Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Interesting Wildlife Sighting in the Adirondacks

Will write more later now that we're back from our trip to the Adirondacks. And of course, it's Baxter's turn to do a news update. But I just wanted to show you what we came across right on the side of the road that goes past our property up near Lake George.

We first came across him while we were walking the dog and saw him when he was coiled up and he looked mostly black with a few goldish X's on him. But later we drove back to take another look, and he had uncoiled. And you can clearly see, on the end of his tail...a rattle. Yes, he (or is it a she?) is a timber rattlesnake.

They are supposed to be endangered. Apparently not in our neck of the woods. We read that their range extends up into the southeastern Adirondacks - which happens to be where our cabin is located. Looks as if we'll need to be a little more careful when we walk around in the woods! We had tromped all through this area a couple of months ago putting up "Posted" signs. Luckily we lived.


Christopher said...

We were talking about snakes and New York the other day. No one in our dinner group knew if there are rattlesnakes here.

Last year, there was a black bear sighting in the suburb of Henrietta. The homeowners filmed the critter foraging for food in the trash can and then crawling up on their deck.

If I took Ginger out to pee at 11:30PM before going to bed and encountered a bear, I would freak out.

Annette said...

We forget when we get in the wooded areas that we are in their area not ours...and we are then interlopers. That is their land...we are just visiting.

Life As I Know It Now said...

I think snakes are more afraid of us then we are of them and they try to stay out of our way. We make so much noise that it is usually easy for them to avoid us.

LeftLeaningLady said...


Luck was definitely with you! I hate snakes!

Randal Graves said...

Rattlesnakes, now that's good eatin'! (I kid, I'll stick with dead cow parts, thanks)

Billie Greenwood said...

What a closeup! And it's living--not dead? Whew, glad you made it out alive!

Mauigirl said...

Christopher, I'm still waiting to see a bear up there in the woods. I'm sure that will be next! However, we have them in suburban New Jersey prowling around the malls in Wayne, NJ some of the time! I haven't seen one myself though!

Annette, you are so right. And he was not looking for any trouble - never rattled his tail. Just was looking to see what we were doing. We were in the Jeep taking pictures, well out of his way!

Liberality, exactly. As long as we didn't bother him in any way he was not looking for trouble.

LeftLeaning Lady, I have no desire to get any nearer to him but I actually think he's kind of beautiful. Luckily I am not that grossed out by snakes. But roaches? Eeeew.

Randal, I don't think I've ever had rattlesnake meat (I have tried alligator down in New Orleans though). I think because of their endangered status it isn't likely in the near future either!

BE, yes, quite alive! Luckily we have a great zoom on our camera lens. We weren't as close to him as it appears and the Jeep is pretty high off the ground - we took the pix out of the window. The ones we first took of him coiled up with my husband's cell phone were probably a bit more foolish on our part! I think he was standing in striking distance! But that was before we knew he was a rattlesnake! I kept the dog well away and kept my distance though!

Mauigirl said...

Um, that is, we took the pictures with the cell phone, the snake wasn't coiled up around the phone! :-)

Dorothy said...

Here in Western New York suburb of Buffalo we've had several coyote sightings and black bear I won't walk anywhere I can't take shelter lately because three bear have been killed on the roads nearby as they ran in road. It's very scary especially if your a scaredy cat like me and the snake OMG I'd would have started to cry...

Dorothy from grammology

Fran said...

I understand the most lethal are the baby & small snakes-- they don't gauge their venom baby snake bites use all the venom they've got.

Better keep a good snake bite kit @ the cabin & brush up on snake bite first aid for you & the dog.

Mauigirl said...

Dorothy, I haven't seen any coyotes or bears up there...yet. However, I've seen coyotes up at Cape Cod and understand they are being sighted here in NJ too. Another reason I don't let my cat outside!

Fran, interesting about the baby ones, I didn't know that. I was reading up on them and understand that they bear their young live and they come out self sufficient from day one! And probably right now is when they are gestating so later this summer is when the young ones will be around. I'm definitely going to get that snake bite kit! Luckily our cabin is surrounded by a clearing so you can easily see if there is anything right around there. But the woods are another story. I like to go bird watching and unless I'm actually in the woods it's hard to see the birds I'm looking for!

giggles said...

Oh COOL!!!! (From THIS vantage point, anyway!!)

Loren said...


It's a good thing when they rattle as it's warning you to stay away (because they're afraid of you.)

Actually, you probably need to be more worried about the dog than yourself, since dogs often don't have sense enough to stay away from something moving in the grass,

Snake bite kits probably a good idea for both you and the dog.

Odds are seriously against getting bitten, though, and I grew up in serious rattlesnake country.

Mauigirl said...

Giggles, I kind of feel the same way. I'm excited about "our" rattlesnake. But sensibly wary too of course.

Loren, I agree, it's the dog I'm most worried about. Luckily where we walk her is a gravel roadway and I am careful to look first before I ever let her go anywhere off the road, even on the margins. Now I'll have to be extra careful, especially until we get a snake bite kit.

And no more wandering directly into the woods with her as we've done on occasion!

Christopher said...

Dogs and snakes are a potentially lethal pairing.

If Diva encountered a snake like this and thought she could play with it, she could get bitten and then you guys would have to rush her to the emergency vet.

I don't even know if snake venom antidote works on dogs? Does anyone know?

Mauigirl said...

I don't know, am hoping to have some time this weekend to do some internet searching about it. And of course we can ask our vet. Especially since I don't even know where the nearest emergency vet would be to our cabin!

D.K. Raed said...

Having lived for 25-yrs in rattlesnake country, I can tell you for sure it is mostly kids and dogs who get bit. Oh, and idiots who try to "play" with the snakes.

But seriously, if your dog (or cat) is bitten, you need to immediately call your vet. Antivenin cannot be stored for very long, so most vets do not have a big supply. If they are out of fresh, they will refer elsewhere, usually an emergency clinic. You still need to call ahead there to make sure they have enough on hand. It's very scary because time is of the essence. While you're calling & rushing to doggie E.R., someone needs to keep the dog calm, attempt to raise the extremity that was bitten (hopefully a leg, not their face), bind it above the bite, if possible. The dog may go into shock, so have blankets and know how to administer CPR if they stop breathing. The clinic might have other advice (like ice).

Sometimes you won't even know a pet has been bitten, you'll just find them semi-conscious, salivating & swelling up. Always suspect snake-bite and look for the twin fang marks as you rush them into E.R.

Take the time right now to look up the nearest doggie ER so you'll have their number handy. In fact, I would even call them now to find out what their procedure is for this particular type of snake. It's no sure thing that antivenin will save a dog, though a bigger dog is more likely to survive.

Many rattlers are agressive and do NOT always rattle first (for instance, they don't rattle if they are taken by surprise as you step on them!). They are dangerous even after death (they can still bite & their fangs still carry venom). And Fran is right, the babies are more dangerous, but really all vipers should be given wide berth. If you find one on your property, the best thing to do, if you can, is cover them with a big garbage can or bucket (so they don't escape) and call the fire department. They will remove & relocate far away from people. Second best thing involves death of the snake. Being an animal lover, I hate to say this, but a venomous snake near your home is a tragedy waiting to happen.

I have found diamondbacks, big and small, coiled up around my garbage cans, inside the garage under my car, inside our dog kennel curled around the dog's water dish, hiding next to an outdoor sprinkler valve, slithering just outside my patio glass door, coiled near landscape rocks ... basically everywhere except under my bed. One of my dogs once chased one up a steep hill. Fortunately that particular snake was not feeling agressive & found a gopher hole to slither into.

ps, I don't have a snake phobia. I know they do much good in keeping the rodent population down. I just think everyone should know more about venomous snakes.

Mauigirl said...

Wow, D.K., thanks for the excellent advice. You're right, I should find out where the nearest vet is, something I'd been meaning to do but hadn't felt the urgency until now.

One good thing: The cabin itself has a large clearing around it; only behind the cabin are there woods directly nearby. This snake was about 1000 feet up the road at the very end of our property. Naturally that doesn't mean there aren't some a lot closer.

The other good thing: We never let our dog off the leash except when she's out on the deck, which has gates that lock. So we are always in control of what she is doing. We'll have to be even more aware though and no more sniffing miscellaneously along the side of the gravel road we walk her on until we inspect it carefully. But even that is just a precaution - you're right, I need to learn more and find out about the vet's advice. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

That must be pretty scary having them around so much. Here they are endangered so I was surprised to actually see one. I think we're legally not supposed to kill them but I don't know how anyone would find out. However, I am definitely going to talk to some local people about the situation and see whether there is a relocation program or something. My fear is this is just the tip of the iceberg - there could certainly be more of them!