The above image is my interpretation of a recent encounter between me and my new neighbor.
Yes, it was a rattlesnake.
And though the heroes who removed it assured me that the snake was “just a baby,” I beg to differ.
That rattlesnake didn’t know it was “just a baby.” What it did know was that it had fangs, and venom, and knew how to use them.
And “baby” rattlesnakes are even scarier than adults, because they’re born without the rattle. The rattle grows each time the snake sheds its skin, so a baby rattler may not have shed enough times to give a warning before striking.
But even if the rattle has developed, there’s no Rattlesnake for Dummies book that tells rattlesnakes there’s a rule that they must shake that rattle before striking.
There are no rules for rattlesnakes, period.
Like that nonsense about “rattlesnake season.”
People around here talk about rattlesnake season as the months of April through October – as though rattlesnakes pay any attention to the human calendar.
Do those who espouse this theory think that rattlesnake in my yard, poised to strike, would suddenly pause and think, “Wait – what month is it? March? OK, it’s not my season to bite” and just slither back under its rock?
And please spare me any further blather about how “fatalities from rattlesnake bites are rare if treated in a timely manner.”
You see that key word, “if”?
And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “between 7,000 and 8,000 people per year are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States, but only five of them die each year.”
You see that key word, “only”?
There’s no “only” if you’re one of the five.
And yes, I know rattlesnakes help control the rodent population, and I’m grateful and all that. There are plenty of rodents out there, so why bite me? A rattlesnake can swallow a mouse whole…
But what the hell would it do with me?
If, after all this, you still think rattlesnakes are swell, then come on out to Southern California and have a cuddle-up – we have four types, so you can…
Pick your poison: