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Change in rattlesnake behavior?
11/20/10

Posted on 11/19/2010 10:16:49 PM PST by roses of sharon

HUNTERS AND FARMERS AND THOSE WHO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY.....TAKE HEED....

My fellow friends and family,

We have killed 57 rattlesnakes on two separate ranches this year. 24 @South bend & 33 @ Murray, since mid May. Not one has buzzed! We provoked one fair sized boy with a stick and he coiled & struck at the stick a couple of times before he buzzed up and rattled. The purpose of this explanation is that I have been hearing the same from fellow ranchers and hunters in regards to the lack of warning with rattlesnakes.

I had lunch with a friend today and he offered a theory about the fact that these bugs aren't rattling anymore. He raised pigs for years and reported that when he would hear a rattlesnake buzzing in the sow pen, the sows would bee line to it and fight over the snake. For the uninformed, pigs love to eat rattlesnakes.

Therefore, the theory is they are ceasing to rattle to avoid detection, since there are plenty of pigs roaming the countryside. I have a neighbor ranching lady who was bitten 3 weeks ago 2 times by the same snake without any warning....she spent 5 days in ICU, after 22 vials of anti-venom she is back at the ranch and still may lose her foot or worse yet her lower leg.

The days of perceived warning are over. Keep your boots on and use a light when out and about. As you all know, one can pop up just about anywhere! You may wish to forward this to anyone that would be interested.

These guys think the rattlesnakes have stopped warning with their rattles before striking because the abundance of wild hogs has taught them that if they rattle a hog will come and eat them. The wild hogs are a problem (ferrule not Razorbacks which are not so plentiful but which must also eat snakes) to farmers and ranchers and now they have possibly made the rattlers a bigger problem. Just in case you guys get out in the woods or wilds.


TOPICS: Agriculture; Health/Medicine; Outdoors
KEYWORDS: farming; hiking; hog; hunting; pig; rattlers; rattlesnake; snake; wildboar; wildpig
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Thought I would post a couple of emails that were fwd to me this week from Texas.

Just in case, better to be safe than sorry!

1 posted on 11/19/2010 10:16:51 PM PST by roses of sharon
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To: roses of sharon

Well I used to hunt “rattlers” as a boy back in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s and at least half of them didn’t rattle back then either.


2 posted on 11/19/2010 10:21:33 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: roses of sharon

Rattlesnakes are probably not smart enough to “learn” behavior of this sort. However (assuming this anecdotal evidence is accurate), perhaps the ones who naturally did not buzz before striking are more likely to survive to breeding age, and therefore would eventually become the majority population. It would be interesting to have a herpetologist look into this.


3 posted on 11/19/2010 10:21:55 PM PST by Hetty_Fauxvert (March 2010: Congress shoved Obamacare down our throats. November 2010: We will shove it back!)
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To: roses of sharon

Bump for reference.


4 posted on 11/19/2010 10:25:56 PM PST by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (Freedom is the freedom to discipline yourself so others don't have to do it for you.)
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert
You are correct.

That is the current theory in herp circles.

5 posted on 11/19/2010 10:30:57 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: roses of sharon

The rattlesnakes around here didn’t get the memo, never having seen a wild pig, I guess.


6 posted on 11/19/2010 10:31:04 PM PST by steve86
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert

We lived in a desert community north of Phoenix. The snakes that rattled got killed. The ones that didn’t often got away scott free. Our neighbor was bit twice by a rattle snake that didn’t buzz. He killed it, but not before it did some serious damage. It’s a case of selective breeding.

My question is, will we have to change the name of the snakes if they quit rattling?


7 posted on 11/19/2010 10:34:43 PM PST by stansblugrassgrl
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To: roses of sharon

Do you not see that this is evolution? The buzzing snakes died off and the non-buzzing snakes did not. So, they evolved.

Dawkins is vindicated.

Now move along and stop asking ya-but questions.


8 posted on 11/19/2010 10:42:31 PM PST by lurk
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To: Flycatcher
My experience in the desert of West Texas (in the 60s) is much different. If in the open and no avenue of escape, they would coil and rattle. If they were in the brush they would try and get away. I did not follow them into the brush, and I have not been bitten my a rattlesnake.

I can get along with rattlesnakes, but water moccasins are bad.

9 posted on 11/19/2010 10:44:04 PM PST by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist, Iconoclast: THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR.)
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To: lurk
Do you not see that this is evolution? The buzzing snakes died off and the non-buzzing snakes did not. So, they evolved.

This does not reflect the process of evolution. It reflects the process of natural selection.

Do you not know the difference?

10 posted on 11/19/2010 10:46:44 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: cpdiii

bitten my a rattlesnake should read as, “bitten by a rattlesnake”


11 posted on 11/19/2010 10:47:42 PM PST by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist, Iconoclast: THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR.)
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To: cpdiii
Yes, rattlesnakes are predictably unpredictable, if that makes any sense. For the most part, they do prefer to retire from any sort of conflict, but if they feel cornered, as you pointed out, they will assume a threatening posture.

You and I are both lucky we haven't been bitten (yet). I've handled -- in the wild -- nearly 100 rattlensakes (six different species) and I look back now at my sometimes reckless behavior.

I never physically handle them now. I must be smarter. ;)

But in a wild setting, I never kill them either. I'm an old-school Conservationist with a capital C, which makes me the philosophical enemy of the socialist Environmentalist with a capital E.

12 posted on 11/19/2010 10:59:09 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: roses of sharon

Rattle snakes are still evolving. Some have even turned into Lawyers. Many have become politicians.


13 posted on 11/19/2010 10:59:39 PM PST by fish hawk (w)
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To: fish hawk
"Rattle snakes are still evolving. Some have even turned into Lawyers. Many have become politicians."


14 posted on 11/19/2010 11:05:02 PM PST by clearcarbon
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To: roses of sharon

My experience is that rattlers won’t buzz unless you stay too near to them for long enough that they become threatened. Most people bit by a rattlesnake never heard them buzz. I had a baby in my backyard that didn’t even make a sound before he got whomped with a rake.

Of course, this hog story does seem to make a good excuse for blasting some feral hogs.


15 posted on 11/19/2010 11:08:00 PM PST by The KG9 Kid (l)
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To: clearcarbon

No way I’m going to get a good night’s sleep after that.


16 posted on 11/19/2010 11:09:49 PM PST by fish hawk (w)
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To: Flycatcher

Aside from the baby rattler in my backyard that got killed because our little Siamese cat was too curious near it, I won’t kill a snake either. I think about Hantavirus.


17 posted on 11/19/2010 11:12:23 PM PST by The KG9 Kid (l)
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To: Inyo-Mono

They may have stoped ratteling, but up here they better be undercover cause we got snow, and its cold. Dont think they much like snow.


18 posted on 11/19/2010 11:14:14 PM PST by teancumspirit (The name is pronouced Tea-anc-um)
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To: teancumspirit

We have snow too, and they are hidden out in their dens now.


19 posted on 11/19/2010 11:17:56 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: The KG9 Kid

Nueces Helicopter Pig Hunt (no music)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiHmYsyVniE

“This feral hog eradication program is funded by a group of farmers who are taking progressive action to reduce the devastation done to their crops by these animals. Each and every feral hog is estimated to cause $1400 in crop damage during its lifetime. As you can see this data in combination with the extraordinarily high and ever expanding hog population proves to be a very big problem.”


20 posted on 11/19/2010 11:18:49 PM PST by deks ("...the battle of our time is the battle of liberty against the overreach of the federal government")
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To: The KG9 Kid
Aside from the baby rattler in my backyard that got killed because our little Siamese cat was too curious near it, I won’t kill a snake either. I think about Hantavirus.

Wow! That's funny you should say that.

I've been dealing with a potential case of the hantavirus every day now for the last week. Deer mice (the chief carriers of the hantavirus in the Southwest) have invaded my remote desert home. I set some snap traps on Wednesday night and got one in the kitchen. Then last night I set some glue traps and caught two more mice: another deer mouse and a cactus mouse.

I don't fool with rodents. The hantavirus can kill you, and I don't hesitate for one second to KILL every rodent that comes near my house.

I seem to be winning this battle. So far, no more deer mice tonight! LOL!

21 posted on 11/19/2010 11:20:24 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: stansblugrassgrl

The snake formerly known as rattle.


22 posted on 11/19/2010 11:20:35 PM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: cpdiii

Water moccasins are the worst. They are mean and fearless.


23 posted on 11/19/2010 11:25:13 PM PST by coon2000 (Give me Liberty or give me death!)
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To: lurk

“Dawkins is vindicated.”

Uh...Darwin maybe?


24 posted on 11/19/2010 11:30:14 PM PST by SlidingW (October 9, 2009 - I Was Here!)
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To: Flycatcher

Have you got a cat? Get a nice free one at your local shelter and let it out during the daytime to earn it’s keep. Keep it inside at night away from the coyotes.


25 posted on 11/19/2010 11:34:47 PM PST by The KG9 Kid (l)
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To: roses of sharon; george76; SunkenCiv

The latest buzz. Or maybe not.


26 posted on 11/19/2010 11:37:22 PM PST by BIGLOOK (Keelhaul Congress!)
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To: The KG9 Kid
Yeah, my wife and I have two cats, but they're both ancient and can barely make it to their food dish. Pathetic!

We had a dog, though, that seemed to keep the mice at bay. It was a beautiful border collie pup that one day a year ago strolled up my dirt driveway. Knowing it was lost and would be killed by coyotes that night if I didn't do something, I rescued her and drove around the desert to my (somewhat) near neighbors to see if they'd lost a dog. Nope. So long story short, we had a new member of the family!

It was a wonderful dog too. In early October, it was bitten in the face by a rattlesnake but survived the night it spent at the vet hospital. After she recovered, sadly, she wandered a little too far from our property and was killed by coyotes.

My wife and I both agree that we can't have another dog. It's just too heartbreaking to have something like that happen again.

27 posted on 11/19/2010 11:45:54 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: Flycatcher
Ah, I'm sorry about that. I've heard so many lousy rotten coyote stories about people losing their pets to them.

I also understand those folks who respect and admire the coyote, but I'm just not one of them. Wasn't too long ago that there was one running down the street with half a cat in it's mouth. I'd chase it down with my truck and get even with it right there if it were my cat it grabbed.

So, snakes of all kinds get a reprieve from me... But if it came down to me dealing with coyotes, they get blasted and that's final.

Anyway, sounds like you folks need to hire a new cat. :)

28 posted on 11/20/2010 12:07:31 AM PST by The KG9 Kid (l)
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To: The KG9 Kid
Thanks for your kind words.

Yeah, we'll probably get a new cat when our two old ones pass on.

I want a mountian lion, to take care of this ongoing coyote problem... ;)

Now I'm off to bed. Regards!

29 posted on 11/20/2010 12:16:23 AM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: Flycatcher

Can a cat die from biting a rat with hantavirus?


30 posted on 11/20/2010 12:17:26 AM PST by Slyfox
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To: roses of sharon
"For the uninformed, pigs love to eat rattlesnakes."

For the record, pigs love to eat anything that does not eat them first.

" I have a neighbor ranching lady who was bitten 3 weeks ago 2 times by the same snake without any warning"

She should have hit him with the splat-o-matic after the first bite. Hopefully, lesson learned.

"The wild hogs are a problem (ferrule ..."

Just for the record, they are feral, not ferrule.

31 posted on 11/20/2010 12:23:52 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies. Plan it.)
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To: roses of sharon

the only good rattler is a dead rattler, like the one in this video:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-18242


32 posted on 11/20/2010 12:56:24 AM PST by blueplum
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To: The KG9 Kid

I had a cat the got nailed by a timber rattler. Didnt last ten min.The cat tried to catch it.


33 posted on 11/20/2010 2:23:14 AM PST by TLEIBY308 (Keep yer powder dry and watch yer top Knot.)
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To: Slyfox

Not that I’m aware of. HV is passed to humans when they inhale dust contaminated with urine from an infected rodent. It’s primarily a disease of the rodents. Has done a pretty good job of wiping out prairie dog colonies.

It may have been much more virulent in the past and even transmissible between humans in some way, as it may have played a major role in the Great Die-off of native Americans during the 1500s.


34 posted on 11/20/2010 3:25:44 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

Cancel that bit about HV and prairie dogs. The disease that wipes out their colonies is a different one.


35 posted on 11/20/2010 3:29:11 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert

It’s not an intentional behavior, many other snakes vibrate their tails under stress. Only rattlers are equipped to make an audible signal.


36 posted on 11/20/2010 3:39:23 AM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, A Matter Of Fact, Not A Matter Of Opinion)
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To: roses of sharon
This story has been bouncing around for about a year now. I see no truth to it. I killed over 60 rattlers this year and most didn't rattle until they were shot or whopped with the shovel. Another poster mentioned them being caught in the open and I would have to back that up. They seem to be much less likely to rattle when in the brush than in an exposed area. We don't have any hogs on the big ranch just a few Javalina’s and I've never known them to mess with rattlers. The theory that a rattling snake draws attention by the hog's is amusing to say the least. Since the noisy ones get eaten how do they pass that info to the rest.
37 posted on 11/20/2010 3:48:58 AM PST by Dusty Road
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

A bull snake will vibrate his tail and even flatten his head out to mimic a rattler.


38 posted on 11/20/2010 3:51:28 AM PST by Dusty Road
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To: The KG9 Kid

I have no respect or admiration for coyotes, I try kill everyone of them I see. When I first took over the production on the big ranch I killed 42 the first year. Rattlers, hog’s and coyotes are shot on sight.


39 posted on 11/20/2010 3:55:42 AM PST by Dusty Road
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To: roses of sharon

40 posted on 11/20/2010 4:02:32 AM PST by diverteach (If I find liberals in heaven after my death.....I WILL BE PISSED!!!)
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To: roses of sharon

At 9494’ we ain’t got no rattlers, rattling or otherwise. Need to go down to about 7,500’ to find any.


41 posted on 11/20/2010 4:44:01 AM PST by x1stcav (Charter member of the Yukon Army..)
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To: roses of sharon
Naw, simple evolution caused by outside forces. The buzzers have all been killed.
42 posted on 11/20/2010 4:46:05 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ (What flavor Kool-aid are you drinking?)
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To: steve86
The rattlesnakes around here didn’t get the memo ...

Reporting in from the Colo. Springs area. My wife had an encounter with one while hiking, she wasn't bitten, apparently that particular rattler didn't get the memo either.

43 posted on 11/20/2010 4:57:36 AM PST by BluH2o
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To: BIGLOOK

Oh, I thought this was about Obama.


44 posted on 11/20/2010 6:07:52 AM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: cpdiii

Your experience agrees with mine. Rattlesnakes that can run away normally do, and do so quietly. If cornered, what I’ve seen is about 50:50 rattle/quiet.

On one occasion in Yellowstone, I had a large (4-5 feet) rattler that attacked our lunch site 4 times. The first three times, we took a large stick and tossed him away. The 4th time, we pinned him and killed him.

But as long as it lives at least 100 yards from my house, I don’t mind them.


45 posted on 11/20/2010 6:22:50 AM PST by Mr Rogers (When an ass brays, don't reply)
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To: The KG9 Kid; Flycatcher
I'm a live and let live guy with rattlesnakes. Coyotes? If the chance arises, I'll kill them. If you don't kill them from time to time, they lose their fear and are not pleasant.

About 10 years ago, on Edwards AFB, 6 coyotes stalked my daughter while she was walking our Border Collie. Both she and Leila knew full well they were being stalked, but between them they presented enough of a danger to the coyotes that there was no attack - and after 10 tense minutes, they made it back inside the family housing area.

Leila watching our baby around 1999:

46 posted on 11/20/2010 6:37:59 AM PST by Mr Rogers (When an ass brays, don't reply)
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To: Dusty Road; All

Thanks for the input..I figured Freepers would have the straight scoop on this!


47 posted on 11/20/2010 6:48:03 AM PST by roses of sharon (I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

I saw that (ferrule) in the fwd email, didn’t know if it was a Texas thing or what:)

I am up in Mich now, but was born and raised in TX...and had plenty of run-ins with rattlers. My cousin was bit while we were playing in the garden.

Scary stuff.


48 posted on 11/20/2010 6:53:44 AM PST by roses of sharon (I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13)
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To: Borax Queen; Darksheare
*Ahem*

Would a warning really be too much to ask? I mean at least I play Jaws music first........

:-)

49 posted on 11/20/2010 6:58:31 AM PST by Lakeshark (Thank a member of the US armed forces for their sacrifice)
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To: roses of sharon

Some people can smell Rattlesnakes and Water Moccasins before they ever see them. To me, Rattlers smell like licorice candy and Moccasins have a smell like old wet newspapers. I think the snakes use it as a warning if someone is too close.

I have located several that I didn’t see until I started searching after smelling them.


50 posted on 11/20/2010 6:59:59 AM PST by seemoAR
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