Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Uninvited Pool Guest: A Wayward Timber Rattlesnake

I went out for an early swim on Saturday and discovered this fine fellow enjoying the pool.  I would later find out this youngster was a juvenile Timber Rattlesnake.  How did I come by this knowledge? Read on.

 After grabbing him out of the water (he was close to drowning and had been in the pool a long time) I put him out on top of a retaining wall to warm up and got a look at his markings.  The brown diamond shaped marking along the back are very unusual for snakes in our area.  This was no common water or queen snake.


Oh look how how cute - he's rearing up to attack me.  He even started wiggling his tail like he had a rattle.  I was to learn later that juvenile rattlesnakes haven't developed rattles at the end of their tails.

Right after this picture was taken he started striking at me.  It was really cute until....
He nicked me on the finger!!!  Within an hour my right hand had swollen up to the size of an orange and I couldn't move my index finger or thumb.

It's rather useful, when one is a stupid as I am, to be married to a surgeon and my lovely Dr wife took charge of my care along with simultaneously admonishing me for said stupidity.

It's now Tuesday and the swelling has gone down which is allowing me to type this post.  It actually was a nice few days being unable to use a keyboard.

What happened to Young Master Rattlesnake?  Well I let him go in the woods - rattlesnakes aren't that dangerous if you don't try to catch them (there's the whole stupid thing again) and are amazingly effective at keeping the rodent population down.  They are also on the endangered species list here in Maryland so its against the law to harm them.  Sadly, the rascals have no legal proscriptions against biting us.

As you might suspect, I spent a good bit of time single-handedly googling Timber Rattlesnakes on the web.  Fascinating creatures but nowhere did I see any indications of their love of swimming pools.

11 comments:

Paul Robinson said...

Glad you're okay. At least you've given me a reason for liking being here in Blighty - even if we can't justify a swimming pool in our climate.

Martin Cooke said...

I would have run away and then filled in the pool and had a tennis court

Peter Douglas said...

Glad to see that you are on the mend Miles.

Hopefully your not wildlife encounter will be less dangerous. I think we all chuckled at the lecture you'd have gotten from your better half.
Cheers, Peter

Ubique Matt said...

Cute little critters - until they bite you of course.

Brent said...

Ugh. Snakes.

Kelly Armstrong said...

On the plus side, you did help build karma by returning the snake to his natural habitat. Much better solution than bashing the snake to death for intruding on humanity. May your habitat be rodent free.

alastair said...

Eek! The most dangerous thing we have on our garden is a fox cub...or rather we "had" a fox cub till my greyhound found it!!

Dai said...

Interesting story with an entertaining ending. Glad there will be no long lasting damage from that nip though.

Here in Northern California you are actively encouraged to shoot rattlesnakes as there are so many out in the foothills, etc.

Michael Mills said...

Is this a case of biting the hand that freed me? [ahem] I'll get my coat...

PS. Glad you're OK!

David Sullivan said...

I used to live at a place in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains in California. I encountered rattlers a few times while working around the place. At one point, while repairing a circuit of fencing, I ended up carrying a pistol loaded with birdshot because I had rattlers rearing up and rattling at me as I worked in the underbrush. On another occasion, I killed a rattler with an axe while chopping wood. It came out at me from the woodpile. Fun critters, rattlesnakes.

Stefan (aka. Monty) said...

Good to hear that you and the snake are allright after all.