(*hat tip* to Bluz Dude at Darwinfish 2 for the title idea)
The Tale of the Tail
I’ve been creating a tree nursery for the park by germinating such things as Pomegranates, Wisteria, Jacaranda, Cheesewood, and Giant Sequoias. (Heh, I don’t pick the seeds, they were already here just collecting dust on the park store desk.)
Since I was tired of dusting the dust off the seed packets sitting on the desk, I decided to plant them. I designed and am helping to build a greenhouse of sorts* to keep the plants (should they ever sprout) safe from the wild critters who run rampant in the park.
*Before you become impressed with my building skills, keep in mind this greenhouse, much like the Squirrel Obstacle Course, will be made from “found” objects. And I’m not making it very big. Rather than a nursery greenhouse with doors and windows and important stuff like that, it’s more like a plant “cozy”. You know, a “cozy” like your grandmother used to knit to cover the spare toilet paper role that sat on the back of the toilet.
My RV happens to be parked next to the
plant cozy tree nursery. I bend down replace one of the nursery bricks, and hear a *hissssss*. Thinking it’s the spray nozzle in front of me, I check the hose. It’s not even dripping.
Then it slowly dawns on me the noise is coming from my other side… I turn my head just in time to see a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake slithering about a foot away from me! Thank goodness he was scared and had already begun to slither away because he could have very easily bitten me before I ever saw him.
After I posted this on Facebook, a friend asked if I used a shovel or an axe to kill the rattlesnake.
My reply: I used a cell phone and called one of the rangers.
Ranger Roscoe came right over with a park neighbor and they killed the rattler with shovels.
My part? I handed out the shovels and said, “Don’t crush the tail! I want the tail!”. I’m helpful like that. Oh, and I took pictures.
Before I start to come off as a stereo-typical “skittish, dumb blond” protagonist in a Hollywood plot, let me tell you what happened after the snake was dead. I may be blond, but I’m not stupid. I waited until the snake was beheaded before I handled it.
The ranger wanted the skin and I wanted to BBQ the meat, which I hear is very tasty. Chickenbone, my sister, indicated I may have been in Texas a bit too long if I’m considering eating rattlesnake. Ok, that could be true.
Ranger Roscoe had the sharpest knife, so I held the snake down (it was still writhing for a good ten minutes after we cut the head off) as he cut off the tail for me and then slit the belly. I’d seen how you remove rattlesnake skin (maybe on “Dual Survival”?), and told him what to do. After we opened it, it was clear there was no meat, just lots of guts. Maybe it was too small at just over two feet long?
This is the first rattler seen inside the park in at least 20 years. The next nearest one was seen several years ago about two miles up the entrance road leading in to the park. It bit a dog when the owner jumped out of his truck to cut the tail off. Note: Snakes can still bite even when they’ve been run over. Best to cut the head off and chuck it far away before cutting the tail off the body, like I did.
Any way you slice it – pun intended – I figure I’m now at least an honorary Texan. And I still plan to eat BBQ’d rattlesnake.