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Sneaky Snake


Don Barnhill

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This snake, a diamondback rattlesnake, was killed a few miles from my home. I don't think the man knows that they are a protected species and he could be fined for killing it. However, it is HUGE.

Don,

 

How unfortunate that your neighbor killed this beautiful creature, fear and ignorance, especially of serpents and spiders cause so many senseless killings. I hope you salvaged the skin, I also hope you realized that the head could bite for hours after being dead. Back when I was stupid (ok stupider) I would occasionally kill a rattler to eat. I would immeadiately remove and thoroughly mash the head. then the skin can be pulled off like a stocking to the anus where it must be carefully caped to the rattles. The inside-out hide is then stretched over a cylinder and rubbed with salt and (I use) saw dust and allowed to dry. The little bit of connective tissue may be removed with friction with the initial application. Something with tannin may also be added. This process can be repeated once or twice. After a few days it may be cleaned, rinsed thoroughly and allowed to dry, then rubbed with glycerine, wiped down and carefully cut down the center of the belly scales. While not truley tanned, I treated the last snake I killed over twenty five years ago this way and it's still in good shape.

 

No it does not taste like chicken. The filet (only the meat, the innards come out in a sort of cellophane vicera sack) of that particular western diamondback "crawled out of the bowl of salted water I was soaking it in and into the other side of a double sink while I was out in the barn cleaning the skin, it did this twice.

 

When I was a kid a snake we killed in the neighbors wood pile did not strike until after the head had been dispatched for over an hour. Had the head been still attached the boy holding the, up to then limp, snake could well have been bitten instead of just blood stained.

 

Thanks for sharing this photo and the one of that beautiful Kingsnake.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tom Finneran

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Hi Don,

 

What a beautiful kingsnake. And, thanks for posting the diamondback rattler. I just finished a walking stick with a snake wrapped around (Yes I know, typical stick carving) and I want to color it. I was going to do a search for the skin pattern tonight. Now I don't need to.

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  • 1 month later...
This snake, a diamondback rattlesnake, was killed a few miles from my home. I don't think the man knows that they are a protected species and he could be fined for killing it. However, it is HUGE.

 

Where do you live that the diamondback is protected?

They aren't protected anywhere in the USA that I know of.

The Timber and Pygmy rattlers are protected in some locations, but the Diamondback is in no way endangered or even threatened.

It is infact a pest in some areas. (Part of this is due to the abundance of rodents around human dwellings. More rodents than would be natural leads to overpopulation of rattlers, which is dangerous for obvious reasons. Especially when you consider that a rattler can strike upwards to a height equivalent to 1/3rd it's length. Which would be somewhere around your navel for the snake in the photo.)

I do know that Texas has been talking about issuing a license similar to the deer and rabbit hunting permits, but that would not apply if it was on his private property. (You can hunt on your own property in most places in Texas, without a tag.)

 

No, I'm not advocating randomly killing rattlers.

I actually keep several snakes and rabidly object to killing snakes, unless they are venomous and so large as to be impossible to relocate to a wilderness area.

 

LJ

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