Spent the week here by myself. The Prospector went on a fishing trip in British Columbia and has been gone all week. When he leaves for any length of time, this is when Murphy's law always seems to rear its ugly head. This morning it was in the form of a huge Rattlesnake.
We have a resident King snake that lives under the old goat house, but he has either gone on to better hunting grounds or been dispatched by a hawk or owl. Haven't seem the King in a while. He is obviously not taking care of business around here.
This morning, early, the dogs were barking at the back door. I thought they saw the cat. She likes to prance around where they can see her and then runs into the garage, just to annoy them.
I yelled something like, "Hey, stop barking at Annie." and they ignored me... kept barking and started doing their "something wild has entered the area" bark. Cutter gets a sort of hysterical edge to his bark and turns in circles. That he was doing.
I went to the back door and looked out toward the garage.
There it was, slithering across the concrete, the biggest Rattler I've seen in a long, long time.
This is when I went into overdrive. I called my neighbor and he said he would be there as fast as he could.
We always have a plan. The Prospector had already showed me where to grab the bucket and the "snake wrangler", a long tube with a rope inside of it that you pull to tighten. The plan was for me to loop this around the snakes head and lift it into the bucket. But this was a BIG snake.
I took the wrangler, left the dogs in the house and went out through the front door and around to the front of the garage. I found a container... a big, empty, green plastic planter. It was deep enough, I thought, but now I wasn't sure I wanted to do this. When I looked down the sidewalk I could see the snakes head right at the corner of the garage. I hoped that it would stay right there until my neighbor came. It did.
"D" arrived, had his revolver with him and we went through the garage and came out a door that put us behind the snake. It was over before I knew what happen. The big snake was dead.
This was an old Western Diamondback Rattlesnake and a beautiful specimen.
The more a Rattlesnake sheds, the more segments are added to its rattle. When the Rattlesnake vibrates its tail, the segments click together to produce the buzzing rattle sound.
The smooth pear-shaped button of new born Rattlesnake
An unbroken rattle with a button at its tip
A broken rattle ending in a tiered nubbin
You cannot tell a Rattlesnake's age by simply counting its rattles.
(The above information is from this site. Thanks to F. Wayne King for the illustrations.)
This seemed like an old rattler with a broken set of rattles.
The weather is still very hot. I check the whole front yard, bushes and all the corners where a snake might be resting, before I let Carl and Cutter out. This is a labor of love.
They have their anti venom shots but they are little dogs and must be protected.
Annibel, our barn cat, takes her chances everyday. I always check the chicken boxes before I retrieve the eggs.
I continue to watch everywhere.
"Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep."~German proverb~
( and along garage walls, under wood piles and in unsuspecting corners.)
Have a Happy 4th of July.