Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Snakes are plentiful this year. Shirley Jean saw two rattlesnakes. Ina Dobson, 1933

Mike had just finished his afternoon read / nap session and was clambering out of the hammock when he spotted this rattler keeping him company. He dashed to the house to call me and then out to the woodshed to grab his bucket with lid and his snake tongs.

The rattler was still there when we arrived at the hammock. I took pictures while Steve -- er, Mike -- handled the snake.

Into the bucket with it and down to the culvert where others of its kind seem to lurk. KW

Update: Hallie's comments on this blog inspired me to research online regarding first aid for snake bites and I decided to add that information as an update.

No, there are not antidote kits -- at least not that are recommended. And thank goodness we no longer do what Chris and I were taught -- cut little "x's" over the bite marks and suck the blood. But there are recommended actions to take as you leave for the hospital with the victim. I'll print those out along with the neighbors' phone numbers.

We see snakes in the yard once or twice in the heat of the summer. We also see them at the bottom of the lane. Frankly, I think it's possible there's a den there. My dad killed snakes with a hoe. Mike doesn't like to kill them but we don't think it wise to leave them in the yard either. That's why he got the snake tongs.

The precautions my dad preached are the same ones on the websites today -- wear heavy leather boots, stay out of tall grass, don't reach into rocky places. I watch where I walk especially in summer. I always check my area before I work in the yard, and I had Mike cut a trail for me through the tall grass between our place and June's.

This is rattlesnake country -- all of it. I have seen rattlesnakes on the abandoned road where I walk Nellie here in Clarkston. People who live near the Lewiston Country Club also see rattlesnakes in their yards. In fact, we were geocaching last year near the country club. As I surveyed the place, I found myself thinking, "There could be a snake here." I was then not surprised when one slithered from under the sagebrush and moved on down the hill.

Rattlesnakes -- at least those here -- are not particularly aggressive. They aren't looking for a fight but they will defend themselves in the only way they know. KW


Hallie said...

SHUDDER! I have a great fear that this spot down by the culvert is becoming a massive snake pit.

Are their snake bite antidote kits? If there are, you should have one for the farm.

Chris said...

YIKES!!! And that's all I have to say.

Chris said...

ACK!! The horrible memories of first aid class!! Good thing no one ever depended on me to save them from a snake bite, or anything else, for that matter. . .

Leah said...

There are coyotes, skunks, mallard ducks, a gazillion rabbits, & herons parading all around my house! The coyotes have become fearless in the past month. They have snatched (& killed) 3 little dogs right off their leads, injuring little old ladies who fell during the episodes. Now Animal Control officers are chasing the coyotes with guns. Talk about the "old west." So far, snakes aren't in plain sight. That's all we need to populate this zoo!

Hallie said...

Wow! That is a scary thing with those coyotes! What do you suppose changed that has made them so bold?

Leah said...

Hallie, it's very complicated. I live about 1/2 block from a creek & nature preserve. It is full of rabbits, ducks & coyotes. Think food chain. There are many brushy areas on the sides of the creek for the coyotes to make their dens. Little old ladies walk their dogs by the creek and surrounding neighborhoods all day long. There is a paved walk by the creek with park benches and many trees & shrubs. This lovely spot has turned into a nightmare.

Some goofy people have left food by their doorsteps for coyotes. How dumb is that! Now the coyotes have become comfortable walking close to people. They lay in wait for "dinner on a leash" otherwise known as tiny little dogs with frail elderly people. 3 or 4 dogs have been killed the past few weeks (as well as 3 or 4 cats). These deaths have almost all happened in daylight. The city has given temporary approval for the Animal Control Officers patrolling the area to carry guns. They have removed 5 or 6 coyotes from the area by trapping. We keep seeing the local news vans driving around as they come to interview injured people who recount gruesume tales of their pet's demise. If this keeps up some poor lady will die when she hits the pavement the wrong way. Several women have been dragged to the ground and suffered cuts & bruises to their heads.

We've been told to carry baseball bats, whistles or cans with rocks to frighten these aggressive coyotes. I don't have a dog, by the way and I don't know how this will end.