Saturday, October 22, 2011

Roadkill Rattler Rare Opportunity

The juvenile diamondback rattlesnake in this post was run over directly in front of my driveway entrance last week.

(Not by me.)

It must have happened only a few minutes before I slowed to make my turn, because the tail was still quivering when I knelt to look at it.

That movement faded in the time it took me to grab my Sony out of the JEEP.



While I was sorry to see the rattler had not made it, the situation did allow for a close examination of a snake that would normally be off limits.
Here is the business end.
Diamondbacks are pit vipers, and you can see the heat sensitive pit below, and in front of the eye in the photo above.  At night or in a burrow's darkness, these pits allow the hungry Diamondback to find the mouse, rat, gopher, mole, or rabbit as it hunts.
I'm always fascinated by the layout of scales on reptiles and fish. There are so many shapes, so many patterns to allow for a coat of armor that protects while not restricting movement.
On the dorsal side, the layout is one called disruptive coloration. The Diamondback is not attempting to match the background perfectly. There's too much variety in the landscape for that.

Instead, a pattern of spots, stripes, and geometric shapes "disrupts" the sinuous snaky outline, so that even a large Diamondback can be hard to spot against the background soil and vegetation.
This youngster was just getting started on it's rattler.

The scene above is the entrance to my drive. Behind the JEEP is the paved road where the snake was lying. The snake lover in me was sad to find a rattler killed while crossing the road. This is a species that is becoming increasingly rare in the Southeast.

The dog lover and personal pain avoider in me had to consider that every single morning before dawn and every night before bed, Bear and I walk this long sandy driveway so he can do his "bidness".

On these walks, he is always barefoot and I usually am.

Things to ponder.

After the pictures, I placed the snake deep in the palmettos.



12 comments:

Aunty Belle said...

oooh...eeeeeick.

Ya really know the way to a girl's blogger heart, FC.

Jes' a pop over to see how ya like new school, is it Fall us thar' yet?
Is that medieval fair thang gonna happen again, how's Emma in yore ole school?
Mama and Daddy ok?

Live is fair to middlin'? Purty darn good?

Aunty Belle said...

Wait..youse in Orlando an' ya din't stop to say howdy-do?

Well, it ain't yore Mama's fault--I knowed she done taught ya some manners.

tai haku said...

cool post FC. As chance would have it I also came across a DOR specimen of a beastie you wouldn't normally get too close to this week.

You know you're an addict when even the roadkilled ones fascinate you!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a handsome creature. Love that pattern on it. I am glad tho that I don't live in its territory. My BIL had rattlers in his courtyard when they lived in AZ. Kinda scary.

Joey B said...

During WWII, My grandfather used to catch rattlesnakes in Arcadia for Ross Allen. I believe he was paid $1 a foot at the time, which would have been pretty good money. The other perk was not having his gasoline rationed because his work fell under the Department of Health (because they were used for antivenin).

Floridacracker said...

Aunty,
I looked for you, but all I have to go on is a glimpse of an old cheerleader photo from Uncle's desk.
New school is busy and excellent!
Fall is here, fire in fireplace this am.
Medieval faire in Feb I think.
Emma is in my old slot at the old school and doing great!
Dad fell, has a compression fracture, Mom is amazing.
Sorry I missed ya!


Tai,
Addict is the correct term! Great dolphin shots on your site by the way.


Lisa,
They are definitely a mixed blessing.

Floridacracker said...

Joey,
My friend Kevin did that as a kid. Ross was still around when were kids.

LaDivaCucina said...

Cool post. I likes me some snakes! I got to see a dead rattler that just got run over too, back when I was hiking in L.A. A very fat snake, that rattler. I get sad when I see road kill and would feel conflicted the way you do. I always just hope that the snakes can feel me coming before I see them and startle them.

PS: So cool your daughter has your old possie and is doing well!

PPS: Word verification: CONCH!

LaDivaCucina said...

Cool post. I likes me some snakes! I got to see a dead rattler that just got run over too, back when I was hiking in L.A. A very fat snake, that rattler. I get sad when I see road kill and would feel conflicted the way you do. I always just hope that the snakes can feel me coming before I see them and startle them.

PS: So cool your daughter has your old possie and is doing well!

PPS: Word verification: CONCH!

Thunder Dave said...

Bummer about the snake, but your field trip must have been pretty cool!

Floridacracker said...

La Diva,
So glad to hear that a lovely cheflady has a soft spot in her heart for snakes!

Thunder,
It was neato keen, dude. Neato keen.

creditkeeper said...

You are seriously brave, I couldn't image holding onto one of those but that is a beautiful pattern.