May 17, 2012

Don't Tread on Me

Western rattlesnake (Crotalis viridis) peers from the oak brush at the spring.



Two snake posts in a row. I did not plan on that. M. and I decided to hike up to Camera Trap Spring, about 35 minutes from the house, to replace the batteries in the camera there. (Rechargeable C cells seem good for ten days maximum.)

We brought Fisher the Chesapeake Bay retriever with us, thus introducing the element of random anxiety and chaos that he always adds to any experience.

Once he disappeared into the brush and came back carrying some dog's squeaky toy. How did that get up on the ridge? Did a fox bring it up there?

At the spring, I was packing up the old batteries, etc., sitting on the ground, when M. started screaming at the dog.

I jumped up, saw that he was prancing around something by the spring, saw that it was a snake — I was moving toward him — thought it was a bull snake like the one yesterday — saw the rattles — somehow leapt around the snake and grabbed his collar.

We looked him over. He did not seem to have been bitten, nor had he yelped. So M. held him while I took pictures of the snake, well-camouflaged in the dappled light of the forest floor. We had walked within six feet of it ourselves.

It was between two and three feet long. Maybe it found the spring to be a good hunting place for small mammals, and since it had not struck Fisher, perhaps it had a belly full of deer mouse or wood rat and had felt somewhat lethargic.

It is more than three hours later now, and since he does not look like this, he was one lucky dog.

As for photos, none were good enough for the blog, but a bear had been there. I think that I need to re-position the camera, so I will need to go back, doglessly.

2 comments:

Reid Farmer said...

Close call!

Chas Clifton said...

He does not know how lucky he is, or how many times he has narrowly escaped death or serious injury. Buy me a drink, and I'll tell you. :)