Wildlife Week: In Which I Encounter Wildlife Where It's Not Supposed To Be Today's Post: Rattlesnake!
Q: Why did the rattlesnake cross the road?
A: To get to the other side.
I'm outside enjoying the breezy 90 degree weather when I see something shimmy on the road. Snake! He's slithered out of S's yard and he's undulating to mine.
"Get back! Get back!" I shout to the seven or eight kids in my driveway; this only brings them closer. "GET BACK!"
I dash into the house, grab my camera, and run past the kids, who are now crouching at the end of the driveway watching the snake serpentine toward them.
"GET BACK!" I shriek as I move closer to the snake. "GET BACK! DON'T MOVE!" Even the snake obeys. I try to play it safe, using distance and telephoto, but then I realize the photo will be blurry should I later zoom in and crop. If I want a close up, I actually have to be close up.
I move in. I'm about five feet away, maybe three, I don't know--it's a rattlesnake, measuring units are not relevant to me at the moment. I snap off about five pictures, whooping and screaming the whole time because as I raise the camera, I lose him in the frame and I think he's moved closer to me, but he hasn't. He's still there, holding his pose--head up, rattle up. I believe my shrieking has convinced him I am a predator.
I take one more shot, then I'm out of there. The snake doesn't move. Neither of us believes we are safe. I make all the kids go into my garage and later, I escort each one home. No one's getting bit on my watch.
This is a pygmy rattlesnake.