The Nation: More Bitter Than a Serpent's Sting

Fred P. Shields, 73, spotted a nest of copperheads one day last week in the 80-ft. well on his farm in Cheshire, Ohio, so he enlisted his 42-year-old son Fred D. and his 18-year-old grandson James to help kill them.

They attached a hose to the exhaust pipe of their pickup truck, stuck the hose into the well and filled it with carbon monoxide. After a while, Shields lowered himself into the well to see if the snakes were really dead. When he failed to come out again, his son went in after him. When the second man failed to come out,...

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