by Kristy McCaffrey
WINGS OF THE WEST
|YOUNG RATTLER IN AN APPLE JUICE JAR|
This was apparent when one of our chocolate labs, Lily, encountered a rattler during a walk in the desert. It lay coiled and when she poked her nose at it the snake struck. Luckily she pulled back just in time to avoid a bite. Just as quickly the snake turned and slithered into a bush, rattling it’s pathetic rattle (nothing like in the movies).
My husband and older son often ride motorcycles and quads in the desert and have come across rattlesnakes on the trails several times. Sometimes they can pass but often are forced to turn back. Rattlesnakes tend to enjoy their moments of sunning and simply won’t move unless pressed. In the winter months it’s never a good idea to be out in the desert during the day since the snakes will be warming themselves from the cold night. And during the summer, dusk is a dangerous time since they’ll be out after staying in the shade of a bush for the better part of the day. Initially we had the false impression that rattlesnakes hibernate but have come to learn this isn’t true. They can be out and about year round.
We’ve found big rattlers on our
driveway twice on chilly winter nights, likely soaking up the warmth of the
concrete. My husband has a long metal snake catcher, which he uses to capture
the reptile and then lift it into a large garbage bin. We then load the can on
the back of our pickup truck and drive it to a portion of the desert far from
our house for release.
|KRISTY'S HUSBAND RESCUING|
A RATTLER TO BE RELOCATED
Still, we had one in the backyard
the other day, despite it being completely fenced in. My mother happened to
discover it. As she sat by the pool, reading a book and enjoying a break in the
heat, she heard a low, quiet rattle. She didn’t think it was a snake, but then
noticed that our dogs as well as hers (four in all) had surrounded something
and were on full alert. The snake stood its ground, only because it had to,
against the dogs. She quickly got all the animals inside without incident and
my 18-year-old son wrangled the snake into the garbage bin and sent it on
another relocation program. Maybe if we move enough of them they’ll breed
|KRISTY'S ARIZONA DESERT HOME|
Now, if we could just get rid of the scorpions...
Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn't until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two engineering degrees--she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh--but storytelling was always her favorite hobby. Born and raised in Arizona, and recently returned after a 20 year absence in Pittsburgh, she writes Old West romances to capture the landscapes that were such a big part of her childhood. Her first novel "The Wren" was a CAPA winner for best new author traditional, a Texas Gold finalist, and a HOLT Medallion finalist for best first book. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband,
four children, and two chocolate labs, Ranger and Lily.
All books can be found on Amazon on Kristy's author page:http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kristy+McCaffrey
Posted by: Celia Yeary