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Rattlesnakes are out! In PA anyhow.

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  • Rattlesnakes are out! In PA anyhow.

    Rode in the Tuscarora Mountains yesterday, absolutely beautiful weather. Sunny and mid 70s. We were heading down a logging type trail when the lead horse spooked and shied off to the right, tossing her rider up on her neck. She got her stopped and slid off about 20 feet further down the trail and that's when we heard the telltale buzzing noise! Luckily, it was coming from about a third of the way up the bank on the left. It was about a 4 foot yellow phase rattlesnake that hasn't shed yet. Camouflaged perfectly in the leaves. The next horse passed by a little nervously but brave (about 10 feet from snake)...third horse, me, my gelding just beebopped right by (again, 10 feet away) while it was rattling rattling rattling...the last horse needed to be pushed past. Then we got off and took a few pictures ;-) Watch your step!

  • #2
    Okay I want your horse, or his clone.


    • #3
      I was riding with lawndart last year and my horse is leading. The trail isn't real wide and has lots of ferns right up to the edges. I heard this noise I thought was a little stream down amoung the ferns to my left. Next thing I hear behind me is "Go Nikki GO!!!". Send into a quick trot and off we go. Oops not water- rattlesnake. There are no rattlesnakes in my area of PA so I had never heard one before and apparently neither had Finnegan.

      In some ways I was kinda bummed I didn't get to safely see it from a distance and only heard it. OP at least got a neat picture.

      We got to see bear tracks on that trip too. None of those where I normally ride either.
      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


      • Original Poster

        Jody- my horse is the biggest dork, but he's so good ;-)
        SonnysMom- you need to ride in South Central PA! We've got bear, rattlesnakes,copperheads, eagles,foxes,coyotes,porcupines, deer, turkey, and that's all just in my backyard lol- just about everything you can imagine (and some you don't want to!)


        • #5
          LOL! I'm guessing Gem didn't even notice it- if any horse was going to get bit by a snake for being oblivious it would so be him
          "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
          So you might as well have a good time"


          • Original Poster

            He had his head turned towards the noise but I think he was wondering if someone was shaking grain in a can lol


            • #7
              Lovely snake, glad everyone was safe! Glad there was room to pass, and interesting that the horses were nervous that far from the snake. That first horse had quite a reaction! I haven't had my horse even notice the rattlesnakes, though I wish he would! Maybe my horse is just dumb (a complete option) or used to it. We do encounter quite a few every year.

              This year we encountered the first one (description here) in the beginning of April, trotting along single-track, cliff below, hillside above, heard that telltale buzz from the rocks just above the trail, just asked for a big trot out of there! Makes my heart race for sure!

              I think you have a different type of rattlesnake than we do out here in the Sierras. (Timber Rattlesnake, which has the awesome scientific name of Crotalus horridus, we have Pacific Rattlesnake (not an fun names of Crotalus oreganus). Both are scary!
              "Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty



              • Original Poster

                The first horse was probably only about 5-6 feet away from the snake and they are pissy right now, looking for their first big meal of the year. It rattled and I think it was the sudden noise that upset that horse, the second- a younger Arab was a bit nervous cuz the snake kept rattling...my horse associates rattling with food lol and the last horse, the rider was very nervous by then and it transferred. One ride that I wasn't on last year, a rattlesnake somehow ended up on top of the brush and sort of slithered chest level right by them....THAT would have freaked me out lol. This one was a few weeks earlier than we were expecting but when I went on the forestry website they had just posted about seeing a ton of them. Tis the season ;-)


                • #9
                  Did you know that even in winter, if the temperature is high and the ground is not frozen (yes I've lived in PA), that snakes come out of hibernation and look for food? The cooler the weather, the more sluggish they are.

                  Isn't there a snake expert on Coth? She, 2jakes I think, can give you information on snake behavior.


                  • #10
                    When it floods, or rains a lot, snakes come out of hiding. You should see Louisiana after storms. Snakes swimming for high ground.


                    • Original Poster

                      Ewwww, snakes swimming or snakes in trees really bother me!!!
                      Tidy- yep, they can be out at odd times of the year but it was awfully early for us to see a rattlesnake on that trail. We ride there all year round and are generally not too worried from about December till May. We do moonlight rides there ;-) Here's the Facebook page of the forest, the day they posted the pic of their rattler is the day we saw ours. It's a great place to ride.


                      • #12

                        I was trail riding in Wyoming once on a led trail ride while on vacation and we were going up a dirt road near some rocks when I heard a noise and I was like what the heck is that? Then I saw a very small rattle snake, first and only one in the wild that I have ever seen. Horse wasn't even phased by it and passed really close to it.

                        I'm glad that I have not seen a rattle snake on any of my trail rides here in NH
                        Missouri Fox Trotters-To ride one is to own one

                        Standardbreds, so much more then a harness racing horse.