Spring, fall and winter have always been preferred over summer……never a favorite. But nowadays spring is on the hot side and rattlesnakes are on the move again. Recently got word of numerous sightings and yes I find it a little alarming. Two years ago my chihuahua was bitten, with fang marks on each side of her ankle. She probably didn’t see the dastardly creature; I sure didn’t. Eighteen years with no snake encounters and all of a sudden they’re everywhere. Kinda in keeping with the times in general I guess.
I recall that June afternoon two years ago as though it was yesterday. Bunny was in her enclosed yard for approximately 15 minutes before appearing at the door with a sausage sized back leg. I thought a spider bit her; rattlers were not on my mind. They should have been: a neighbor’s dog had been bitten several weeks earlier.
We rushed to the vet office where Dr.Felser pointed out it was not a spider bite. Fang marks were evident with venom still dripping from the two holes. The process of saving her was a nightmare. The swelling went down in hours but the extreme pain remained for more than a month. So I’m currently in rattler prevention mode; lots to do!
Rattlers can’t see or hear. They sense vibrations as threat to life so mole repeller stakes have been put in place beneath the ground around the fence line. They are vibing: danger, stop where you are! Now I’m working on this years addition to my snake offensive: Osha Root.
Snakes have an excellent sense of smell. It is their primary sense and one of the odors they hate the most is Osha Root. Native American runners tied Osha Root to their moccasins for protection against the poisonous strike. Sounds like a great idea.
Breaking up the very hard root demands a sharp hacker. The larger pieces are attached to waxed cord and hung from the fence at ground level. Powder and chips are sprinkled along the fence line, dropping down into the dry grass. hopefully it won’t blow away.
Found some tiny, porous medicine pouches to fill with Osha chips and attach to dog halters. I have no idea if this is going to work but I’m willing to try anything. Anything! Which reminds me: activated charcoal is needed to absorb the venom while racing to the vet office. I have the homeopathic remedies ready to go. They were very helpful throughout the first experience.
The snake threat does change the daily hiking experience. Bunny loves to race through the forest of high grass and undergrowth. I cannot allow my fears to restrict our greatest pleasures together. I’ve been hiking with dogs for 16 years with no problems. It takes meditative focus to keep one life threatening experience from ruining our romping about in the great outdoors.
I look forward to that first deep frost in the fall. It means the slitherers will take refuge and my little dogs will be safe once again. Right now I need a soothsayer to cast a radical spell across the land. Seriously.
Thinking about soothsayers reminds me of the ancient Egyptians who called ravenous rattlers demons and made them the guardians of the 12 gates in the after-world. If the demon snakes determined one’s heart impure the trip toward Osiris was ended only to begin anew with the next sunrise in hell. I’m sure snakes were well chosen for the job.