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Relocating 920 pounds of trash...and a rattlesnake!

So today was another trip to the dump outside Kingman, AZ. But what made today extra special, aside from freeing the land of another 920 pounds of trash, was our first rattlesnake of the season!

The Sonoran Desert is known for intimidating poisonous creatures. The Alamo Lake area has its fair share of snakes, scorpions and spiders. Luckily these creatures are not out hunting humans. They pretty much just mind their own business. Today we found a rattlesnake who had picked an unfortunate place to call home...the barn we are renovating into a place for humans to gather.

Knowing that I would be out in the middle of nowhere, my parents gave me a gun as a gift. I have spent a LOT of time in the middle of nowhere and I have never needed a gun. Part of me cannot blame them because their daughter has chosen a life in the wilds of the desert. I, on the other hand, purchased a snake grabber like the Parks and Rec people use. It is about six feet long and the handle operates a mechanism on the other end that clamps down firmly on a snake. When the grabber first arrived, I practiced a couple of times on the garden hose, which did not put up much of a fight.

Today I stood staring at the rattlesnake. It wasn't going anywhere fast so I had time to think about it. I pulled out the gun. Pointed it at the snake. I stared at the snake which was now heading towards a wood pile where it could disappear. It looked like a young, 18-inch Mohave green with a distinct pit viper shaped head. Mohave green rattlesnakes are known for their potent neurotoxic and hemotoxic venom. I put the gun down and ran to grab the snake catcher and a large plastic trash can. I just could not get myself to kill the snake. To be honest I have a moral crisis swatting flies.

It turns out that snakes are more delicate and easier to crush than a garden hose. I clamped down a bit too hard at first. I was worried that I had injured the snake. Then I remembered that snakes are a favorite food of birds of prey, and I am sure many a snake has survived the talons of a hawk to tell the story. I dropped the snake gently into the grey trash can and put a garbage bag snug over the top. Ray was the official videographer of the moment!

Mojave Green Rattlesnake

The very scared snake rattled away as we finished out loading the rest of the trash and strapping everything down. Relocating rattlesnakes is also difficult for the snake, and many will not survive if taken too far from their range. Still, a better chance of survival than facing the Taurus Judge 45 revolver. We drove down Love's Camp Road towards Alamo Road until we found a safe spot to release the little guy within the two mile range. Ray shot that video as well.

Although Mohave green rattlesnakes have a venom that rivals some of the most poisonous snakes in the world, the availability of anti-venom makes deaths from the bites a rarity.

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