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Tuesday, June 11 2013


             (warning: some content may not be appropriate for children)

(Note: This is a live snake. He is not in a cage.)

     After Dillon's close call with a rattlesnake two weeks ago we realized that he was in need of some "snake aversion training." (i.e. shock therapy) First and foremost, I want to go on record stating that I hate, hate, HATE the idea of frightening and hurting my dogs for anything, but - long pause - all bets are off where rattlesnakes are concerned.

     I know people who have lost dogs to rattlesnakes. I knew a really stellar German Shorthaired Pointer who just ran PAST a rattlesnake and was bitten in the leg. She died before my brother-in-law could get her out of the field and to the vet. The rattlesnake is the #1 lethal biter when it comes to pit vipers. Those suckers don't play.

     Now you can't sling a dead cat on our ranch without hitting a copperhead, which I have a healthy respect for.

I've killed 6 copperheads without having one dog bitten. The FIRST rattlesnake we saw up here bit Dillon square between the eyes. I don't f*@K with rattlesnakes! And sadly this is not the last snake that will bite Dillon. He is after all, a Labrador Retriever.

     And so it was that as soon as we returned to civilization, we sought an "electrocutioner" for Dillon.

Unfortunately for everyone other canine who makes the regular journey to North Texas, they also had to attend the mandatory Snake Breaker Class. So yesterday we piled four dogs in the truck and headed west.

   The Snake Breaker is an awesome dude. I expected a crusty old rude fart who loved his snakes and simply tolerated dog people in order to bankroll his love of snakes. I didn't expect a fellow police officer with a love of dogs. This guy had almost as many dogs as WE have! Kudos to him too! He's got more balls than Other Half and I have. There is no way on God's Green Earth that I'm gonna keep a cage of 20 rattlesnakes in my back yard.  I watched him do stuff yesterday that would have made me say, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done."

Since this adventure is too long for one post, I'll start with things I learned prior to Dillon's "meet & greet" with another rattlesnake.

Thing 1:

Other Half showed him pictures of our ranch. He guaranteed us that Moss Bluff was crawling with rattlesnakes, even in the winter. He also pointed out something we had already figured out by accident last winter. In our area, snakes do not ever hibernate all winter. They crawl out in the sunny afternoon to get warm and sometimes get caught out of their den by colder temperatures that move in. This leaves sluggish, pissed off, frightened snakes just layin' around for dogs to find. He told us that quite a number of people have reported to him that they lost their dogs because the dogs were bitten by snakes layin' around outside in freezing weather. (even in GALVESTON!)

Thing 2:

We also told him about the pile of discarded tires in the forest where we guaranteed him that he could come collect free copperheads whenever he wanted. He told us that this was the perfect breeding ground for copperheads and even if we burned it (we had no plans to do that) we could not rid that area of copperheads.

Thing 3: (warning: content not appropriate for children)

     Despite the fact that we have poisonous snakes "just layin' around" at the ranch, apparently those little bastards are expensive now because the Asian market is paying $20 a pound for rattlesnake meat. That means a snake wrangler has to pay $20 for a half-pound live rattlesnake for dog training. May I take a moment to ask WHY Asians are paying so much for rattlesnake meat?


      When I asked the Snake Breaker, he said that rattlesnake meat is supposedly an aphrodesiac. Yeah. Right.

     Pardon me for asking, but I'm just curious. What IS it with these guys? How many different species of animals have these Asian market men murdered in some senseless quest for a woody? And do they have such a problem with erectile disfunction that tigers, rhinos, rattlesnakes, and Lord only knows what else must be consumed?  (I'm just askin'.) Trust me, somewhere there is a rhinocerous writing out fake prescriptions for Viagra.

On the other hand, I shouldn't imply that I'm somehow morally superior. After all, I'm a 'snake murderer' myself so who am I to point fingers at guys with weak woodys. (or is that spelled "woodies?")

My attitude toward snakes tends to be:

Non-poisonous = let it go (tip of the hat, "have a nice day to ya."
Poisonous = blow it half with a firearm/cut its head off with a shovel/throw it over the fence
Addendum: If it's a copperhead: apologize to it first before I shoot it. If it's a rattlesnake that has just bitten
my dog, I whisper "Die Mutha F@*!r" and then shoot it. It should be noted that I can go "all ghetto" in some situations. While it isn't ladylike, I no longer apologize for that ugly side of my personality. To use a quote that a friend of mine despises, "It is, what it is."

So back to my inability to feel morally superior to Asian men in search of the perfect woody . . .

Not only do I murder pit vipers on sight, I actively seek out and support people (like the Snake Breaker) who keep rattlesnakes in what must be Rattlesnake Hell, for the mere purpose of teaching stupid dogs not to play with snakes.

So really, who am I to point fingers at Asian men in search of the perfect woody?

Tomorrow we will compare and contrast Rattlesnake Hell with Border Collie Hell. Stay tuned.

Preview: Lily still hasn't forgiven Other Half. And I'm really thankful that I took pictures instead of holding the lead. The dogs still like me.

One Last Lesson before we go: 

While I knew this already, it became painfully apparent when I was downloading pictures last night. It was almost scary.  This is an unedited photo. Just like the camera and the human eye saw it.

 The grass was short. If you had been moving or not actively scanning for snakes you would probably have missed this 3 foot rattlesnake in your front yard. The snake isn't moving.

 Here I have simply increased the contrast on the photo and enlarged it. If you had been walking, you STILL might have missed this snake. In the thumbnail pictures of this series, you cannot see the snake AT ALL. Keep that in mind if you live in North Texas . . .





Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 09:54 am   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
I'm wondering if Briar is one of the 4 dogs getting the snake lessons. Won't they all need to have those lessons before you move north? As long as you don't use the possibly neck/life threatening "yanking on the neck" method, some aversion learning is needed.
Posted by Terri's Pal on 06/11/2013 - 01:29 PM
If is were me, I'd be looking for anyone who would come to the ranch and collect as many Rattlers as they can find. They can have them for free. I have done the snake training with my dogs and while not pretty it does help to keep them safe. I also do the rattlesnake vaccine.
Posted by Jan on 06/11/2013 - 04:34 PM
Can't wait to read the next instalment! I am hugely snake-phobic, don't even like the nonpoisonous ones and am TERRIBLY glad I live in Snake-free Alberta (except Garter snakes..which I never see, WHEW!) but I wouldn't murder a rat snake just for the sin of being something I'm terrified of. None-the-less, from the safety of my computer monitor they do fascinate me and I think snake-aversion training will be an interesting read. And...I see potential opportunity for your new snake-breaker-police friend to obtain snakes at a far cheaper rate and in a mutually beneficial way.... Even rattlers (If he can find it before you can shoot it)? :-)
Posted by AlbertaGirl on 06/12/2013 - 10:06 AM
We took our 3 dogs to the same guy! I am exactly like you in my feelings about giving rattlers "lethal injections of lead" while my other half wants to snare them and transport them elsewhere. My response? Yeah, right. Out where we are, I believe my approach is pure Darwinism -- survival of the fittest. With all the open, uninhabited country around me, any rattler stupid enough to want to live or even cross through my territory full of dogs, vehicles and humans should not live. It would be a disservice to all rattlers to permit such a stupid bloodline to survive.
Posted by TinaG on 06/14/2013 - 11:59 AM
ROTFLMAO!!! Tina, I love your view on Darwinism and rattlesnakes! While I can't blame my snakes at the moment (because humans haven't lived here in a while) once we're there full time, those suckers need to stay away from the cabin! Short grass! Short grass! Short grass! I can see my mower will earn its keep.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/18/2013 - 07:12 PM

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