Fair warning: There be snake pictures ahead.
|a yardstick, not a ruler|
Stumbled upon and killed shortly thereafter.
Far too close to the house for me to adhere to my Live and Let Live policy.
Things I've learned about Diamondback Rattlesnakes today.
1. I already knew that number of rattles does NOT equal age of snake. Rattles are formed each time the snake sheds its skin. There were 9 on this one.
2. They aren't called rattlesnakes for nothing. They rattle loud and clear that it's time for you to move away. Loud like a backyard-full-of-cicadas-at-nightfall, loud. You will never, ever mistake the rattle for any other sound.
3. Once a snake is dead, it is very easy to tell a male from a female. Assuming you aren't afraid to handle the dead snake.
4. Regarding "Thing I Learned Today" #3---I wanted to know if I had a male or female snake on my hands. Female rattlesnakes give birth to live young in September and October. The brood is usually between 9 and 25, 12 inch long babies. I'm thrilled to be able to report that this snake was a male!
5. This snake was probably at his full growth potential. Lengths are between 3"9 and 4"9. He was exactly 4" long.
6. Most of all, I learned that my "Live and Let Live" policy is fluid. I would very, very much liked to have found a way to relocate this boy, but it wasn't possible. I do not have the tools to do it properly, nor was I ready for my encounter with him.
If I had been somewhere further from the house, I'd have just walked the other way.
They are, after all, premiere hunters of all things rodent.
My hope is that he lived a long, happy, celibate life and got dropped into snakey heaven full of easily caught dinners of slightly inebriated mice.
PS....No, I didn't skin him. Yes, I kept the rattles.