I suppose this comes from growing up around snakes. I didn’t. I rarely saw them, more rarely played with them, never knowingly established a close personal bond with any reptile other than David E. Petzal. In other words, I’m scared of them. Not all snakes, mind you. Just the ones that are or might be venomous. I know, for example, that brown water snakes and cottonmouths superficially resemble each other but can be distinguished by a number of characteristics. Relatively speaking, cottonmouths have chunkier bodies, thinner necks, and more triangular heads. Oh, and the eye pupil of a cottonmouth is vertical, while the brown’s is circular. Thing is, you have to have seen enough of these snakes to have a mental database against which to compare particular snakes. I haven’t seen enough of them. And I’m damn sure not getting close enough to one to examine its pupils.