Thread: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Okay, okay, I couldn't wait anymore. I have some footage from a great trip I just went on a couple days ago, but finally decided to just put this one part of it online for now. It is an encounter with an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, shot when I was about to begin a kayaking trip. And this episode of 'Another Walk with Mike' is devoted exclusively to the one not-so-little snake.
I was about to remove my kayak from the back of my truck when I decided to use the outdoor 'little boy's room'. As I set myself into position and initiated the process, my eyes roamed down before me. Shocked and surreal, I saw Black Diamonds Laced in Gold!
The size of the beast halted my breath, but I calmly continued my duty and, when finished, walked the short distance to my truck to get my camera. Upon returning to take video of the rare find, I let out a quiet jolt of fear. The snake was no longer there. It had moved. And I'd just blindly stepped over a sizable root, nearly stepping on it.
I reversed my eyes to establish that in fact, it was a root I'd passed over. Whew! But without forwarding another step, I collected myself. It has happened many times before when I return to a spot I've just left, a spot with a snake, only to find the serpent has slithered to away. And it always shocks me into a frozen state, wondering if I haven't stepped to within micro-distance from a bite. And this big Diamondback was not something I wanted attached to my body, sinking its venomous fangs in for a bite of Michael.
Upon further inspection, however, the snake hadn't moved at all. Its camouflage was simply that impeccable. I've only had one other Diamondback encounter but both share something in common. They were very, very docile companions.
The other one was found on a golf course in the area and even as I moved it off of the playing grounds into some brush, it was pleasurable company, offering no frantic or violent tendencies.
And it makes me think. I always hear of how water moccasin are so aggressive. Yet I have encountered hundreds and hundreds in the wild and, for the most part, they have been nothing of the sort. They will display their white, cottony mouth and yes, I've had some come at me after finally tiring from my affection. But mostly, they are just scared and wanting to get rid of me.
Regarding Diamondbacks, I've spoken to herpetologists who say they have stepped on many, wearing snake boots of course, and the snakes still did not even attempt a bite. In fact, neither diamondback I encountered bothered to used its rattle. This particular one in this video did have its rattle sound as its body swung from side to side in exit. But it was remarkably docile. Even when I attempted to move it slightly, to provide a more friendly video vanatge point, it made no move at all, and no rattle.
But, when it finally did move it moved with grace and power. It moved with direction. And that direction was straight for the brush, adjacent to the creek bed where I was to put my kayak.
I think you will enjoy the video. It could have been even better, but the snakes position was not conducive to great shots. Although I did slightly move the snake, I pride myself on not disturbing what I encounter in the wild. I take what Nature gives me. And it gives me plenty. I think you'll agree that my time in Nature has paid dividens, and my trusty little camera has captured some of that magic in my series, 'Another Walk with Mike'.
Let me know what you think of this rattlesnake encounter. I also found a beautiful little pygmy rattler that provided some super footage. I'll include that on an episode describing my paddle. It was a rather enjoyable and fruitful paddle and walk, I will assure you.
Enjoy this portion of it for now, though. My encounter with a Diamond in the Rough.
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Last edited by mikecatadjuster; 06-05-2009 at 08:42 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to mikecatadjuster For This Useful Post:
man...he was a biggie...crazy how he didn't even rattle at you! Thanks Mike!LIVE...BREATHE...LOVE
"I needed the pom poms. Tragically, I can't thread a needle, but Bdarg has skillz." ~jdarg
Incidentally, the pygmy I encountered did rattle. While I've had all of the pygmy rattlers manipulate their tails, the one today was the only one with an audibly discernable rattle. It was like a loud bee buzzing. Neat!
But yes, I've been told by herpetologists that they believe natural selection has created a contingent of Eastern Diamondbacks that do not rattle like they would have centuries ago. The reason being, while the rattle is used to ward off those coming within distance of possibly stepping on the snake, what it has done, with man being a predator, is to warn of its presence, giving the opportunity for man to do what he does well... Kill anything in his way.
Therefore, a Diamondback that has the propensity to rattle, in natural selection, will be killed off more readily by making itself noticed by humans. Whereas one that naturally doesn't rattle as often, will have more of a chance to live and pass on its genes by going unnoticed.
Sounds like a damn good theory to me. The snake was a great find for me and I was delighted to get some footage. The pygmy I encountered was also a sweet find, but the Eastern has been much more elusive. Moccasin and pygmy are everywhere but the Diamondback is less prevalent, and as one herpetologist told me, cryptic.
Anyway, thanks for commenting on the video piece. The other Eastern I encountered last year was a small one and on a golf course so, oddly, I kind of felt like I hadn't had a true wildlife encounter with one; at least with one that was a real brute. This one was. The girth and weight of it was mighty impressive and its coloration and God given design was superb.
06-06-2009, 04:08 PM #4
Good work as always MIKECAT, is your camera on some kind of extension? I have really enjoyed all your vids, keep it up!I don't know just what you heard, but 'come on baby' are my favorite words
The only viable thing I found was my kayak paddle. So, on to the end of my paddle I secured my camera and shot some video. I am definately not an inch away from a deadly poisonous snake that if it bit me, would have flesh dying in short fashion. I would normally affix the camera on the end of my walking stick in such a case, but I had just broken my stick the previous day while hiking and placing an exceptional demeand upon my sturdy companion.
I was disappointed and now I had to go back to a stick that isn't as unique and lacks the soul of the broken one. I'll just have to find another, which is currently laying out in the wild, just wanting a purpose in life. Wanting more than to simply lie idle on the ground. Wanting to join me on my walks.
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