Goodness Snakes Alive! Unwelcome Visitors at the Bear Cave


One of the exercises in the practice of mindfulness meditation is stopping before an open door and being mentally aware and in the present before passing through. It might well be that this meditation teacher spent some time in the Arizona desert. After discovering a half dozen or so rattlesnakes near the doorways of our buildings, we have become extremely mindful when we pass from inside to outside. At night, a flashlight is absolutely a necessity when outside.

Over the past three years, we have been visited by more than 25 rattlesnakes. While we have seen Banded Rock, Crotalus lepidus klauberi, and Blacktail, Crotalus molossus molossus, rattlers near us, they are typically a little higher in elevation. The scaly visitors that frequent our place are either the Western Diamondback, Crotalus atrox, or the less common and extremely dangerous Mojave, Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus .

     Coiled Diamondback rattlesnake

Western Diamondback on the porch 

The venom of the Diamondback is certainly dangerous, but the neurotoxins of the Mojave make it one of the most deadly critters in North America. As a consequence, we treat these snakes with the respect they deserve. On the other hand, I can’t bring myself to destroy these beautiful creatures unless there is no alternative available. Without our snakes, venomous or not, I am sure we would be overrun with rodents. We have a real abundance of pack rats, kangaroo rats, and a wide variety of ground squirrels and mice. All of which are fine and fun to watch scurry around but only when not overrunning the place. The snakes help us keep some balance with the rest of the smaller wild life here by the Bear Cave.

Snake Capture
 Ready for the capture box! 

Dave Larson
7/30/2011 9:43:46 AM

Hi Cindy, a number of years ago, I had opportunity to drive along the western Michigan shore line. It is indeed a beautiful place. The upcoming months, especially September and October, are my favorites in that part of the world. When we lived in Minnesota, we often drove the north shore along Lake Superior in the fall. Breathtaking colors. Enjoy the fall season for me, too.

Cindy Murphy
7/30/2011 5:29:15 AM

Nope, not the UP, Dave. I'm in the western part of the Mitten, along the shore of gorgeous Lake Michigan, and loving every second of it. Have a great weekend.

Dave Larson
7/29/2011 12:06:18 PM

Hi Robyn, I think you're right about the lack of rodents making the place unattractive to snakes. We have both here - from mice to pack rats - and the snakes love 'em. So it goes - What part of norther AZ are you calling home? Have a great monsoon day! It looks like more very welcome rain here.

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