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RE: TB: First garden visitor this spring

  • Subject: RE: [iris-photos] TB: First garden visitor this spring
  • From: dferguson@cabq.gov
  • Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 13:47:47 -0600

I don't know my California Rattlers well (did I get that right, it is in
Cal.?), but if I found it in my yard I would say it was a baby Western
Diamondback (or "Coontail").  This is the Rattler of choice in my area
(central NM at base of Manzano Mtns.).  We're on sloping rocky ground, have
grassland all around with only a few scattered Junipers, cacti, plus a few
rocky shrubby arroyos running through the property.  Lots of Gophers,
Rabbits, Wood Rats, Mice, etc.  The Rattlers come into the yard regularly
to hunt rodents, water, and shade.  I find them in my Iris, under the
bushes, under the yard chairs, etc.  Last year was a slow year, only hauled
off 6 (plus one Prairie Rattler).  The year before there were an even
dozen, and the year before that eleven (two that were so agressive I
couldn't catch them and had to dispose of them).  Took a few to the Zoo and
a Rattlesnake museum, but they have enough now.  The rest get hauled about
15 miles away.  The average Diamondback in the yard is about three ft.
long.  Haven't had a big one yet, and only a few little ones (about 2 ft).
It's been a real worry, as I have a son (almost three years old now) a
rather slow and dumb dog, two cats, and a wife who likes to wear sandles
and shorts around the yard.  So far we haven't had anyone bitten, but one
really scared my wife last year when it was sitting coiled up under the
chair she was sitting in.

It's a really good reason to use a long-handled tool when reaching into the
vegetation to weed or whatever!

I like the looks of that snake tool.  I usually use a very long stick, two
buckets, and a sheet of cardboard to catch my snakes (actually works pretty
well with practice - which I get plenty of).

We get perhaps a dozen kinds of snakes in the yard, but Rattlers are the
sort I see the most of (by a factor of about 10), and the only ones that
bothers me.  Some of the others are actually fun, one kind looking like
worms, another bright red underneith, yet another playing dead when you
bother it, etc.

So far my Iris beds have been Rattler free this year (hope it stays that


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