Jump to content

Face to face with a diamondback rattler!


Followers 0

Recommended Posts

I know, I should post this in the Southwest section, but I was out in the desert today geocaching and just about stepped on a diamondback rattler sunning himself, stretched right across the wash I was walking in. I had that "only looking at my feet" vision when I walked right up to him. Lucky for me he was sunning, so he was a little slow in lifting up his head. Needless to say, I took 3 quick steps backwards and took a second to calm back down. Scared me good! He was blocking my way past, there was no way around him, unless I wanted to walk all the way back to the beginning of the high walls that were on both sides of the wash. How to get him to move? I stood about 5 feet away from him and I stomped my right foot down into the dirt as hard as I could three times. He must have gotten the message, because he slowly slithered away to the side of the wash instead of getting a "stomping". Yes, I did get some up close pics, too.

Link to comment

Happened to me. I was backpacking in the Catskills with a friend. We made camp and went out for a day hike and on the way back to our campsite we heard "the rattle". I've heard the sound on TV many times, but hearing it in person is quite different. We ran about 100 yards in the other direction, gathered our wits and stopped to decided how we were going to get past it.

 

Each time we approached it, the rattler (which by this time was curled up and in strike mode) would give a threatning rattle. Since it was blocking our way, we started tossing rocks at it, but that only seemed to tick it off more.

 

Finally, we both found long, forked sticks and slooooowly walked past the snake. It sat there menacing us and rattling away, but didn't budge an inch. So much for them being "more afraid of us then we are of them".

 

[This message was edited by BrianSnat on May 09, 2003 at 04:35 PM.]

Link to comment

These snakes usually don't mess with you unless you mess with them. When I was growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona -there was a lot of development going on in the area and these snakes would be driven out of their habitat and into people's garages.

 

Another problem was that these snakes aren't very smart (go figure) and like to sun themselves on paved roads. There were (are) a lot of A-holes who would see these guys on the road and speed up -chuckling as they make roadcrust out of them.

 

If I were you I would think that it was a magnificant find. Kind of like spotting any natural wildlife when geocaching. Treasure this moment because there probably won't be many more of them.

Link to comment

I know a lot of people would grab a rock or just shoot it, but I have too much respect for the wildlife. No slam intended against those who would, but I just didn't.

 

Yep, BrianSnat, tossing rocks would just wizz it off...that visual made me laugh, though....

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by TEAM 360:

I know, I should post this in the Southwest section, but I was out in the desert today geocaching and just about stepped on a diamondback rattler sunning himself, stretched right across the wash I was walking in. I had that "only looking at my feet" vision when I walked right up to him. Lucky for me he was sunning, so he was a little slow in lifting up his head. Needless to say, I took 3 quick steps backwards and took a second to calm back down. Scared me good! He was blocking my way past, there was no way around him, unless I wanted to walk all the way back to the beginning of the high walls that were on both sides of the wash. How to get him to move? I stood about 5 feet away from him and I stomped my right foot down into the dirt as hard as I could three times. He must have gotten the message, because he slowly slithered away to the side of the wash instead of getting a "stomping". Yes, I did get some up close pics, too.


 

could you either post the pics or even email me one or two? ive never seen a wild rattler and my experience with them is in the form of tv shows.

 

'Get to the point---speak English!!!!'

Link to comment

quote:
Yep, BrianSnat, tossing rocks would just wizz it off...that visual made me laugh, though....

 

We thought that if they were "so afraid of us", tossing a few rocks in its direction would hasten its retreat. Dumb idea I guess.

 

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" -Abraham Lincoln

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by TEAM 360:

I know a lot of people would grab a rock or just shoot it, but I have too much respect for the wildlife. No slam intended against those who would, but I just didn't.

 


 

I was 17, pretty hyped up on western movies, and snake skin belts and hatbands was pretty cool back then.

 

Today, I would do what I can to let wildlife be. I get a better payback watching life in the wild rather than stepping in and destroying it for a trophy.

 

The difference a quarter century makes I guess.

 

Cheers!

TL

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by dave and jaime:

 

could you either post the pics or even email me one or two? ive never seen a wild rattler and my experience with them is in the form of tv shows.

 

'Get to the point---speak English!!!!'


 

There's nothing like the adrenaline rush pushed on by the initial panic of coming face to face with an animal that has the ability to cause you great pain and injury with one bite.

 

It's like your senses takes a bungee jump that lasts a split second. If you can keep your initial fear under control, they are an awesome creature to observe and in general, as stated here in this thread, will leave you alone so long as they don't feel threatened. You will know the snake is agitated by watching the flicking of the tongue. The more rapid the flick, the more likely it will become agressive as this is how he is tracking you, by sound vibrations, and by infrared sensitivity in its pit between the nostril and eye. The rattle of the tail indicates his nervousness and is generally thought of as a warning which is not entirely true as they have been known to attack with little or no warning (personal experience).

 

The current thought that they will soon be a threatened species isn't based on true life (yet). They are like coyotes in the fact the more the species is threatened, the more they produce.

 

Cheers!

TL

Link to comment

quote:
The current thought that they will soon be a threatened species isn't based on true life (yet). They are like coyotes in the fact the more the species is threatened, the more they produce.


 

I think they are threatened in some areas. I know they are very rare in the northeast ( think we have timber rattlers here). Heck, in 20 some years and many thousands of miles of hiking, I've run into one. BTW, coyotes aren't threatened here at all. The population is exploding.

 

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" -Abraham Lincoln

Link to comment

I remember running across a couple of them out hiking as a kid up in Iron Springs near Prescott, AZ. One just kept slithering up over the rock, one rattled and so I ran, and another made the unfortunate mistake of crawling into the horse corral. His head was no match for the rancher's sledgehammer.

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by BrianSnat:

quote:
The current thought that they will soon be a threatened species isn't based on true life (yet). They are like coyotes in the fact the more the species is threatened, the more they produce.


 

I think they are threatened in some areas. I know they are very rare in the northeast ( think we have timber rattlers here). Heck, in 20 some years and many thousands of miles of hiking, I've run into one. BTW, coyotes aren't threatened here at all. The population is exploding.

 

_"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues"_ -Abraham Lincoln


 

Well I can see the timber rattler becoming threatened, but the diamondback is the most successfully prolific of the species.

 

Cheers!

TL

Link to comment

Diamondbacks are definately not a threatened species in this area. I unfortunately can't take my dog on the trails around here without a leash as he seems to like to track down and try to sniff rattlesnakes. The little guy has found one within 5 minutes or so every time I've unhooked him in the summer.

 

In the western deserts, one thing to keep in mind is that the rattlers tend to hole up in the hot part of the day, then come out after sunset. I used to like hiking the deserts of southern Utah/Northern airzona by just the light of the stars or moon. I quit doing it though when I saw something moving once, turned on my flashlight, and quickly learned I was in the middle of a dozen or so rattlers. Gets your heart rate up in a big way.

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by dave and jaime:

team 360 sent me the pics and ill post a link here for them:

http://www3.nf.sympatico.ca/dmjm.mercer/pics/geocachingpics/DCP_1725.JPG

http://www3.nf.sympatico.ca/dmjm.mercer/pics/geocachingpics/DCP_1729.JPG

 

i dont know much about snakes but this one looks pretty impressive!

 

'Get to the point---speak English!!!!'


 

Thanks for posting! Team 360, thanks for sharing! He looks to be 4 - 4 1/2 feet.

 

Cheers!

TL

Link to comment

A friend and myself once almost stepped on a rattler on a trail here in Nebraska. Fortunately, we backed off and it did too! Then, about a half hour later, we were at the visitor center of the area (Ash Hollow, Nebraska) and watched a rattler eat a nest of baby rabbits. We were standing on the wheelchair ramp leading into the visitor center and it was about 2 feet below us. My friend, who tends to be squeemish at times, was actually facinated (I was too, but I'm the child of entomologists who always would point such things out, so I'm used to such things, but she wasn't). Anyway, the snake rattled its tail the whole time that it fed. I found that facinating!

 

pokeanim3.gif

Link to comment

Y'know, in all my caching thus far, I have seen only one snake, and it was some sort of kingsnake slithering its way back up into some bushes while I was going for my 100th find on King Usery's Treasure.

 

I was on a 12-hour caching hike/bike day in Wickenburg yesterday, and with the weather like it was, and the number of miles I intended to cover, I thought for certain I'd see at least ONE snake. Nope.

 

I only saw a few bit of wildlife, one of which almost got a hollow point .40-cal shoved up its rear end for darting from a bush right next to me.

 

Although the lack of wildlife was completely made up for when I was seeking my 17th cache of the day. A falcon was riding a thermal just above the cache. When I got within 300' of the cache, it started to cry out. If I stopped moving, no more cries were heard. As I approached on the right bearing, it continued to cry out. As soon as I located the cache the falcon left the thermal and flew off. Despite this being 11 hours into my day, it was definitely moving...almost spiritual. Not only had I never heard that sound in person before, but the entire sequence of events seemed surreal.

 

I can reflect on that moment and consider it a true highlight of my life, and something that will always fill me with a sense of peace and calm when I think about it.

 

Brian

Team A.I.

Link to comment

"Brody, get out there in the bow of the boat."

"Why"

"Quick, just get out on the bow of the boat."

"Why"

"Just do it."

"WHY"

"Ugh. I need something in the foreground to give it some scale."

"Foreground my $&*"

 

This exchange from the movie Jaws immediately came to mind when I saw the above pics.

Link to comment

Next time lay your GPS down beside the rattler, that way we'll have something to compare it's size too! icon_wink.gif

 

He did look kinda skinny, (although no less dangerous than a big 'un) the timber rattlers around here sometimes get as thick as a man's forearm. One 'bout nailed my wife last year while picking huckleberries. Never rattled either, she just happened to look down and saw it coiled to strike.

 

She politely stepped back! I think she covered about 10 feet in that step. icon_eek.gif

 

--------------

Changing some folks mind, is like trying to herd cats.

 

55883_200.gif

Link to comment

We do have a lot of black snakes here in NJ. They can get real big. Not poisionous, but they are nasty SOB's and will bite you. They're not all that afraid of people either and aren't in a hurry to get out of your way.

 

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" -Abraham Lincoln

Link to comment

In response to saying that rattlesnakes aren't threatened... keep in mind that they aren't but their habitats are. If you look at the development of Cave Creek (Arizona, north of Phoenix) then you would remember a time when that was all empty desert.

 

As far as their population running amok -keep in mind that some of their natural enemies (like the bald eagle) are endangered. And besides which would you rather see in the wild... "an awesome creature" or a bunch of field mice and rabbits running everywhere?

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by DudeZilla:

In response to saying that rattlesnakes aren't threatened... keep in mind that they aren't but their habitats are. If you look at the development of Cave Creek (Arizona, north of Phoenix) then you would remember a time when that was all empty desert.

 

As far as their population running amok -keep in mind that some of their natural enemies (like the bald eagle) are endangered. And besides which would you rather see in the wild... "an awesome creature" or a bunch of field mice and rabbits running everywhere?


 

True and it is fair to keep that in mind too. I know the same stomping grounds I used to hike in San Diego where I had my rattler experiences are all developed now.

 

Off topic, but btw... wasn't the Bald Eagle upgraded to threatened? I just checked and yep, they were upgraded in the lower 48 USA to threatened in 1994. Here in the NW, they are becoming a more common sight in the skies. I was driving 70 MPH on I-5 when we saw one swoop down into the median, snatch a rabbit and avoid traffic coming back out all in a couple of seconds. Scared the bejeebers out of me but it was true witness of the merge of wildlife and human cohabitation.

 

As for field mice and rabbits... there's another species population that will never ever be threatened except for when a mouse thinks he can find a way into my tent uninvited. frog.gif

 

Cheers!

TL

Link to comment

Nice pics Team 360. Those critters are starting to move around down here. I've seen one this year, but unfortunately I did not have a camera then. We've been seeing a lot of gopher snakes on the roads down here. We live out a ways and accept them from the fire department for release on our property. They help control the pack rat population.

 

Brain - Team A.I. - I was up in your neck of the woods and had a cache of yours on my list. I ran into an old friend and had to forego my caching plans. I'll try next time I'm up in the Phoenix area.

 

"I've never been lost, but I was a might bewildered for three days once." - Daniel Boone

Link to comment

BrianSnat is correct, the sound of a rattler in person is much different than that portrayed on television. It seems to be more of a quiet buzzing sound. You can hear it but also could easily overlook the sound. I encountered only one Timber Rattler in all my years in the woods, that was in the Deleware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Yet in my Scout Camp days, counselors would pursue them daily and come back with several snakes each day in DWG NRA.

 

I have heard tales that a large nesting mound of rattlers exists somewhere near Whitesbog, NJ., but have never been able to get real information on the exact location. I would like to visit it keeping my distance.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 0
×
×
  • Create New...