Interesting nature encounters

Although the snake I saw was stretched out, it had patterns that matched this one. (Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)


 see some interesting things in my neighborhood from time to time, mostly related to wildlife.

In addition to deer which roam the area, I have seen a red fox, possum, raccoon and a large variety of birds, not to mention an opossum and the occasional skunk. Fortunately, when it comes to the polecat visitors, they are happy to keep their distance, and I keep mine.

My mother-in-law recently had an encounter with a tarantula at her home about a mile from where we live. I had only seen one of those on my property, about a year ago. Now that we have a cat, who would probably consider those to be playthings (she also enjoys chasing and catching lizards), we haven’t seen any more of those.

One area where I walk our dogs (two midsized canines) is somewhat remote but with a paved road that was planned as a future subdivision before the oil boom subsided.

I was recently walking the dogs and noticed a curious looking snake about two feet long stretched in the road and mostly motionless. It had gray and black stripes with some small splotches of red here and there. I didn’t recognize it, but I was fascinated.

The only motion was a flickering of its small tail and an almost imperceptible eye movement. I was absolutely captivated by this creature and got close enough to get a good look but not so close as to touch it. I was surprised that the dogs paid no attention to the snake. They seemed not even to notice it, which really surprised me.

We walked to a cul de sac on our route and left the snake behind, which I assumed was sick or dying to remain lying motionless in the middle of the road with a human and two dogs so close to it.

As we completed the first part of the walk and turned around, I looked forward to getting a second look at the snake and decided to get a picture of it.

I kept looking and looking for the snake as we got closer, but as we neared the spot of the previous encounter, there was no snake to be seen.

This was not a kind of snake I had seen before with its very distinctive patterns, so I wanted to get a better idea of what it was.

I told my wife about the encounter, and she quickly concluded that it was a rattlesnake. I was skeptical, because it looked nothing like the type of rattlesnakes that are commonly found around here.

Finally, in scanning various snake websites, I found the match, and it turns out my wife was right, as is usually the case.

The snake I saw looked exactly like a picture of a Western Pygmy Rattlesnake. These snakes are reported to be shy and secretive, and encounters with them are said to be pretty rare.

Now I really wished I had gotten that photo, but that was easier said than done since I was walking two midsized dogs. I’m glad I was able to find a photo of what the snake looked like online.

I will be sure to keep my eyes even more focused on future walks. You never know what you’ll see and what your dogs won’t see — or will at least ignore.

Nature is pretty cool, and I’m thankful for a place nearby to experience it.

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