Sunday, May 4, 2014

First Rattlesnake of the Year

I was walking around about a week ago looking for a bull that decided he wanted to hide out in the brush and happened to look down and saw a rattlesnake curled up near some rocks. 

By coincidence, about a year ago, this same bull found a gap in the fence where a tree fell on it and while I was tracking him down the railroad tracks trying to find his worthless hide and hoping that a train hadn't slammed into him and turned him into a big pile of hamburger, I almost stepped on a rattlesnake.  If I hadn't been looking at the ground trying to pick up the tracks of that bull, I never would have seen that snake.  Because of that, I've gotten in the habit of always checking the ground for rattlesnakes whenever I'm walking around piles of rocks or brush. 

I tried to take a picture of him (or her) with my phone, but it's a little difficult to take a clear picture of a camouflaged rattlesnake with a phone with the sun shining bright and turning the screen so dark that you can't really tell what you're aiming the camera at (how do all those young whipper-snappers take all those pictures of everything in sight with their phones??).

Where the heck is that rattlesnake? It's centered and about 2/3 up from the bottom

The first person that can spot the rattlesnake in the picture will get an enthusiastic "ATTABOY" and a fabulous no-money award from the officials at the Watch Out for the Bull blog. 

Zoomed in, the snake is towards the top of the picture (look for the horizontal lines)

Up until about four or five years ago, I'd never even seen a rattlesnake anywhere close to the farm, but now I seem to see them all the time.  It might be a case of once you finally see one, you'll see all of them, and they have always been here, but I just couldn't see them (there might be some sort of deep philosophizing possible with that sort of thinking).

Or, I might be seeing more rattlesnakes because I'm growing more of the stuff they eat, and creating more of the habitat they like to live in.  I like having rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, quail, and songbirds running around, so I can put up with more rattlesnakes if it means I also have more quail, rabbits, and squirrels, although I'm not enlightened enough yet to tolerate an overabundance of rats and mice.

Typically, I just leave any rattlesnakes that I happen to find out in the pastures alone, so on this day there was no going "all caveman" on him and trying to smash him with a big rock.  Any rattlesnakes that I find close to the barn or near any gates don't get off that lucky, so if any rattlesnakes are reading this, don't get any ideas about moving in with a kind-hearted  rattlesnake-tolerant live-and-let-live sort of guy.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, that thing was hard to see.

    I have never seen a rattlesnake out here, but I guess they do exist. I have seen lots of black rat snakes, and always have a little heart attack when encountering them where I don't expect. I've seen a few copperheads, and the dog has gotten bit a couple of times, sticking his snout under wood piles.

    I would much rather have snakes around than packrats. Those things sure can make a mess in a hurry.

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    1. Since you found the snake in the picture, you get the ATTABOY, and now you can NOT wait by the mailbox for the fabulous no-money award.

      In real life it was much easier to see it laying there, I wish I could have gotten a better picture of it. If I get ambitious this summer, I'll go out with a camera and try to get some decent pictures with a better camera.

      If I had to choose, I'd prefer to get bitten by a packrat than a rattlesnake.

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  2. It's like Where's Waldo with more serious consequences! I can't see the snake for the life of me but I'll take your word for it. Fortunately we don't have many poisonous snakes up where I live. I mostly see bull and garter snakes and those infrequently.

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    1. It's not the greatest picture, but if you click on the first picture you'll notice that there are two pieces of grass that are crossed above the lower rock. The snake is laying sort of horizontal across the crossed grass about 2/3 up from the rock. Look for a diamond shaped pattern running horizontally.

      I never realized it until I started seeing rattlesnakes more often, but they have sort of a "matte finish" compared to most snakes that seem to have a "semi-gloss finish" (if that makes sense). I think that's why I started seeing them more often because I'm looking for that weird matte camouflage without thinking about it.

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  3. I found Waldo! Thanks for the hint. That was a tough one to spot.

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