Desert sightings

So, a friend and I were heading to our cars after a gathering when we saw some unidentified small critters go scurrying into a hole in the ground, right near the tire of my car. As my friend moved closer to look, I saw the thing that had set them running: just a couple feet away from the hole, a coiled rattlesnake, tongue flickering in and out, dusty diamond-patterned skin blending with the dirt, only the black-and-white rattles at the end of its tail standing out.

“Turn around,” I told her, in my best calm, non-startling voice. She did, and we both stepped away, until the snake gave up on the critters that had run from it and slithered back into the brush. Rattlesnakes are actually fairly shy creatures, and not very interested in humans–this one was poised to strike, but not poised to strike us, so long as we didn’t startle it.

After 12 years in the desert, this is my first in-the-wild (and not in-the-Desert-Museum) rattlesnake sighting, in spite of having hiked many of the local trails.

It was a nifty thing to see–I can still picture vividly that brown snake, tongue flickering in and out, waiting, but not for us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *