Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crotalus Horridus

Crotalus Horridus is just a great name for a snake, don't you think? My plight today took me to the main horse trough where the water hose was resting. I drug Rancid's dog house out of the kennel to hose it out because of all of the rain water that had somehow found its way into it. Rancid is also not very discrete about where he goes to the restroom or maybe he is too discrete, anyway there was manure in his dog house.

I walked to the hydrant to turn the water on then walked down the hill to the horse trough. I bent over, reached my hand down to grasp the hose to pull it up out of the trough, when I noticed this strange looking thing in the tall grass that my fingers were nearly touching. I did not immediately jerk my hand back, it just lingered there while I assessed the situation.

Whatever this thing was, the hose was resting on it. It was gray, spotted and muted in color. It's texture was very rough and that is what totally fooled me. I was convinced that it was a dry, weather worn root. But my spider sense was tingling (a little Spiderman lingo there). So I hesitated and pondered some more, bear in mind that my hand was still suspended there very near this root.

Somehow common sense prevailed and I realized that the pattern on this root was just a little too perfect. Also whatever it was that I was seeing was in a zigzag position and I could only see about 6 to 8 inches of it in the tall grass. This was very important information because if this was a snake then I didn't know which way it was facing, toward me or away from me.

I quickly withdrew my hand in one swift movement whilst stepping backwards rapidly. I was still reasoning with myself and I came up with the strange notion that if this was indeed a snake then it must surly be a dead snake. I could not possibly have come so close to picking up a live snake so close to my house. Looking back now, I realize that I was in complete denial.

Somehow I maintained my composure and picked up the hose at a different spot, far away from the dead snake. Then for some unknown reason, I sprayed the snake with the hose. I had by this time moved a little farther up the hill ready to bolt in any direction necessary.

Guess what? It wasn't dead and it was a snake but it was headed downhill, so this was good news. I watched from a distance as it made it's way under the horse's water tank. Judging from how the tall grass moved, I am guessing that it was at least 10 foot long. Rule of life #1; Snakes always appear larger than their actual size. So it was probably closer to 3 foot long.

My first thought was Rattlesnake, but I knew that no one would believe me. I didn't see a rattle but I was pretty far away at the time. So tonight I did some research on Indiana snake identification. I answered all of the questions on the website about color, pattern, texture, size and even the fact that it was frozen in a zigzag pattern, I clicked the "Search" button after I had finished. The first thing that it brought up was Crotalus Horridus or Timber Rattlesnake.

This was not the answer that I wanted. I was more looking for some harmless, non-venomous snake that only eats mice and is terrified of humans. The thing that worries me the most about all of this is that I have to go out there tomorrow to do all of my normal chores. The other thing that bothers me is that now I have to go to bed after looking at several pages of pictures of snakes with irritable expressions on their faces, Oh the dreams I will have...

Now of course you know that some little harmless corn snake barely bigger than a worm will start hanging out down by the horse trough, so that my Husband and the rest of the family can make fun of me, it's bound to happen!
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