"I had a big pile of old wood to burn, remnants of an old fence, so I piled it up a safe distance from the house and set fire to it. It burned all afternoon, and by evening it was still smoldering. At about 8PM, I went out to make sure everything was okay. As I was coming back, I found my path barred by a qimpahu\龜殼花 'turtle-pattern snake' about a meter long. The qimpahu is poisonous, and noted for its aggressive temper and lightning fast movements.
"I asked it to move on, which it didn't, so I stamped my foot, indicating, I'm coming through. It ignored me. Just then Sinkang's dogs came by. I thought, great, they'll bark and chase the snake away so I can go back up. The black and white one came trotting up. Boy, talk about an alert dog protecting us faithfully. Not only did he fail to notice the snake barring my way, but on his way up the path he even stepped on it!! I was amazed: dumb dog meets dumb snake… The snake just kind of ignored him and glared at me. I clambered up another way.”
Since I wrote that, I have become much more familiar with my footless neighbors, because there are a lot of them here in Wulai, and I have become used to that sort of behavior. I probably have more experience with snakes than most people, but I have never seen a snake slither over to attack somebody like they do in the movies. In my bare feet or flipflops I have stepped on poisonous snakes and even kicked a couple by accident, but I always apologize. Keep your distance from snakes, because they are dangerous, have no doubts about that. But there's no need to get all panicky, and if you're all panicky, you can't see how beautiful they are. Certainly snakes are among the most beautiful creatures on earth! Just say hello, admire their beauty, and go your own way.
The photo is a qaxa, 雨傘節 banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus multicinctus), in my front yard. I have to admit that here I was not taking my own advice, but I wanted to get close for a photo, and the qaxa didn't mind. But still, it's always safer to keep your distance from a snake. Just step back and admire.