Coachwhip snakes, Hoop snakes, and Joint snakes

“Late at night she would tell me about coachwhip snakes, snakes that could wrap themselves around your leg and whip you on the back and shoulders with their platted tails, running you until they ran you to death. Then they would eat you.

And she told me about hoop snakes, snakes that had spiked tails and could form themselves into a hoop and roll after you, up hills and down hills. When they caught you, they’d hit you with the spiky end of their tails and kill you. If the spike missed you and hit a tree instead, the tree would be dead in fifteen minutes, with all the leaves on the ground because that spiky tail held killing poison.

She especially liked to talk about joint snakes, which she sometimes called glass snakes. They were pretty and seemed to be one of the few things in her world that was not deadly. When you hit or touched a joint snake, it would break into pieces about as long as a joint of your finger. It would stay that way until you left and then join itself back together. It didn’t hurt the snake to be knocked apart, and it lived forever.”

A Childhood: The Biography of a Place, Harry Crews