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.

Related: Beware: This Michigan Parasite Burrows Into Your Skin, and Dies

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