This is the diamondback I mentioned in yesterday's post. She was laying like this when Doug and I came walking from the opposite direction, so she was nicely concealed behind the stick and pine cone.
I imagine it was Doug's habit of always scanning the ground for beetles that kept us from walking right up on it. He spotted it and yelled, "Snake!"
My heart stopped when I saw it, not because it was a rattler, that's expected where we were, and we were out of range, but Bear had just walked past it ahead of us.
He had probably passed within a foot or two of the snake's head a moment before. My Doggy Daddy guilt kicked in full speed at that point. While he still had his leash on, I had dropped my end of it and was letting him walk about ten feet in front of us as we talked.
It was about 1:30 pm and the day had warmed considerably after a cool night and morning so the snake was very lethargic, which is probably why Bear did not notice it and the snake did not strike.
In fact, it never made any quick or defensive moves, and did not rattle even when we encouraged it off the trail with a lightly tossed stick.
I think it had just slid out of the palmetto scrub to soak up some heat when we came along.
Reluctantly, it decided to leave it's sunny spot and head back into the covering scrub.
Bear watched it go while I gripped his collar firmly.
It's kind of a panty video and a little shaky as I was holding onto Bear with one hand and filming with the other.
Bear has an amazing sense of smell, yet he walked right past the snake, thank goodness. Had he caught a whiff and investigated before we noticed the snake, this could have gone so bad.
So, a couple of lessons I was allowed to relearn without punishment are:
- Keep control of the leash on the trail ... no cheating in snake country.
- Don't let your spidey senses relax just because you are almost out of the woods. I did that because I was on this wide open sandy trail. When I am off trail, I pick every footfall in snake habitat, but I essentially goofed off on this walk.
All in all, it was a fine day, but the potential for disaster is always there.