Close Encounter of the Rattler Kind

(c) DeepDesertPhoto

If you’ve been following The SnK, then you’re aware of our clearing brush in the “Front 40,” as required by the Grassland Restoration Grant that we’ve been approved for.  We’re working to get rid of Coastal Bermuda and King Ranch Blue Stem, and putting in native grasses and wildflowers.  Since the fields haven’t been grazed in some time, the grass is thick in some areas, which requires some work to get down the base of the brush, when cutting.

We’ve been at it for a few weeks now, without any excitement, other than getting slapped in the face by a branch or two, or having to dodge brush as it falls the wrong way.  Our sighting of wildlife has been limited to birds and mice. It was a bit different the other day.

A couple of days ago, Selena and I were cutting brush, plugging along as usual, with me manning the chainsaw and Selena the cutters and sprayer.  I had just finished knocking down a pretty good sized Huisache  and had shut the saw down to refill.  Selena shouts at me to pull off my shooter’s muffs.  When I did so, she directed my attention to a “Buzzing” sound.

At first, she thought it was a Cicada, but it’s not the right time of year for those.  “What is that?”, she asked.  I quickly recognized the sound.  It was a rattler and he was going at it good.  My thoughts were quickly confirmed when the rattle fell off in speed, then rattled back up.

Now, we’ve been here since 2006, and we’ve only seen one Rattler on the place and it was a small one.  We’ve seen quite a few other species, but not Rattlers.  Since this one was in some deep grass, we didn’t get a clear view but did see enough to recognize the diamond pattern; it was a Diamondback Rattlesnake.

We both counted ourselves lucky in that we didn’t get struck while working in that area.  Thanking Mr. Rattler for being so kind, we let him be, and head off towards the next clump of brush.  You can bet we’ll be more observant of our surroundings in the future.

Who else has had an interesting “Close Encounter?”