Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Chance Encounter with a Canebrake Rattlesnake

Donna and I went for a buggy ride Saturday (in our modern buggy with windows and air conditioning) and stumbled across this nice specimen: the FATTEST, thickest rattlesnake I've ever seen in the wild. This particular guy is a Canebrake (or Timber) Rattlesnake - otherwise known as crotalus horridus from the latin crotalum, meaning "bell or rattle," and horridus, for "dreadful." As best I could tell the length was somewhere around 4-5 feet. I don't normally get grossed out by snakes but this fellow was so fat that I got a bad case of the heebie-jeebies. All I could think about was how much I wouldn't enjoy stepping on him in the wild. This photo was taken probably less than half a mile from the Texas-Louisiana border (on the Louisiana side.) I learned later that this is a threatened species. This is what the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had to say about the timber rattlesnake: 

Today, every state inhabited by timber rattlesnakes has laws protecting the species, including Texas. In Texas, it is listed as a threatened species. This means that people cannot take, transport, have in their possession or sell timber rattlesnakes. 

After snapping two quick pics, we drove past the snake and let him go on his merry way. Of course, next time I set food in a wooded area I'm definitely going to think about this big guy prowling around in the undergrowth!