Springtime in West Texas

Spring means different things to different people, but to quite a few folks in this part of the country, it means time to start watching out for rattlesnakes.

Take the fellow in Abilene (a couple of hours northeast of here), for example, who was using a forklift to clean up Patterson Drilling’s yard. He picked up a pit* liner and immediately set it back down, phoned the office and said “we need some men with shotguns.”

According to the report, they killed 62 rattlers…but as many got away as they shot.

Photo of dead rattlesnakes in Abilene, Texas

Now, I’m all in favor of live and let live when it comes to giving the occasional slithering reptile the freedom to keep the place free of rats and other vermin, but nobody needs twelve dozen rattlesnakes.

*Gives a whole new meaning to the term “pit viper,” doesn’t it?

Tip o’the hat to MLB who also expressed an ever-so-slight bit of sympathy for “the poor poisonous little guys.”


  1. Ok, see…THIS is what the FOLDY things were designed for. Lest unsuspecting little bloggers trip merrily over to the Gazette to finally be able to listen to Fire Ant Theater…and what do I see? My WORST nightmare.
    My people will be calling your people if I’m unable to sleep tonight.
    I now remember why it is I didn’t want to move back to the Southwest.

  2. Spiders I can handle. I don’t like them, but I can handle them.
    Howard Dean…well, you have a point. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Howard Dean IN the above picture. I might even be able to look at the snakes in that case…wonder who’d win?
    Ok…working on getting a grip. But the fear is pathological to the point of hyperventillating and passing out in the reptile house when trying to conquer my fear at the urging of others. 🙂

  3. Beth, I’m sorry…I’ll try to be more discreet with future postings of icky pics. Telling someone with a pathological fear to get a grip isn’t particularly helpful.

  4. Nah – your blog, your rules. 🙂 But thanks. I actually have just given the picture another good look (better in the daylight) and am reminded of the family story of some Oklahoma ancestors who had to step fairly quietly as otherwise their would be a rattling ruckus from beneath the house – apparently their crawlspace had been coopted by the critters. They were, however, mouse free. So, everything serves a purpose, I suppose. 🙂

  5. Beth:
    Let me commend your bravery for actually going in to the reptile house and trying to overcome your pathological fear. I’ve never be able to get the lovely Mrs. Smith inside the herpitarium(?) at the Fort Worth Zoo. She stands outside while I take the kids in to look around.
    Speaking of the Fort Worth Zoo (a must see attraction if you’re ever in the Metroplex by the way), I remember years ago, attending a talk by one of the snakehandlers from the zoo. He said that rattlesnakes’ reputation for being ill-tempered is much deserved. According to him, unlike virtually ever other animal on the planet, a rattlesnake will strike out of shear meanness.

  6. The other interesting thing about rattlesnakes is that they are among the world’s fastest strikers. There’s a good reason “snake charmers” in India use slow-moving cobras instead of rattlers for their acts (well, besides the fact that there are no rattlers in India).

  7. Just yuck at the sight of these reptiles and snakes. Very terrifying. Can’t handle them. If this is the spring time then who wants it. Spring time is so beautiful and lovely. And this one is just the opposite of it. These creatures r so crippy!

  8. I lived in India as a kid, we had snake charmers come out to the house to round-up spare cobras. Usually a few showed up that we had NO idea were there – they’re not fast but stealthy. The last of the really BIG hamadrayad cobras were killed-off in the 1880’s, saw a twenty-five foot skeleton of one in an old museum up in the Hill-Country. Cobras can only stand as tall as roughtly one quarter of their body length, the rest of their mass being required to sustain the height – still five feet tall is looking you straight in the eyes on a jungle trail…

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