Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another notch on my belt...sort of

It was Sunday evening around 7:30. It was raining. That is not a typo. Smooch and I were celebrating on the front porch, dancing and singing and making fools of ourselves myself. The first rainfall in 226 days barely dampened the dust in the rain gauge, but it was proof that evil forces had not installed an umbrella in the sky over New Mexico, as I was beginning to believe.

Anyway, midway through another chorus of "Singin' In the Rain," Smooch let out her snake bark and I shut up long enough to hear the rattling. I grabbed Smooch, ran with her into the house, and came back with the snake pole. I did not stop to pick up my camera – that's how serious this was.

Smooch sniffed out the rattler under the bench, which happened to be underneath a swallow's nest. You may remember that the last rattler Smooch discovered was also located below a swallow's nest. I may have to rethink the whole theory of "swallows are good to have around because they eat bugs."

In any event, a rattlesnake on my front porch was a very, very bad thing and had to be removed. I lassoed him with my snake pole and deposited him in the only available containment device, the ash can.

And there he stayed overnight. He had already ruined our party on the porch, and I wasn't about to spend the rest of my evening trying to figure out what to do with him. If he got a little claustrophobic and thirsty, so be it.

So Monday morning dawns and I wake up remembering there's a rattlesnake in my ash can that I must deal with. My glamorous life. I got everybody fed, then gathered my snake relocation accessories and proceeded apace.

No slippers or flipflops for me this time. I had my asp-kickin' boots on. 
 I kicked the can but got no response. Could it be that my opponent had expired and this story would end right here?

I cautiously removed the lid...

Did you know that telephoto lenses were invented so that intrepid rancher-women wouldn't have to get too close 
to rattlesnakes? I just made that up. Anyway, his beady little eyes were open, so I presumed he was still alive. 
With only two rattle beads on his tail, he was obviously a youngster, but potentially deadly nonetheless. 

I'm going to put the camera down now because this is the part where I need to pay attention.

Wait – he just moved. I'll take one more picture to share before the real action starts.

And not to get all dramatic on you or anything, but should I ever not make it through one of these ranch adventures? 
Just download the most recent pictures on my camera and you should be able to figure out what happened.

So we resume our story where the rattlesnake is held captive in the plastic container, which I'm about to place in the snakemobile. 
Logic says I would have left him in the ash can and not attempted to lasso him again, but the can was full and too heavy to lift.

Smooch: Please may I come along for the ride? I'm the one who found him!
Me: Sorry, Smooch. We can't risk putting your life in danger if this gets ugly.

I tied down the lid on the container just in case, then down the road we went.

I don't usually drive around at 6:30 in the morning. The light is kind of nice and I might have to do it more often ... 
preferably without a snake in the back seat.

I unloaded the rattler about two miles from home. 

I waited around for awhile, hoping he would show me some sign of gratitude for sparing his life, but he did not. 
Alas, all that was left to do was go home and finally get a cup of coffee...

 ...but not before marking another notch on my snake pole.

p.s. Smooch has an appointment with the vet on Friday to get a shot of rattlesnake vaccine.


  1. OK, I learned something new,,,,I didnot know that you could vacinate your dog for snake bite! Not that there are many rattlers this far north (I am in norhern Alberta) outside of a zoo. I was wondering what a dog owner would do if your beloved dog got bit. Having that snake on the porch is a little too close to home, I think you will have to stop renting out your porch space to swallows eh ;-) Rain, you want rain I will gladly send you some!

  2. You are a brave, brave woman. On the other hand, ain' nobody there but you to save the ranch, so what're y'gonna do but handle it?

    We have a friend . . . a real woodsman, who let himself get bitten by a rattler just to see what it would be like. It didn't kill him, but he did allow as it hurt quite a bit for a while.

  3. Yikes! Remove the swallows and get some Citronella!
    My brother had a lab who stepped in front of him and took a snake bite for him. The lab survived but with a rotted out part of his face from the venom to show for it. The lab was black so after a few years you couldn't really even see it...but Smooch is a blonde. Did I say Yikes!?

  4. Wowee, that was scary! I hate snakes.

  5. Carson, ALL the dogs up in our local mountains get the rattlesnake vaccine. I actually found a snake skin right outside the bird house on the ranch where I board my horses this weekend. Yup. Tiz the season! I also found a young rattlesnake on the road about a month ago, but a careless driver ran over the back half of him before I could get to him with a big stick and remove him from the road! He was mortally wounded and was dead 3 hours later when I returned. Glad you finally got some rain! Do you see the smoke from the Arizona fire?

  6. Well that's one less snake around the house. Never heard of a vaccine for snake bites, sounds like a good idea. They should have them for people too, or do they?

  7. Yes, you are a brave woman. Are you opposed to shooting them? Just curious because I'm pretty sure that's what I would do. I too didn't know there was a vaccine for dogs. Very interesting.

  8. Well done Linda...I just hate when they hide like that. Party crasher...

  9. I love your humane relocations of the snakes. I'm personally a snake lover but I'm not sure what I'd do with a venomous snake! Oh and FYI, snakes don't have eyelids so "open beady eyes" won't be a great indication of the snake being awake! :)

  10. A friend's dog got bitten a few days ago. Luckily, he had already had his first anti-rattlesnake shot the week before and survived after a few scary days.

    What a marvelous post--funny and scary (WHAT? She's going to transfer the snake out of the can?). Love the snakemobile, love the asp-kickin' boots. Can people get rattlesnake vaccine shots, I wonder?

  11. Now I would have put that box in a box, and then that one in another box, and maybe one more. Snakes give me the willies! You are brave.

  12. Scary situation, but you are just too funny with all your little sketches. The vaccine is a good idea. My sister's dog was bitten and they live in an area where the vet didn't have anti-venom. The dog survived, but it was touch and go. 1-800-DONTBITEME? Priceless.

  13. I love snakes, but don't know about moving a venomous one. You're a better woman than me.
    A little snakey factoid for you---they don't have eyelids. Eyes open, dead or alive.

  14. Love the vaccine for Smooch! She is a great snake spotter. Scary as hell, rattlesnake,but you handled the situation with optimum results.

    I wouldn't want to shoot my porch either if I were you. Rattler out in the yard, yeah, might make for good target practice. Me, I'd have to get over the cringing in the house part first :)

  15. eeeeEEEEEEkkkkKKKK!!! I HOPE and PRAY YOU don't have to put another notch for rattlers on your snake pole!! Yep, if I was YOU as soon as I saw a nest going up, especially a swallow, I'd remove it(I'm a good one to talk! there's a bird nest up in the rafters on my back porch)I'll be on the look-out for snakes now! They must love bird eggs + young newborn birdies?!! Thank GOD YOU or Smooch wasn't bit!! I think I would have drove just a little bit further,maybe another 10 miles!!!hehe

  16. i'm so glad you have smooch to warn you about deadly snakes. it's nice to be able to trust our animals to take care of us.

  17. Good dog, Smooch! Can you imagine if you had sat down on that bench after singin' in the rain? Do you have any contingency plans if you get bit- would you be able to drive 7 miles to nowhere for treatment?

  18. Smooch is a good snake dog! Love the post, was waiting for this since your tweet. Your lettering cracks me up (1-DONTBITEME) I love that you're keeping score on the pole, I should do that. But we haven't had any snakes on the property yet this year. I think the cows are keeping the snake population down. Not that I mind!
    Do love that you handle everything with such ease. There's nothing you can't do!

  19. You are really brave! Poor little birds, snake just waiting for one to fall out of the nest. I would think there was enough mice around for him! Glad all safely moved away from the house. Would a snake bite the pig? Take care!

  20. I didn't know about the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs. Do they have it for humans? Just like I wish the had Frontline for humans...I get a lot more tick bites than my dog ever does!

  21. I just discovered your blog this year and absolutely love it.

    I've just moved to the East Mountains and this is the first time I've ever really lived in "snake country". Did you make or buy your snake stick?

  22. You've got some good snake karma going, so hopefully they will leave you alone now. My sister-in-law found a rattlesnake coiled around her toilet bowl one night, so keep those doors and windows tightly closed. You are a brave woman, Carson, with a brave dog. Be careful - and are you getting smoke from the wildfire?

  23. Lots of questions today. Let's see if I can answer them all.

    The smoke from the Arizona fire is definitely in our air but not nearly as bad as it is in Albuquerque and other areas where it's trapped. More smoke stuff in tomorrow's post.

    I don't know if there is a human vaccine for snakebites. Guess I should find out. I did see an ad in Western Horseman this month for a horse vaccine. Will be asking my vet what he thinks about it.

    Deb, I feel safer roping/relocating the rattlers with the snake pole than trying to kill them.

    So snakes can't close their eyes? Never would have guessed that. Thanks to all who enlightened me.

    Shirley, until you asked, I never thought about what I'd do if I got bit. Call me over-confident. I'd probably call my vet!

    Village Queen, I'm told snakes are fearful of pigs. If you heard Wynonna scream, you would be, too.

    Rachel, I made the snake pole. Couldn't be easier. 5 feet of 1-1/2" PVC, a cap with two holed drilled into it on the end, and 14' of clothesline looped through.

  24. yikes. glad we don't see rattlers here. just mocassins and copperheads mostly.

  25. love that you relocate the snake instead of killing; I actually try to do that with spiders that make it in my house; I wouldn't want to test this but I heard that rattlesnake bite is usually not fatal? But you best get a plan...I think calling the vet is a great one....that would be mine!
    I know it is a "tween" movie but I watched Holes last night and it is actually a nice movie but it fit this post perfectly with the rattplesnakes and no rain part.... (and that is not the first I heard about rattlesnakes not being fatal....)

  26. You are a brave woman Carson. My MO is to scream bloody murder for my husband, point to the snake, and beat a hasty retreat. I'm not a snake lover to start with and rattlesnakes scare the bejeezus out of me.

  27. We have the vacine available here too. But we dont see many rattlers. Too many cats.

    Around here it's scorpions. They freak me out. Can't quite bring myself to relocate them... Can barely stop smushing them into atoms.

  28. Mebbe a plastic container should live on your front porch this summer. You are so brave Carson. I would want to never go outside if I lived there LOL! That's why I am a city girl I reckon. Only grass snakes to deal with in my yard and they scurry to cover as fast as they can.

  29. What a great post! I had no idea you could vaccinate your dogs against snakebites. Good to know.