27 July 2006

Unwelcome Guest

For those of you who missed it and were asking, here is a picture of the univited guest to the Bear Lodge Writers publication party at Devil's Tower. Yep. A three foot long rattlesnake. He was right in the middle of the picnic area, with kids and party goers running all around. But who almost stepped on him? Of course, me. Amazing how that rattle sound can stop you dead in your tracks. We faced off, I backed away and got the park ranger who was attending the publication party, she called for another ranger to wrangle the snake with a ridiculously short stick. While we waited for Snake Wrangler Boy to show up, we kept a respectful distance and watched. The rattler was fine, gliding about, tasting the air, until Snake Boy arrived and approached with a set of snake tongs in hand. Then the snake curled up and rattled. It was a standoff. I've seen rattlers launch themselves forward, no way would I approach one with a puny three foot long grabber stick. Even a six foot long one is living dangerously. I think Snake Boy had second thoughts, too. The rangers finally herded him off into the tall grass. A quarter mile down the road is an all you can eat prairie dog buffet, so why was the rattlesnake in our midst? For the cookies? The story readings? For the chance to have its picture taken? (Look at me, not the Tower, dang it!)

Wyoming wildlife, gotta love it.

Bear Lodge Writers newest book--
In The Shadow Of The Bear Lodge: Writings From The Black Hills- An anthology by Bearlodge Writers.


KC Heath said...

I remember rattlers from when I lived in Colorado. Down here in Texas, we have a close cousin: the cottonmouth. Lots of snakes here. We see coral snakes every year in the garden [give me the shivers!]. Last week I fought a 15 inch long tree snake for possession of my office door. :) ~kc

Constance said...

I hope you let the snake have the office... but if it wants to get on the computer, then I would fight!
I don't care for snakes, then again, I wouldn't kill them for fun. If they ignore me, I'll gladly ignore them.

KC Heath said...

I like snakes, but then I've yet to be bitten--am very nervous around red wasps though. The other night, my mother-in-law called, crying, "there's a snake near my door." So I go over there and rescue the poor old lady who is still shaking, and take the box from her that said snake is in, take the box down to the riparian zone and empty it. A baby grass snake lays stunned from old lady's broom.

But when I was in college, I knew a girl who had a pet boa. She fed it mice. Over Christmas break she left it at college because Mom would not understand. When we got back, snake got meal of mouse and was so hungry it ate it before killing it--mouse killed snake from inside by trying to scratch its way out!