Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lucy and Ethel relocate the rattlesnake

(Not Miss Lucy, the other Lucy ~ the one who does stupid stuff when her friend Ethel comes to visit.) 

The adventure started early Saturday morning when I went out to the garden to water the shriveling, waste-of-money plants 
that I insist on planting even when I know darned well they won't survive the New Mexico sun and/or my bad water.

Anyway, I was watering the pot in the foreground of the picture below when I spied something move down at my feet. 
A rattlesnake was trying to catch a nap in the shade until I came along and woke him up. Whoops. 
Right then and there I knew it was time to thin out the wild sunflowers that were overtaking the garden. 
But first I had to catch the snake and relocate it, and by the time I went to get the snake pole and the snake can, 
he was gone. Oh well. It still seemed like a good time to weed the garden, and Ethel said, "I'll help," and who was I to argue with that?

We hadn't pulled more than a handful of sunflowers when I heard Ethel calmly say, "There he is." 
Me: Who?
Ethel: The snake.
Me: Really? Where? 
Ethel: There.
Me: Where?
Ethel: THERE.
Ethel: THERE!!

I still couldn't see it. Then Ethel pulled back the sunflowers and I finally did see him, all coiled up in the shade. 

I asked Ethel to stand there and not take her eyes off him while I went to get the snake pole and whatever else I would need my camera.

I lassoed him and Ethel took a picture, but that wasn't a suitable souvenir 
to take back to the folks in Ohio, so we switched.

In the picture above, Ethel was just acting scared for the camera. 
I missed the picture when the snake started wiggling and she got scared for real.

We switched places again and I released the snake into the blue container you see above. He immediately crawled out. 
So I re-roped him and put him in the ash/trash can.

Then we strapped the can into the back of the Ranger and drove him down the road 
to release him far, far away from the ranch.

Rattlesnakes in trash cans make me smile. I can't help it.

I removed the lid, took a few pictures for posterity...

...then dumped out the ashes and the snake...

...while Ethel waved good-bye to her new friend from the safety of the front seat.

Ethel: Aaack! He's coming for us. Step on it!


  1. Eeeeek! I am not any kind of snake lover, although I am getting better, but rattlesnakes and copperheads still freak me out! You two handled it so well though. I'm proud of you and won't Ethel have some great stories to share back home!

  2. Aren't you afraid of being bitten??

  3. Ah, the sweet tourism attractions of New Mexico. An interesting counterpoint to hot air ballooning!

  4. Jeez Louise. You crazy, crazy girls! :)

  5. You two are really impressive with your brave and blasé approach to rattlesnake relocation!

  6. Great photo story! I love "Lucy and Ethel" stories!

  7. Looks like the last photo is "I'm gonna getcha" Wow, glad nobody was harmed in this video including the snake. Ha! Did I say that?
    Snakes are not my friends although I have in the past met ones that stood on two legs. I could have used the snake pole to send them to another planet.

    Best always, Sandra

  8. How many rattlesnake marks are on that pole now? Do you think this is the same snake you keep escorting off the property? What kind of cologne is Ethel wearing? She seems to attract them.

  9. That's quite a tale for this time of day... I don't normally start my morning with action and suspense! I hope I would remain as calm, and resourceful as you two were... and that my camera is handy, too.

  10. Er, uh...he seems to be FOLLOWING YOU! He must like the 7 MSN!

  11. By the way, I've tried planting those wild sunflower seeds here and they NEVER grow! I'm ready to give up! I see them, however, all around our valley. What's your secret?

  12. I think some areas of New Mexico have more snakes, but before you all think we're a rattle-snake infested desert, I can tell you I've lived in the mountains east of Albuquerque for 6 years and 1 year in Rio Rancho in the high desert northwest of Albuquerque and I've never seen a Rattlesnake yet. I know they're there, but even though I hike all over the place, I never encountered one. I have encountered 2 or 3 Bull snakes and a Garter Snake, though. I am cautious, always making a lot of noise and pounding the trail hard as I hike to alert them I am coming. Growing up in San Diego County in California, we frequently encountered Rattlesnakes on our rural three acres, killing at least 3. So I definitely respect them and I expect to see one anyday in my walking around. Glad you were both safe and got the guy far away from your house.

  13. ick ick ick, this is one time I am glad I live so far north eh!

  14. Another successful relocation. I'm working on one of my own over here and, so far, the critter is outwitting me...

  15. Carol in N. Colorado6/3/12, 7:44 AM

    You are braver that I am. I might be relocating bull snakes as they will eat the rattlers but the rattlers wouldn't be making it very far as they would become food for something else like hawks.

  16. Dave Gibbons6/3/12, 8:45 AM

    I like the comment by JaneJane. It would be appropriate if you put notches in your snake pole each time you relocate a rattlesnake. (Or Sharpie marker strokes.) Have you kept count?

  17. LOL, why on earth did you not just kill it?! You always crack me up.

  18. From the looks of the shadows, this was a showdown at high noon. Hope you both stayed well-hydrated!

  19. Lucy and Ethel always have the most interesting adventures. It's a great thing to have a friend who will "do" the same things you do. And frankly, I am always impressed with your snake wrangling mad skills....makes me ooooogie but I am impressed. Oma Linda

  20. I am almost used to your loop-the-snake-and-relocate posts. I hope the ashcan lid fits tight!

  21. The snake is just frightened and wants back in to the vehicle for the ride home. "Wait for me, guys! Hey, what kind of trick is this!!"

  22. Didn't this adventure happen when Ethel was visiting last time? Seems as though she might be related to St. Patrick. :)

  23. I found a gray rat snake in the basement window, sunning itself. Everyone ran/moved away but me. I had to take a closeup picture. I plan to kill this one because it eats my chicken eggs. I am not afraid of snakes but might startle at one.

    I have designed a snake trap and will make it this week.

  24. It's great to see people with this attitude towards snakes. I hope it catches on! The snake is a prairie rattlesnake, Crotalus viridis, if anyone's curious.