Sunday, June 28, 2009

If it'd been a snake...

I like timber rattlesnakes. As a zoology grad student I had one that had been "fixed" so it couldn't inject venom, but it had its fangs, and could have certainly delivered a painful bite. But it had a nice enough personality, and you could handle it like a corn snake. I'm convinced that many timber rattlers I've encountered in the woods could be gently picked up barehanded, assuming of course that they haven't first coiled in alarm/defense. But I would never try it, of course.

This amazing video shows a young black bear nearly stepping on a very large timber rattlesnake, oblivious to the danger at its feet. Only when retracing its steps does it finally see the snake, and its reaction is much the same as mine would be! It makes me wonder how often I've come close to snakes like this one without ever knowing it. The thought might be unsettling, but on the other hand, the snakes' behavior is somewhat comforting.

The people who made this video had been watching the snake for several days. From the context of other videos, it appears to be near a corn feeder that has attracted a variety of wildlife, including rodents. Go to their website for further webcam documentation of this impressive but unlucky snake striking at and missing an adult bear (self defense) plus a gray squirrel and a chipmunk (feeding attempts).

Note: If you're ever around such a grain feeder that's in use during the warm season, watch your step--they really are snake magnets, and don't count on every rattlesnake being so magnanimous!


billco said...

I read your earlier rattlesnake post and agree that we probably come closer to them more than we think. They are very good at blending in and considering that most are seen on trails and roads, it figures that most of the rest are hiding pretty good.

Last month was the first time that I got close enough to one to get rattled. A little unnerving.

Outdoors said...

I enjoy reading your blog. I too love the outdoors and enjoy reading about outdoor activities. I don't however, want to get too close to rattlesnakes.