work before he showed up in the morning. That was as close to teleportation I have ever seen anyone get. He rocketed out of his rolling chair and moved at least ten feet in the blink of an eye. He was a bit upset and used a great variety of colorful words in a vengeful manner for a while.

We were all 'Hey what's going on?' 'Are you o.k. Kevin?' 'Did you get an electrical shock?'

Later we were all 'Who would do that to you, Kevin?' 'Seems pretty mean!'
Ski - Thanks for posting this. I don't care too much about the snake/rope myth but had forgotten all about, "You Asked For It." My family loved that show and we seldom missed an episode. Thanks to you and Julie, now I will probably end up watching more episodes on YouTube than I have time for :D . Seriously, thanks for opening up another path down memory lane. Best, Richard
Saw something on TV the other day: Ash from a fire spread around in a circle does the same thing as a rope-who knows, more myth or fact?

Snakes will blithely crawl across a rope. They will also happily crawl across a line of mothballs or "Snake-Away." How do I know? Because I tested all these on rattlesnakes during the course of writing a book about urban wildlife, and also while my wife and I were writing 50 Common Reptiles and Amphibians of the Southwest.

Once ingrained, it is very difficult to get over a fear of snakes (or spiders or bats or . . . )

But studies have shown that it's a learned reaction, not instinctive. So it is possible.

Moving a female diamondback out of our yard a few years ago.

Bird yard diamondback.JPG
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