Sunday, June 14, 2015

A snake in the morning ...

Diamondback Rattler peacefully resting in a desert wash.
5:56 am.This morning's rattler encounter was hair-raising and heart-stopping. For us humans that is, not the other participants, the rattler not having any hair, and my wolf-dog Laika being completely heartless, I'm certain of that now.

Frodo is our snake spotter. He found the camouflaged rattler
So here goes: Frodo, on Randy's leash, pointed at a rattler resting in the shade a couple of feet in front of them. Randy called me to take a photo. Laika had run ahead and now decided to rejoin the party, loping down the wash right towards the snake. Randy jumped to the side to divert her. I tried to make her stop (a trained command, but hey, this was party time, right?) and the wash is the most comfortable place to run along in. Time slowed down for me like in a movie. In slow motion, I saw her left front leg touch the snake, then her hind legs actually pushing it out of place.

Happy Laika then hoped for her treat. Indignant snake reorganized its coils. My heart got back into its, albeit accelerated, rhythm.
But wait, then comes Bilbo! Hot on Laika's tracks, but lighter, younger, more elegantly only just skimming the snake.

Resting after the excitement. Bilbo now on the leash, behind him Laika, Frodo. Mecki and I are not in any photo because we are operating the camera

Does the rattler look grumpy now? This picture was taken after the assault ... can you tell?

P.S. On this balmy morning the rattler was probably warm enough to be active. But it was resting after a presumably active night. With day temps close to 100 degree Fahrenheit, the snake will spend the rest of the coming day in a cool rodent burrow and go hunting again in the evening (if he's already hungry again) But for now, this shady spot in the sandy wash must have been so pleasant that it would have taken more than some 70 pound dogs barreling over it to make it  rattle, strike or leave. 


  1. They can be amazingly lethargic - especially when cool. And maybe for this species in this locale at this time of year it seemed "cool" to it. I encountered rattlers in San Diego Co. that simply did not want to move when coiled in the morning.

  2. lol...I just read about Laika the Russian Space Dog last night...and just stories about snakes makes my heart rate go up!

    1. When we found Laika at the Pound, she was totally spaced out and on the list to be euthanized soon. Her name refers to the space dog, but I later found out that there is a breed of dogs in Russia that is called Laika and looks exactly like ours, not like the space dog