Gallery, page 23
OK, here are some more rattlesnake pictures. We've seen a lot of them this summer, I assume
because the rains have bred lots of mice and lizards for them to feed on.
Anyway, this first picture is probably the most interesting. My wife discovered this three foot
long snake about dusk on the concrete slab in one of the rooms of her parents' partially
completed home (they are also building down here). I lifted it up with a stick and dropped it into
a plastic barrel (with lid), then drove about a mile away to release it. It had markings I hadn't
seen before, so I took some pictures of it as I released it and then looked it up on the internet
when I got home. It turns out that having white bands that much wider than the black bands on
its tail identify it as a Mojave Rattlesnake, supposedly the most dangerous rattlesnake in The
United States. Most rattlesnake venoms cause tissue degeneration, but the venom from a
Mojave Rattlesnake is a neuro-toxin. It causes brain and spinal cord damage, and victims often
die of suffocation if not treated soon.
And yes ... this area turns out to be part of the normal territory of the Mojave Rattlesnake.
And this picture shows another Blacktailed Rattlesnake, which seems to be the most common
variety in our neighborhood. They are fairly passive and actually quite pretty, but this particular
snake was the largest Blacktailed Rattlesnake we've seen and it was only fifteen feet outside
the dining room window of our new house. I estimated it to be four feet long. Again, I loaded it
into the barrel and relocated it a couple hundred yards away, taking some pictures of it as it
crawled up onto a rock.