11 June 2006

rattlesnakes in rapides parish

UPDATE: see snakes of northeastern louisiana

photo courtesy www.naturalsciences.org

this evening around 6:15 our brother killed a young eastern diamond back rattlesnake crotalus adamanteus on his back porch. the snake is about a foot long and big around as a fat no2 pencil. its really unusual to see a rattlesnake here, although we have plenty of experience with cottonmouth and copperheads both of which we kill on sight. this rattlesnake is a first. whats so unnerving is that the snake was on the back porch!

we had fed the horses about 30 minutes earlier and had went back inside to his house since its so hot our thermometer at one point today read 100.1f [38.3c] and an unusually low 28% humidity. since he was engrossed in some lame dateline story called
rescue on roberts ridge, we decided to go back out and let them out the pen and back into the pasture so we popped out the door, hung a left and took a few steps when we looked down and spied what we thought at first was a bit of fancy rope for tying something onto a saddle etc. we thought to ourselves my thats pretty but something is up because we hadnt seen it around before (being the nosy type we are familiar with all of his tack) so we stood still and looked some more (from that angle the head was underneath a table) then we saw the head. it was a small snake we couldnt readily id it as poisonous by its pits and the shape of the head was indistinguishable since it wasnt filled out yet.

it was pretty too as you can see from that pic up there and we were really hoping that it was a king snake instead. we have a magnificent king snake that lives in our yard we see it a few times a year its about five feet long and has a black body with fluorescent green squares. the green squares all over it remind us of chicklets. so yeah we were really hoping it was a beneficial snake. since the tail was closest to us we began to study it and we couldnt hear anything rattling. we dont think the snake was old enough to have buttons but the tip was "different" like where the buttons would grow from and it was flicking its tail like we have seen from books and movies how rattlesnakes tail looks when its rattling.

so we retreated slowly back to open the door and shout to our brother "hey come check out this rattlesnake!" we knew he would grab something on the way out and he did a broom stick lol so we walked around and continued on to the horse pen. by the time we returned the deed was done and we asked him if that was indeed a rattlesnake,
he said it was and we examined the body after he hung it across a tree limb, lol we hear the dog still barking at it. being the skeptics that we are we still werent convinced until we could come in and google image search eastern diamond back rattlesnake.
see also: snake bite