Unlikely Camp Pet
We spent the past weekend at our property in the Texas hill country. While drinking coffee on the porch of our camp Saturday morning, I noticed what appeared to be a snake along the side of our storage shed. Upon closer examination, it was in fact a 5-1/2' non-venomous snake. It was actively hunting, and at a minimum, I figured it would at least rid the area of mice. My general philosophy has been "the only good snake is a dead snake", but for the first time I let this one go in peace.
Sunday morning I started on a walk with my 6 yr old daughter to see if we could catch a glimpse of our blackbuck antelope. Before we had even left the caliche pad our camp is on, my daughter pointed out a snake. It was the same snake from the day before, and it had its head under a pile of scrap plywood that my boys were using as target backstops. They had used 4 of the 8 scrap sheets on Saturday, and Sunday would be spent shooting as much or more than Saturday.
My daughter and I, quickly joined by my wife, watched the snake. Very unexpectly, the head of a young rattlesnake shot out from under the scrap plywood. It struggled for a moment, then disappeared again under the plywood. After a few moments, the original snake (later identified as a Western Coachwhip) pulled his head out and showed a swollen neck and blood-soaked mouth. By then my wife had grabbed a camera and we caught a few photos (hopefully attached). We remained quiet while the Coachwhip moved on and continued his hunting.
My boys would have encountered the small rattlesnake in their course of making target backstops later that day. After the Coachwhip moved on, I moved the remaining scrap plywood to find a pool of blood on the ground. The Coachwhip had eaten the rattlesnake, a venomous snake that could have inflicted, at a minimum, a wound that may require amputation of the bitten digit, especially for a young person.
As unlikely as it may sound, especially for those who know me as a person who not only kills but also eats almost any snake I cross paths with, this Western Coachwhip is now our camp pet and has a pass for life.
Shakey, I thought you were referring to a 5.5 inch snake.
5.5 foot. That gets your attention.
You certainly need a watch dog like that in camp.
Thanks for the education.
What a beautiful animal. We have Virginia black snakes on our property and they are ferocious but gentle predators. The barn never has a mouse or a rat (or bats for that matter), and we have to put barriers under the blue bird nests. But these large (often 5+ feet) creatures are also incredibly gentle. They will bluff and sometimes hiss, but you can not make one bite. We have a huge six footer with a girth larger than my wrist which lives in and around a maple by the driveway. I have picked him up and moved him out of the way at least half a dozen times while he was sunning on the warm asphalt.
We had a nice 4 to 5 foot non venomous snake in the back yard and when i pointed it out to the wife she went ballistic so i had to move it off a ways to let it continue it path...
You should have seen her when i pointed out a 2 year old rattle snake in the neighbors yards...
My father age 92, hates snakes, but he has one in each of his 2 work shops now. Both non-venomous. Say's it will keep the mice down, but wondered, don't they ever need water? He say's it's still tough to lay on the floor with snake hunting in the same room!