Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Down on the Farm: Rattlesnake Crossing

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
I can't sssay we weren't warned.  When we moved here to Birdseye, the neighbors informed us of the rattlesnakes, especially on our ssside of the road.   I had been around a few before.  My Dad probably killed one a year when I was growing up. He would "rock" them to sssleep; a very effective, (and permanent,)method.

 This was our first year in our new place and Richard had already killed three or four of the little beasts.  I mentioned to him that I was a terrible shot with a rock, which is what he usually used.  He told me to use a shovel.  If  I were to kill a sssnake with either of those things, I would have to be within the sssnake's ssstriking distance in order to get my aim good enough, and even then, I think I would miss. 

That's when he showed up with my official sssnake-killing rake.  It was at least a foot longer than a normal rake.  It had a blade on one ssside and the teeth on the other.  This was the perfect tool for me.  I could be far enough away, in case the sssnake did ssstrike, and the blade was long enough, even when my aim was bad, I could surely hit sssome part of the animal.  Besides, like I would really have to use it! (Famous last wordsss!)

 Well, there I was, minding my own business, moving the sssprinkler around on our newly planted lawn.  I walked around the corner of the house when I saw it: a rattlesnake.  He was curled up, enjoying the cool mist under the sssprinkler.   This was not just sssome little earthworm.  This was a daddy sssnake!  I couldn't count the rattles, yet, but he had at least a two to three inch circumference of his body.  I also couldn't tell how long he was because he was in a heap.  But, he looked plenty big.

The kids were playing in the back yard and I didn't want them to ssstumble across this venomous creature.  I told them to ssstay put while I bravely went and got my long rake.

I'd ssseen this done plenty of times.  I should hit the sssnake right behind its head, thus removing the dangerous part.  As I walked quietly up to the sssleeping sssnake, it heard me and ssstarted to ssslowly ssslither towards the house. As it uncoiled, it turned out to be about three feet long.  I was afraid it would disappear and knew I must act now.  I  lifted my big ol' rake, and ssslammed it down.  Okay, ssso my aim was a little off, but I hit the sssnake, which I was pretty proud of.  Instead of fighting back, the sssnake took off.  It was going fast!  I again lifted my rake and hit.  This time, I hit where I was aiming.  Although it ssslowed the sssnake down, he was ssstill heading for cover.  It took two more hits before the sssnake even tried to ssstrike my rake.  By this time, I had basically ssstopped him, and then I finished the job.

I had had enough of sssnakes for one day and left the thing laying there for Richard to take care of when he got home from work.  We had been keeping a collection of the rattles and I knew I wasn't man enough to chop those off. 

I wanted to shout from the rooftops my grand accomplishment.  I couldn't believe that I had killed a sssnake all by myself!!  The kids weren't all that impressed.  Dad had killed plenty.  It was just part of being a parent.  As my adrenalin rush sssubsided, I ssstarted to feel lucky to be alive and went in the house to wind down. 

That sssummer, we killed twelve sssnakes around our house and barn.  I personally killed four of them. 
By the fourth one, I was a regular Crocodile Dundee, although I have to admit, I never have got to the point of cutting off the rattles.

I am woman, here me ROAR, or should I sssay HISS!?!


  1. I hope you know that I sssssssssed on every one of thossssse! LOL I'm not sure I could do that. yikesssss. You go girl!


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