Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shake, Rattler, Roll

Last weekend, my daughter and I went camping in Thurmont to count rattlesnakes.  Yep, you heard me right.  We INTENTIONALLY sought out rattlesnakes...on purpose...INTENTIONAL...really.  

Yep, countin' these things.
I have to admit--people look at me weirdly when I tell them that I really don't mind snakes.
  And these rattlers really were pretty chilled out.  Well, most of the time.  As long as we didn't get too close, I didn't even see most of the 10 that we saw even glance our way.  Some of them rattled, making a nice little rhythm that we could've danced to, but most of them really were fairly docile.  The rattlesnake biologist who was with our group said that timber rattlers (the kind in Thurmont) are really pretty calm and rarely bite...unless of course you step on them.  And even if you are bitten, most of the bites are "dry bites," meaning that they don't inject their venom into you.  Comforting thought.

Hey, Indiana, this wouldn't have happened if you were counting timber RATTLESNAKES.

No, I was not one bit afraid of our friends under the rocks.  I was more afraid of CLIMBING said rocks.  I'm not a big "heights" person.  I can fly in airplanes.  I can take escalators.  But if you get me on a rocky cliff where I might fall to my certain death, I am a bundle of nerves.  Oh , our group leader tried to comfort me with, "Most injuries are just broken ankles."


So I was extremely...extremely, careful, and went slowly on said rocks.  As a result, I only got to see 6 of the 10 snakes.  However, BECAUSE I was so careful, I actually FOUND one of them myself!!!  No, I didn't fall on it.  So, slow and steady DID win the race...or at least found a venomous rattlesnake.

Overall, it was an awesome and awe-inspiring experience.  The purpose of the trip was to document the early emergence of the snakes, since we had an early spring.  Climate change at its best--snakes out earlier than expected.  But we found other types of snakes and saw a lot of frogs and other signs of nature.  Reminds me that this world isn't just ours alone, and we have some pretty cool creatures out there.  Plus, I was able to bond some with my daughter, and that is well worth the dangers of snakebites and rolling off the rock cliff.
See?  We're smiling!  The snake...not so much!

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