Beautiful sunset and a coontail

I was planting several toothache seedlings in our lower garden when I heard a strange sound and it was a snake.  The rattle didn’t sound like I remember it, but it definitely rattled.  Earlier today I was telling someone how we’ve only had one snake this year (6 each season the last two years).    Since it was outside the garden by the road, I decided to leave it alone.

When I looked up again I noticed the beautiful sunset and I “quickly” got the camera.9-7-13-sunset-cliffs

The sun set fast and I went back to the garden to get pics of the coontail.  It scared me a second time because it was moving along the fence and once again, I didn’t see it till it coiled up and rattled.   It decided to retreat and here you can see that it recently ate:

9-7-13-coontail-tail

It was certainly not aggressive and just wanted to be left alone:

9-7-13-coontail We used to kill all the rattlers on our property, but left them alone elsewhere.  Recently I heard a radio program about a study of rattlers WITHOUT rattles.  Apparently some snakes have no rattles and more of a pig tail and they’re seen in increasing numbers because most people see the rattlers when they rattle and then they kill them.

Logically, the snakes that get to live because they don’t rattle reproduce and we’ll see more rattlers without rattles.

And that’s a scary prospect!

About half the snakes we killed rattled at us.  Sometimes I found them sleeping somewhere on the property. Often I noticed them when watering, they sleep under plants and they don’t like to be watered!  This year we moved to drip irrigation in most areas and that might explain why I’ve only seen two rattlers as of today.

I hate to kill any animal, but I also experienced that sometimes the snakes STAY if you don’t kill them.  I’m not that worried about the dogs since they’re always out there and managed to not get bitten (knock on wood!).  Old Butch is going on 14 and when he was young he spent most summer nights outside.

It’s a miracle that I haven’t been bitten yet, often looking at plants instead of where I’m walking.  Hope my luck holds.  I know people here with huge rattlesnakes living on their property and they just watch where they walk.  I should try that …

 

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