Here’s something that just happened that got me thinking of a failure on my part. I’ve always personally been very careful about venomous snakes. We have Diamondbacks, Coral Snakes and Moccasins around here. I live in a still somewhat rural area of Florida (changing fast though ), and I’ve mentioned before that I carry a revolver with a couple snake cartridges in it when I’m working around the property.
My grown daughter (college age) lives now in a very urban area. She works nights at a Panera. She’s over visiting for the weekend and just showed us a picture of a cute little bit of wildlife they rescued from the kitchen last week. They had found a cute little snake curled around the rolling dish rack wheels, and one of the guys put on a serving glove, picked it up and relocated it out to some bushes in back.
When she showed me the picture it was a classic Eastern Diamondback! I said, “you know, that’s a rattlesnake!” She said, “no, they guy at work said it was a King Snake.” I showed her pictures of both and she could immediately see that, yeah, he relocated a diamondback with zero protection on his hands! Talk about lucky. I mean, her picture could have been an identification chart picture of a classic Diamondback.
Moral of the story, don’t assume your kids know their snakes. My daughter always loved reptiles and knows a lot about nature, but couldn’t tell the difference between a King Snake and a Diamondback.
I am curious as to how they missed the rattle, or the button, if it was a newborn? I live in AZ, and we have 11 different species of rattlesnake, a coral snake species, along with numerous other snakes. I have never seen someone misidentify a rattler. They misidentify everything else all the time, but if it’s a rattler, they usually make it pretty obvious.
Some years ago, my wife and I camped in AZ. The site was southwest of Flagstaff in a site that required us to drive 4WD for a couple hours to reach the campground, just west of nowhere. We had the campground to ourselves and marveled at the stars in a dark sky.
Then we came upon a very large, black rattlesnake. I immediately scooted outta there, my wife, however, asserted that the snake was not a rattlesnake 'cause it was black and everyone knows rattlesnakes are not black. However, upon doing a little research, we discovered that this area was home to the Arizona black rattlesnake.
Now, the danger it presented was that we were a 2 hrs 4WD drive before we got to anything resembling a road, and then a couple hours from Flagstaff. No cell phone service in that part of AZ to call the calvary, either. We did not sleep on the ground in the tent that night.
Moral: snakes are bad. Don’t touch them in the wild, 'cause you probably don’t know what they are.
My kids used to go up on the mountain behind our place and catch Rock Mountain Rattlers, it was legal then but not any more. They’d make hat bands and wallet panels and such. I would always tell them “You realize, your odds are getting worse and worse, eventually one of you is going to get bit…”. Well it finally happened, one of his buddies got bit. Interesting how a persons hobby interests can change after a rattle snake bite…
I love nature and the outdoors, when I can make it out there.
Appreciate the tales, no pun, especially because there is so much entertaining TV and social media which show the beauty - where it’s easy to overlook the discomforts and risks. Being out there ain’t always easy.
Well, according to what my daughter found, you may only need to go as far as the neighborhood Panera to find dangerous wildlife.
I’m guessing they didn’t suspect a Diamondback because 1, they’re not all that common in the city, and 2, it was definitely a juvenile and it hadn’t developed a rattle yet. He did have the distict black bands around the tail, and his head was the classic wide flat triangle. Plus, his markings were the perfect diamond pattern, not the more diffuse random camo of the Kingsnakes. I dont think they realized that juveniles dont have rattles yet.
Yes, we have Arizona Black Rattlers in Northern AZ. However, nine times out of ten, they are going to let you know they are there, long before you are close enough for a problem. Snakes are not inherently bad animals. They are like every other living creature, trying to make their way in the world. Some just happen to have an efficient way to defend themselves from dangerous animals like ourselves. In my humble opinion, as a guy who deals with them on a regular basis out here in the desert, NOBODY should be attempting to pick up ANY snake at ANY time, with the exception of those who know precisely what they are doing and dealing with. We are finding that even some snakes long thought to be completely harmless, do in fact have venom and a way to deliver it. Here is a piece of trivia for you: the common Garter Snake, which is found in every lower 48 state, is actually venomous. It is a very mild venom that will not affect 99.9% of people, but there you have it. Wildlife is not meant to be “caught and held”. We should give it the same respect that we give eachother.
I was in North Carolina at Camp Leguine when I saw a big Diamond back snake and I grabbed it and picked it up by the head and my Seargent turned white with fear. I just replied, “I heard that these are good in enchiladas!” I got bitch at for doing it, but I took it to a better place away from the barracks down by a stream.
Definitely good to know! But I would’ve thought that little rattle might have given it away. BTW, I once carried those so called “snake” rounds too and after shooting a few rats , they only made them run faster!
I am not a snake expert but I have read that “baby” rattlers are actually more dangerous than their older relatives. According to the expert writing the article, older rattlers have learned through life experience not to inject all their venom in one shot. Baby rattlers don’t have that life experience so give you everything they have. Thus one is more likely to get a more severe reaction to a baby rattler bite than an adult rattler bite. As for me, I leave all such critters alone.