Saturday, July 11, 2009

Are you afraid of snakes?

I am an Arizona native and this is the first time I have been close enough to a rattlesnake to take it's picture. Using the zoom on the camera was helpful. This snake was in my back yard when I came home from music practice on Thursday evening. I started telling my friends on Facebook about the snake and I received a variety of responses.

But here's the story. When I got home the dogs greeted me at the front gate. They had been in the "big yard," on one acre which is fenced. They came in the front door with me and immediately wanted to go outside through the back door. In a few minutes I heard Prince, my Cardigan Welsh Corgi barking. This bark was different. I looked out and saw him on the porch, barking at something off the porch. I said, "what is it?" At first glance I thought it was a little desert tortoise. My husband said, "no that's a rattler!" Prince had gone down the steps to see, but then he quickly took off running in the yard. Ocho, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier also went down to see the snake, but we quickly called him back up. We also called Prince back and put the gate up on the porch/deck. We decided to leave the snake alone.

The snake had come out in the cool of the evening after it had rained. Sure enough, the next morning it was gone. But where, you might say. A friend had a snake after a rain. She said, "
Oh my. Yes, keep those doggies in. A couple of years ago we had one on our back porch when we had a monsoon hit us really hard. I opened the door and it was on the other side of the back door and I saw a movement through the window. Believe me I came in VERY fast."

Are you afraid of snakes? What is the difference between this fear and a healthy respect for a poisonous reptile? OK, so some snakes aren't poisonous and some people are afraid of all snakes. One of my FB friends didn't even want to see the picture of the snake.

But a rattlesnake bite can be a life threatening situation for dogs and people. One friend said, "oh crap heart attack adrenaline rush, I would have never seen it. Thank goodness for Prince. I always try to check before I let the dogs out, but I'm going to have to look harder."

Would you kill a rattlesnake? Be careful, this is like a loaded gun. You must be in a situation to make sure you kill it before it strikes you. Thankfully the snake in our backyard did not strike at the dogs. The snake just wants to be left alone. It only strikes to protect itself.

Since we live in a region where rattlesnakes abide, we must be aware and take necessary precautions. One of my friends said she had lived in our neighborhood for 17 years and never seen a rattlesnake. I knew that this was the season to watch out for them, but even I wasn't ready for this snake encounter. My dogs could easily have been struck. My friend from Denmark said, "It´s a bit scary that you have to deal with snakes." Prince's Breeder said, "
Congratulations to Prince for protecting his family. I'm very proud of him."

Some people gave advice on how to "get rid" of the snake. "Drop a big bolder on it and things will be okay!" "Or get Karen (the snake killer) -- on the job!!! ;-)" My brother-n-law said, "
Time to get out the artillery." The guy that mows for us killed a snake last summer just outside our fence with a shovel. Another friend said, "We have had 2 snakes (rattlers) all season so far. The bull snakes are eating them. Should I send Doug over with his pole and relocate him." Actually bull snakes do not eat Rattlers but King snakes do.

A preventitive solution was offered. "snake fence your acre! Use stucco lath - works great for me." My Aunt told me I needed a couple of cats to take care of the snakes. My other Aunt said, "Just be sure you keep them on your side of the interstate! "

We will be on the lookout for snakes. We will also be more careful about when we let our dogs out until we can secure the area. Life in the desert is always interesting to me. Why did God create rattlesnakes? Well, maybe to teach us to always be on guard!

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