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Rattlesnakes

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  • Rattlesnakes

    This is turning out to be a bad year for rattlesnakes around here. My hubby has caught & relocated several & the barn crew has killed some. One of our dogs & our cat were both bitten. The dog out on trail, the cat around the house. Needless to say, we've been looking for King snakes (who kill & eat rattlers) to help with the problem. We finally got one & his first shed is now under the porch steps - rattlers know where there's sheds, there are Kings & we're not going to tell them different.

    One of our daughters comes up to the house now & then to handle him, so he's pretty tame. She was talking to a couple of reiners who come down periodically to school before the NRHA shows we have here & she was commenting about all the rattlers this year; they said they have none. She asked them how that could be, as they live in an area that usually has a major problem & so she asked them if they had any King snakes. They said they didn't know, so she showed them a pic of ours & they said they had them all over their place. No wonder they don't have rattlers! So they're going to try & catch one for us since they seem to have more than their share. Anybody else with rattlers gone wild this year?
    suze
    http://www.cafepress.com/horses_by_hawk

  • #2
    I don't, but I just wanted to say good on you for letting the system work the way its supposed to !
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
    We Are Flying Solo

    Comment


    • #3
      They are in my area but I've never seen any. We also have Copperheads and Water Moccasins; I don't know if their ugly presence keeps the rattlers away?

      We have Black Snakes, who are mighty hunters. Between them and the cats, the rodent population is low, so the only place I see the viper snakes is at the bottom of the road by the creek.

      At least I hope that's where they all are. Yet another reason we are so anal about keeping this place bush hogged

      I grew up in Timber Rattler country and learned from the old timers to keep half inch garden hose handy and to carry cut pieces when I went trail riding.

      Horses can't breath thru their mouth. If they get bit in the face their air passages will start to swell shut.

      The purpose of a cut piece of garden hose is to put one in each nostril so they don't swell completely closed and can still breath.

      Length of hose inside the horse's nostril depends on head size. With my Walking Horses, the vet said I would be safe with 8" - 10" max.

      I used to keep a set slathered in Vaseline in a zip lock bag, when I went trail riding. Thankfully they never came out of bag.

      I forgot about King Snakes -- Kudos to you for not being terrified of snakes and bringing one home.

      One? and what is a shed that a rattlesnake would recognize it as the home of a King Snake?

      I remember about King Snakes keeping Rattlesnakes at bay, once you mentioned it, but I don't know about the sheds

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow, thks for the info about the garden hoses!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree, thanks for posting that, I forgot to write that one! Horses who die of snakebite, generally do so because of suffocation, NOT due to venom (they are a lot bigger than mice). If you can protect the airway, in nearly all cases, horsey will live to ride another day.
          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

          Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
          We Are Flying Solo

          Comment


          • #6
            I know a thing or two about venomous snakes. And some species of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake found west of the Rockies have a very potent venom that affects the nervous system as well as doing large amounts of tissue damage. That can intensify the problem of just having them around.

            X2 on the OP's sensible approach to snakes and using their natural predators to combat them when possible. The other side of that coin is to eliminate the rattler's food supply. Vermin control around the barn and paddock is paramount in that effort. Eliminating piles of lumber, junk, vacant and seldom used sheds also deny snakes shelter. Fields and pastures are a different ball of wax though where vigilance and caution should prevail.

            One thing that does repel snakes effectively is mothballs that contain naptha. Snakes "smell" with their tongue and detect elements by the molecules carried on dust particles in the air. The problem with mothballs is they degrade very quickly in an open air environment... and they make everything smell like Grandma's attic. But they're fairly cheap to replenish on a regular basis.

            I've only had to relocate two rattlers in the past 10 years living in Florida. But if the problem ever approached the level the OP indicates, I would not hesitate to introduce a scorched earth policy on them in any area occupied by humans and livestock. But do so carefully. Most instances of human snakebite occur while the person is trying to capture or kill the snake. ~FH
            "Anything done in anger is abuse. Proper correction and reprimand are done in silence with thoughtful intent. Your horse knows the difference." ~FH

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Gonna add mothballs, thanks. And the garden hose idea for horses is great - thanks for that too,. Both the dog & the cat survived, thank goodness, although they did spend a couple days at the vet. Latest snake sighting . . .

              My hubby a zookeeper & right now it's open late; he doesn't leave until after 8:30, so I was expecting him to call last night that he was on his way home. Instead it was a call from one of our daughters that he was on his way to her house. She had a Southern Pacific IN THE HOUSE!! Their bite is bad, as they inject a neurotoxin along with the poison & there's no antivenin for neurotoxins. She lives in a very rural area & she usually leaves her front door open when it's hot so her dogs can wander in & out between the fenced yard & the house.

              The snake was by her shoes under the end table at the end of her couch - she says she must have walked by it several times. It had to have come in past her old dog laying by the door. She grabbed her other dog, went out the door & called her dad immediately.

              He has lots of rattlesnake knowledge & experience handling them, so he carefully picked it up & killed it. No way to chop it where it was. Not the first Southern Pacific we've seen this year, which is troubling.
              suze
              http://www.cafepress.com/horses_by_hawk

              Comment


              • #8
                Read labels on snake repelling products. Many contain mint. Mint is invasive. IMO, invade away! No mouse or snake problem (knock on wood!) 2 years running. Planted peppermint & spearmint. Smells great when I mow.
                "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post

                  I grew up in Timber Rattler country and learned from the old timers to keep half inch garden hose handy and to carry cut pieces when I went trail riding.

                  Horses can't breath thru their mouth. If they get bit in the face their air passages will start to swell shut.

                  The purpose of a cut piece of garden hose is to put one in each nostril so they don't swell completely closed and can still breath.

                  Length of hose inside the horse's nostril depends on head size. With my Walking Horses, the vet said I would be safe with 8" - 10" max.

                  I used to keep a set slathered in Vaseline in a zip lock bag, when I went trail riding. Thankfully they never came out of bag.
                  There was a story a while back about two toddlers who got into vaseline and inhaled some of it somehow. They died after days in the hospital because the doctors had no way to get it out of their lungs.

                  I've heard about the hose as well, and thought about a lubricant, but was worried about vaseline or oil after hearing that story. What do the vets use? Maybe it comes down to quantity? Is there some water soluble lubricant? Does it matter?

                  I think I have it wrong; it was baby oil, which makes much more sense -- how could you inhale Vaseline?? Here is a snopes.com summary of two cases. The case I saw was on some news program a few years ago, so it may have been a different tragedy:

                  http://www.snopes.com/horrors/parental/babyoil.asp


                  .
                  Last edited by PeteyPie; Jul. 25, 2013, 04:33 AM. Reason: Add info
                  "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    *gasp* FH pops up on COTH! Hi there!! See you back over on ES!

                    Carry on, snakiness.

                    Oh, Petey, I have never heard of anything like that, I would have to investigate the veracity of such a case. Vaseline is very commonly used on and in the nostrils of show horses with no ill effects that I know of and horses are much bigger than toddlers.

                    Were you concerned about that or concerned about children sniffing your hoses?
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                    We Are Flying Solo

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good grief, solo! There's just no hiding from you! I've been lurking here for years.

                      Ditto on no problems with Vaseline used in small quantities. I have even used a small dab of Vicks Vaporub on a gelding's nostril to stop goofy behavior around mares in heat. But if you're concerned, substitute a lubricant that is not petroleum based and is absorbed by surrounding tissue. KY jelly for example. Also, if needed, do not insert the hose so far into the nostril it cannot be retrieved.

                      Actually, lubricant for the small pieces of hose for a snakebite emergency is hardly necessary. I've assisted vets tubing a choked horse that used no lubricant at all going through the nostril all the way down the horse's throat. Just keep the airway open any way you can. ~FH
                      "Anything done in anger is abuse. Proper correction and reprimand are done in silence with thoughtful intent. Your horse knows the difference." ~FH

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hahaha, I've got two years on you! Ahem, sorry, peoples, carry on.
                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                        We Are Flying Solo

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by suze View Post
                          ... She had a Southern Pacific IN THE HOUSE!! Their bite is bad, as they inject a neurotoxin along with the poison & there's no antivenin for neurotoxins. She lives in a very rural area & she usually leaves her front door open when it's hot so her dogs can wander in & out between the fenced yard & the house.

                          The snake was by her shoes under the end table at the end of her couch - she says she must have walked by it several times. It had to have come in past her old dog laying by the door...
                          YIKES! That's a bad one!

                          OK. I initially hesitated to discuss another anti-snake option because it can increase the opportunity for confrontation with them. But since you and your DH have apparent snake savvy, try this. A snake trap.

                          For good sized diamondbacks I'd use an 8' section of 2" diameter PVC pipe with a cap and air holes drilled in the end. Cut the pipe about midway and insert a section of clear lexan tubing so you can see if there's anything in your trap. Place the trap or traps along the foundation of the building where it meets the ground. Snakes usually follow a solid wall looking for openings that are inviting to vermin. And that's what the hole at the end of the PVC looks like. Once they go in they're stuck because they cannot back up if they can't purchase leverage with their tail, so the pipe has to be long enough to contain the entire snake. Dry fit all pipe fittings. Don't use any glue or solvent since the chemical odor might actually repel the snake.

                          Another twist to the snake trap design is to feed the pipe into a box with a wire mesh screen on top. But that will require the addition of a small hinged flap at the pipe entrance to the box so the snake cannot turn inside the box and exit.

                          Installing a doggie door at your daughter's house would be more prudent than leaving the door open. Under the doggie door install a piece of inverted U-shaped metal that will help to reject an inquisitive snake from climbing up through the entrance.

                          I don't know how close you live to the CA wildfires but that will push snakes far from their natural habitat too. But snake traps do work quite often. Just make sure they're not accessible to children or others who don't know what they are. It might be a good idea to label them and paint them orange. ~FH
                          "Anything done in anger is abuse. Proper correction and reprimand are done in silence with thoughtful intent. Your horse knows the difference." ~FH

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            A dog door will have to be cleared with the landlord, but I love the trap idea. I'm going to print it out, thanks. No kids, which is good. We've seen, caught, killed small ones as well as large, so maybe we should do some with a smaller diameter, too.

                            We aren't close to the fires this time - but even when we were it was never this bad. It's compounded by the fact that we both live on boarding stables, although different ones. We have rattlesnake food running around like crazy; rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice are all fat & numerous. Fat enough that my hubby wouldn't trap any here for his Harris hawk - too much fat on them.

                            The cat was bitten by a South Pacific, so he was pretty touch & go, but the vet said most cats survive better than dogs and humans. So we have those plus both Red Diamonds and Western Diamonds. We live in an area that should be desert and the hills around us are scrub, so plenty of game for snakes.
                            suze
                            http://www.cafepress.com/horses_by_hawk

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by suze View Post
                              ... Fat enough that my hubby wouldn't trap any here for his Harris hawk - too much fat on them...
                              DH is a falconer! Bravo! I tried to dabble in falconry back in the 70's under the tutelage of Jim Fowler (Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom). But the required permits in PA gave the USDA and PA wildlife police just another reason to pop in and "inspect" more often with all the other exotics we had on display. And with all the duties maintaining the exhibit I really didn't have the time to properly devote myself to the sport.

                              BTW- Love the falconry items and the disclaimer on your web site ~FH
                              "Anything done in anger is abuse. Proper correction and reprimand are done in silence with thoughtful intent. Your horse knows the difference." ~FH

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                                *gasp* FH pops up on COTH! Hi there!! See you back over on ES!

                                Carry on, snakiness.

                                Oh, Petey, I have never heard of anything like that, I would have to investigate the veracity of such a case. Vaseline is very commonly used on and in the nostrils of show horses with no ill effects that I know of and horses are much bigger than toddlers.

                                Were you concerned about that or concerned about children sniffing your hoses?
                                No, I was concerned about children sniffing my horses.
                                "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by suze View Post
                                  A dog door will have to be cleared with the landlord, but I love the trap idea. I'm going to print it out, thanks. No kids, which is good. We've seen, caught, killed small ones as well as large, so maybe we should do some with a smaller diameter, too.

                                  We aren't close to the fires this time - but even when we were it was never this bad. It's compounded by the fact that we both live on boarding stables, although different ones. We have rattlesnake food running around like crazy; rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice are all fat & numerous. Fat enough that my hubby wouldn't trap any here for his Harris hawk - too much fat on them.

                                  The cat was bitten by a South Pacific, so he was pretty touch & go, but the vet said most cats survive better than dogs and humans. So we have those plus both Red Diamonds and Western Diamonds. We live in an area that should be desert and the hills around us are scrub, so plenty of game for snakes.
                                  Skeeeery!

                                  Thank goodness I haven't seen any at my house.
                                  "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

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