[Tweeters] umtaneum creek rattler semi ot

Rob Sandelin nwnature1 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 2 13:25:27 PDT 2013

>From a snakes point of view, they really don't want to bite you, you're not

food and venom is expensive. In fact, they really would rather just slink
off or hide quietly than rattle, since rattling gives them away. They can
feel the vibrations your foot falls make from considerable distance and
often will move away into cover before you ever see them. I once spent a
weekend with a herpetologist doing a field study of how snakes responded to
human and other large animals (cows). One of the interesting outcomes of
many hours of direct snake observation was that 1) There are many more
snakes around than you see. 2) They apparently don't rattle at cows they
just move out of the way 3) The majority of the time they do not rattle
when humans approach. We watched along a popular trail and 40 people walked
within two feet of a snake in the open without seeing it, not having the
snake respond. So the theory is they acclimatize to trails and cows and
rather than rattle just stay motionless or move away. During a lunch break
Dave the herpetologist bet that there was a snake within three feet of where
we were sitting. I looked around and then seeing no snake took the bet. He
picked up a couple of handfuls of small rocks the chucked them around us and
sure enough, spooked a snake into rattling.

Later that month Dave got bit handling a snake, but it was a dry bite, no
venom. Apparently it is mostly the younger snakes who inject venom into
non-food defense.

So when I am in snake country I make lots of noise and let the snakes adjust
to me as needed.

Rob Sandelin

Naturalist, Writer, Teacher

Who once stepped on a large southern rattlesnake with bare feet.but that's
another story


From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of dave
Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2013 6:41 PM
To: Tweeters
Subject: [Tweeters] umtaneum creek rattler semi ot


a couple of us went up to umtaneum creek this afternoon (6/1 around 1400)
and walked up along the creek. on the way back in one of the meadows where
the trail splits to cross the flat or meander along the creek bed, we
started across the meadow only to encounter a small (about 18") diamondback
about a foot off the trail proper, taking the sun. the snake gave a nice
warning buzz, i jumped and spike (for once) obeyed the command to get back
to me and we decided to take the stream meander route to the car instead.
the spot is probably a mile and a half from the trail head. not too far
from the place where there have been reports of chats and the like.

lots of folks hike around that area in shorts. long pants and boots make a
lot more sense to me, especially this time of year.

just a heads up the reader may take or leave.



dave templeton
fall city, wa


"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today; it's already tomorrow
in Australia." Charles Schultz

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