snake encounter --need advice!

tygger

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went hiking in Griffith Park today (just like every day) with my two dogs. well, it was hot out so i started hiking next to the creek where its shaded. i stopped at one section to enjoy the scenery and let the dogs run around and the next thing i know i hear a loud buzzing noise like a bush full of those large bugs that make noise. at first i think nothing of it because it sounded just like those loud bugs. so as i'm looking around i see a rattlesnake right next to my left foot coiled up and looking really pissed. it was litterally 6 inches from my foot. since i was hiking along a creek bed with about an 8ft. ledge i jumped onto the side of the ledge and scrambled sideways to move away and get back up on the trail. by the way, one of my dogs was in front of me on the trail so he was okay but the other one was directly behind me and was now looking curiously at the snake. so i yelled at him and threw a stick so he'd go back the other way. well, unfortunately he didn't go back but ran after me right by the snake. but nothing happened. i grabbed both of them and ran the other way as fast as i could. it scared the crap out of me and i know i'm extremely lucky. but i just can't figure out why he didn't stike me or my dog. my friend said its because he probably just ate but whatever the reason i just thank god nothing happened. my questions are: does anyone know of a good dog training course to make them afraid of snakes?
and even though i'm always vigilant about looking out for snakes would it be wise to use a walking stick? and lastly, the rattlesnake was about 2 1/2 ft. long or more, reddish with white stripes and rattling very loudly. based on that limited description does anyone know if this species was poisonous? i know not all rattlers, even though they all strike, are poisonous. thanks for any good info and suggestions.

tygger
 

Former_Mag_User

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Wow, close call. I've never run into anything at Griffith Park.

I would guess it didn't strike because it didn't feel threatened. If you had gotten closer or agitated it I'm sure it would felt the need to strike.
 

Topper

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There are some snakes that will make noise by rapidly moveing the tail in leaves. Not a rattle snake just a snake letting you know to get back. You stated stripes... up and down? or running along the snake? Horizontal or vertical? Yep same question just asked a little different to make sure you understand what I was asking. Maybe other stripes but the Red and white stuck out more. might the white stripe have been really more yellow now that you think about it? Might be a black stripe you did not notice cuz the red and white (or maybe yellow stuck out more and you had no desire to hang abit to double check?) just asking no snake expert I am afraid of snakes to the point of if it is that close to me then one of us must die at all costs. As I am typing this I won so far I always make alot of noise and look where I am going so snakes have a good amount of time to move along. If I see one say 20 feet or so away from me I move along if it gets closer than 20 feet after I made noise to warn it off then well you get the thought plan for me. I am glad you and your dogs were OK.
Topper
 

tygger

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i guess i should have been more descriptive. after researching online photos and descritions of rattlers here in southern california i am sure it was a Red Diamond Rattlesnake. same size and coloring. thankfully they're one of the more passive rattlers with a slightly lower venom toxicity than its cousins. i guess thats one of the reasons it didn't attack right away. it says they also stay silent to avoid detection until you're right on top of them. that would explain not seeing it until i was standing right next to it. anyway, guess i should have researched it first. interesting but definitely something i don't want to repeat. i'm sticking to large, well worn, busy trails from now on. the side trails can wait until winter.
 

tvodrd

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I caught several red diamondbacks (Crotalus ruber from frequently defective memory) when I was a kid and gave them to the San Diego Zoo. They are one of the more colorful rattlers and were good "trading material" I was told. The San Diego County ones were pretty mellow, but the 3 I have encountered in San Bernardo County definately lacked a sense of humor. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif I should check if my scanner still works. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Larry
 

LifeNRA

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I killed a Timber Ratler while surveying several years ago. It was 52" long, as big around as a mans arm , and had 17 rattles and a button. Its head was 1 7/8" wide, I have that in a jar of rubbing alchohol. I have the rattles displayed with some of the skin on my wall.
We were about a 1 hour ride with 4-wheelers from the nearest road. Way back in the mountains. I walked up on him while marking a boundry line and I too at first thought it was a jar fly. Just a very loud zzzzzzz zzzzzzzz sound. He was about 2 feet from the front of my boot. I cut his head off with a machete. I just took his rattles that day because it was time to go and it took us a long time to get out.
We passed the same spot on our way out the next day and I stopped and went to the spot where I had killed the snake. He was still there so I skinned him out. I turned him over to see what he had been eating and his stomach was empty. But his heart was still beating, 24 hours after I had killed him his heart was still pumping. I had always heard that more people get bitten by dead rattlesnakes live ones. Now I know why.

On the subject of dogs I would not want a dog thats afraid of snakes. I would want one that wanted to kill them all. I have seen dogs that were afraid of snakes and they usually just go around snakes without warning you at all. A dog that hates snakes will let you know for sure.

Edit to add: Before anyone jumps onto me for killing a snake let say this. Around here we care more about our childrens lives and our own lives than we do about some snake. I will kill any copperhead or rattlesnake I see. I will not kill non-poisonous snakes though. When I was a kid my Grandfather used to make me catch blacksnakes and put them in the corn crib to catch mice. I have stepped over more black, king, garter, green, etc.. snakes than most people will ever see in their lifetime. But I will not let a poisonous snake live. A black snake or king snake can kill mice and rats just as well as any rattler or copperhead. The king snakes around here can get bigger than the rattlers anyway if they live long enough and they eat copperheads and rattlers. I really like king snakes /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif.
 

tvodrd

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I'm OK with that, fellow Life NRA. This one is from c1976, and he/she is on the poncho liner I was using as a spread on the king size waterbed I still sleep on. I gave that one to CSULB where I was in attendance, with a "Do not kill" stipulation.
site1076.jpg


Larry
 

LifeNRA

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I dont know what is more amazing, you putting your fingers that close to a rattler or the fact that your waterbed has lasted that long. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

tvodrd

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Hey Life, It's on a couple of new matresses since then! I've been a reptile freak since a kid, and they don't scare me at all! If I ever had to deal with alligators/crocks/adult Monitors or really big snakes, it would be a different story! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Larry
 

LifeNRA

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tvodrd, I always liked reptiles too. My 7 year old son has been catching lizards since he was 6. He is not afraid of anything. He will catch any bug, spider, worm, or lizard he can. I have to remind him all the time not to ever handle a snake. I am afraid he may pick up one that he is not supposed to one day. Also have to remind him about the black widow spiders. He says he wants to be a bug catcher when he grows up. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

raggie33

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only thing that scares me whn im outdoors is people .i usaly catch the snakes i dont hold em to tight i let em feel as if im a tree and let em go as they please.most snakes in usa are preety even tempered and will avoid people .i dont recomend catching em though .they may feel threatened and bite you. but i love snakes as pets there real cool how they live with no arms or lefs but can catch things soi big and go so long wiht out food
 

LifeNRA

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Snakes are amazing creatures just like all of God's creations. But since we do not live in the Garden of Eden I shall smite the cursed poisonous ones before they bruise my heel.
 

tygger

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i have to agree with LifeNRA on that one. snakes are amazing but i'll try to steer clear if possible. one thing i can't quite understand is that with enough wild poisonous snakes here why would people want to buy king cobras and black mambas, etc. as pets. surely not everyone who ownes one is an expert snake handler. i say keep the really dangerous ones at zoos, animal sanctuaries, etc. so we can enjoy them from a distance. i guess it didn't help that last night i watched a national geographic episode about an experienced handler in florida or somewhere getting bitten by a king cobra which required over 10 vials of anitvenom to keep him alive. bottom line is, i see snake, i go opposite way.
 

JonSidneyB

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I feel sorry for rattlesnakes in away. Half of everything kills them. Roadrunners, Kingsnakes, Hawks, Cats, Dogs, People, Owls.

And they are a creature that is polite enough to warn you before striking.

There are alot of people who can handle snakes safetly.

In Oklahoma they have huge rattle snake roundups and no one ever gets struck.

Snake Roundup

peacefulsnaketown
 

LifeNRA

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JonSidneyB,
I dont think the timber ratlers around here care for being picked up. If an adult wants to handle snakes that is their business. But most children are ignorant of the dangers and therefore I am not willing to let one live and take the chance that some child could get bit. I dont care if the chances are 1 in a million, there is still a chance.

And not all of them are "polite enough to warn you before striking". I know that for a fact. My Uncle was bit on the foot while picking balckberries by a rattler with no warning at all. I also saw a fellow surveyor step over a log one day and noticed him dragging something behind him. The something ended up being a timber rattler that had struck his pants and got one of its teeth caught in the fabric. I have came upon several rattle snakes myself that just laid there without moving, no rattling, no nothing. I can promise you that it is not a fact that all rattle snakes will warn you before striking.

Edit to add: My experiance is only with the Timber Rattler. I have no experiance on how the rattlers out west behave.
 

sniper

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Ratters are like any of us--- they have good days and bad days. But no matter how "tame" they may appear, and how many times someone else has successfully handled them, it is their nature to strike, especially just before shedding their skin. They are not real big on differentiating a real from a potential threat.

Growing up, I was acquainted with a boy who had been bitten by an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. Months later, he was undergoing physical therapy, and MIGHT have gotten 80% usefulness from his leg by the end.

The best defense is to be aware. If it is hot, shady places are all suspect, and along a watercourse particularly. Snakes' prey congregate near water. If it is cooler, watch the sunny places.

Leash your dogs. Hounds on my uncle's ranch were forever sticking their noses into places where they were getting bitten. Fortunately, the snakes were the smaller Florida Pygmy Rattler, and did not envenomate, or we would have lost most of the dogs.

We had a case here where a lady was at an open air concert, picked up and was playing with a small rattler. Naturally, she got bitten.

I don't like snakes, beautiful though they may be. In my youger days, I was playing commando in the palmaetto scrub of southern Florida, and I whipped into cover, and sat down. I felt something move under my right buttock, and discovered a SNAKE! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif Right then, I invented my much admired imitation of the Great Horned Owl rising from the swamp at dusk. I am told it was truly inspiring.
 

JonSidneyB

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Perhaps I can across wrong.

I have found it interesting that a creature that causes much fear is killed by so many things in the wild.

Perhaps the ones in Okeene are less agressive. I would never advocate playing with one or handling them unless you knew what you were doing. I do find it interesting how many are collected and milked for the venom with few problems but then again these people generally know what they are doing.

I have never had a fear of them but I have respect for them.

Definately don't let your childeren handle them.
 

eluminator

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It does seem poisonous snakes like to live near rivers. There is a river nearby and there are apparently quite a few rattle snakes along the river canyon and especially in the caves along one side of the river.

I lived many years within 3 or 4 miles of the river and I never saw one. As far as I know they don't exist more that a half mile from the river.

When I was a small child, too young to travel outside my yard, we lived within a mile or so of another river. My father, who worked near the river bank, told me there were a few copperheads around there. That alone was enough to keep me in the yard /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif I've always been scared of snakes. Even small snakes that aren't poisonous, make me nervous.
 
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