Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rattlesnake

“Mike that was a rattlesnake back there!”
I’ve been shifted over to a new area which means I have new co-workers. I’m a known snake person. This makes some people uneasy but this guy seems cool with it. How cool with it is he?
“He’ll never make it out there in the road, we have to go back.”

Pretty cool, actually.

I didn’t think it was a snake, I didn’t see it at all, but the man has eyes, I tell you. And he didn’t want to kill it. He wanted us to save it somehow. It was in the middle lane of a five lane section, and I didn’t have any snake gear with me at all. No hook, no bag, no buckets or boxes. And this was a sizable three and a half footer. I’m not going to bare hand this thing, no.

Photos, follow.
Below is a full body shot of an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. This isn’t a coiled cocked, which is to say the snake isn’t coiled up in a tight circled, but rather it’s a sprawled cocked. The head and neck are up above the body which is lying outward. The advantage of this is altitude. The head is higher above the ground, and it’s harder to pin a snake like this, but easier to barehand. You can forgive the snake for not realizing there are human out there stupid enough to grab it by its head. I got old. I got slow. I got smart.
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Below is a shot of where you do not want to be when dealing with this snake. Front on its range is at least half the length of the body. It’s excited, so add another half foot. If it’s an exceptional individual, you might be too close.
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This snake is obviously older than one year, but the rattles have been broken off. The old tale of a rattlesnake having one rattle per year of life is pure myth.

Below is my favorite photo. This is a very beautiful and fascinating animal. We scooped it up off the road, and into the ditch, and hopefully it fled into the fields to live another day. I’ve never felt the sense of risk when saving these animals, but I have felt a sense of failure when I did not.
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Take Care,
Mike

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