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Tis the sssssseason

May 24, 2010

I’ve seen so many “beware of rattlesnake” signs around the Panhandle, I’ve been expecting to see one any day now, with the temperature warming up. The clattering of grasshopper wings can make me jump when I’m walking through grassy areas.

I did have my first snake sighting of the year this past weekend at Scotts Bluff National Monument, though it wasn’t a rattler.

It was a bullsnake. A smallish one. It was about 3-4 feet long. Apparently they commonly grow to 8 feet long (though they’re more of a “skinny” long).

It’s he (she?) beautiful?

I guess I can say that because this was one mellow little snake. (Possibly cold?) He just slithered to about 2 feet from where I was standing, then turned tail when I twitched to let him know I was there.

If he’d displayed what I’ve read is typical bullsnake behavior of rearing back, hissing, and making faux-rattler sounds, I doubt I would have thought him so cute.

I’ve heard a lot of stories about people killing rattlesnakes on sight — or any snakes, for that matter.

I think that’s just goofy. Snakes eat varmints. I’d rather have a few rattlers around my property than disease-carrying rodents (though I’d have to get to know the vipers’ habits and haunts so I could stay as far away from them as possible).

Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw

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