Sunday, June 07, 2015

Timber Rattlesnake

I was driving on Low Gap Road in Morgan Monroe State Forest when I saw this big guy crossing the road. I was leaving the ecoblitz research project and had been hoping all day long to see a Timber, with several people reporting seeing them. I made sure my car was blocking the lane and jumped out to take a look and a picture. The rattle started up immediately, and he coiled up. I knew he had been heading towards the creek on my left, but I didn't know how to get him there safely for the both of us. So I just blocked traffic until another car stopped and offered to protect him until I could get some of the other biologists from the ecoblitz. Using a stick, and blocking traffic, we encouraged him over to the creek side of the road. I counted nine buttons on his rattle. The others speculated that it looked like he had recently eaten a squirrel or chipmunk. His color, pattern, and form were beautiful. I felt very lucky to see such a big guy, especially considering the senseless violence from the most dangerous creature. (Undoubtedly, I was in infinitely more danger stopping on a road than I was being near a rattlesnake.)

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