My childhood home in Brooklyn, Michigan was surrounded by woods. Not deep or vast, but enough that I spent a lot of time exploring, climbing, and crawling. Wading into swamps barefoot and being either too young to know better or too stupid to care. I've met me. It was both.

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Then, one day, it all changed. I was daydreaming while walking in the backyard, paying about as much attention to my surroundings as any 8-year-old boy does, when IT happened. I felt something slither over the top of my flip-flopped foot, while simultaneously several other somethings wriggled under it. I looked down, and though I couldn't see it myself, I know every ounce of color drained from my body as I levitated, leaving that single flip-flop there for future generations to find as I made my way to the comfort of cement....

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I couldn't imagine what all those garter snakes were doing in that one spot other than ambush me. Me! A harmless 8-year-old Michigan boy turned man who can't even walk through the rough of a golf course without scanning for nope ropes. That fear, healthy or not, gave me a deep respect and curiosity for all things creepy and crawly. Show me a picture of a snake online. I'll click it. Show me a real, live, slithering snake, and I will be the first to leave that area and zip code. If I'm scared enough you might even get a shoe out of the deal.

Related: Is It Illegal To Kill Bats In Michigan?

The Deadly 7: Michigan's Most Venomous and Poisonous Threats

The Deadly 7: Michigan's Most Venomous and Poisonous Threats

In Michigan, we may not have hurricanes or gators, but we have bugs that carry fatal diseases, blister-causing plant life, and 3 deadly native Michigan species.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow