Photo by Miheco (https://www.flickr.com/photos/miheco/)

Went to a fascinating talk on Friday evening by Rolf Williams on Rattlesnakes. Although he focused on his trips to Arizona, he also shoed us examples from other parts of the world. There were some great insights into behaviour and tips on how best to see them – when they are crossing the road.

Photo by Greg Jordan (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gregoryjordan/)

Although their natural instinct is to get away when disturbed and will usually only attack when cornered or when you step on one, Rolf told us of the precautions he takes when he is out trying to photograph rattlers. One big problem is that the places where there are found are often a long way from help or a mobile phone signal if you do get bitten. Despite this, we were also told tales of people who are extremely cavalier in the way they dealt with rattlesnakes and were lucky not to have been bitten and need urgent medical help. Sadly Rolf also recounted the way in which these animals are ill-treated by many people around the world, being used as objects of entertainment or just destroyed for the fun of it.

Classical pre-strike position. Photo by Tod Baker (https://www.flickr.com/photos/todbaker/)
The Rattle. Photo by Penny Meyer (https://www.flickr.com/photos/penmeyer/)
Photo by Don Owens (https://www.flickr.com/photos/regexman/)

A fascinating look at a world of wildlife that most of the time remains hidden as unless you happen to find one crossing a road or accidentally step on one you can pass without ever knowing they were there. Indeed Rolf showed us a video of a woman out jogging (with no protection on her legs) and after she has passed he found a rattlesnake lying in the bush she had just passed. Lucky that she did not misstep as she passed it.

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