|Harvest Moonrise 2011|
For about 2 weeks, I've been watching this large rattlesnake hang out around a vacated gopher hole in the orchard. On hot mornings, the snake exposed only one coil at the entrance of its hole. On cool and bright mornings, most of its body would be just outside the threshold soaking up the maximum amount of sun. It didn't seem to be going anywhere and I couldn't make up my mind about moving it, so I just watched instead. I talked to a local man who moves snakes for people and he suggested that perhaps it was shedding. On a large snake, it can take 2 weeks to shed its skin and part of that time, the snake will have a cloudy scale over its eyes which makes it vulnerable to predators, so the snake will often stay close to safe shelter. The first day I saw this snake, it had the typical dusty appearance of a rattlesnake, but recently its scales seemed shiny.
|Northern Pacific rattlesnake soaking up sun on a cool morning.|
|Same rattlesnake catching a few rays on a hot morning.|
I pulled on my heavy boots and grabbed a large flashlight. The rattler was curled behind a garbage can and directly beneath my snake tongs hanging from the wall. Curses. Once again, I was faced with The Rattlesnake Decision: do I leave the snake alone and hope it goes away, or do I capture it for relocation so it doesn't surprise me later?
|Camouflaged rattlesnake outside its hole in the lower righthand corner, white garage in the upper lefthand corner.|
Jeepers, that didn't take very long, I guess I'm getting better at this, but it still gets my heart going every time. And I was going to clean the bathroom tonight, hahahaha. Between the full moon and the snake adrenalin, I don't think I'll be getting much sleep. One good thing I can say about that snake, thank goodness it rattled. Otherwise, I might have left the cat in the garage and who knows what would have happened then.
Here is the sign I just made to put on the locking can until I release the rattler.