Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mr. Friendly

This is a fleeting glimpse of what I was hoping was the last of Mr Friendly, the Bullsnake. I dropped him while giving him the royal escort out from his guest accommodations he had nicely set up in my garage last week. I had him gingerly perched on the end of my calf stick and OFF he slid and slithered behind the trunks........GONE!!

He WAS trying to curl under my dog's cool and comfy bed.. made of old sleeping bags. Well, Miley wasn't about to share her bed..or the garage! So I picked him up (with the broom and the calf stick , yah..I told you we belong in the circus)..and we were on our way out the back door to safer grounds. Mike grabbed the camera and got this blurred picture!
(My camera's battery is broke..I'm waiting on a new one)

Miley, our Queensland Heeler's only job around here is to obey and protect! and BOY!.. does she do her job well! ( awwhh...she's soo smart) The only time we will hear a bark from her is when she letting us know there is a strange intruder about and then when keeping said intruder at bay, "MOM..I've got my eyes on them." She barks at the coyotes every night.

That's how I knew..Mr friendly was back!!! and in the garage! We were eating breakfast this morning, when she sent out her alarm bark. When I stepped into the garage, I was greeted by a familiar hissing! When threatened.... Bullsnakes hiss very loudly and they vibrate their tail! YES, just like a rattlesnake. They have earned their name because of the snorting sound that kind of resembles the noise a bull makes!

Having lived in the sagebrush of Nevada for many years now (and we have a lot of rattlesnakes) .... I do run across these snakes every once in awhile trying to come in to get cool or sunning themselves on the warm concrete. I killed a large rattler on my porch a couple of years ago but I would rather not kill the bull snakes as they are excellent mousers ..... I have even heard of some people keeping them around their barns and under their porches as they will keep the rodent population down. But in my garage....'s a little bit too close for comfort for me! Though, I am hoping Mr. Friendly did a litle bit of mouse cleaning ..or so house cleaning so to speak...while he was a guest here.

These snakes are not poisonous, like the deadly Rattlesnake but when cornered and frightened they will bite.

They are constrictors who kill by coiling around their prey and they eat their victims whole. They eat small animals and are sometimes called gopher snakes. They can grow to 8 feet but average 5 feet and are one of the largest species of snakes found in the U.S. (Do you think my little Pug better watch out?)

Bullsnakes and Rattlesnakes cannot breed with one another and create a hybrid. Rattlesnakes give live birth and Bullsnakes lay 3 to 24 eggs. The females lay them in sandy soil or beneath large rocks or some of the big rocks I have around here. Uhmmm..I saw Miley eating some egg shells the other day??!!!

So this time, Mr. Friendly got the full escort ..out the front and down to those big rocks..HISSING all the way. He was plenty mad at me....maybe this time he'll stay away! Do you think? Mike thinks not.

How do you tell a Bullsnake from a Rattlesnake, you ask?

Bullsnakes have a long, lithe body and a pointed tail.
Rattesnakes have a chunky body and a blunt tail with a rattle on the end.

Bullsnakes have a head and neck that are the same width.
Ratthesnakes have a wide head and a narrow neck.

Bullsnakes have round pupils..Rattlesnakes have vertical slits.

Don't forget Rattlesnakes are poisonous and the venom will kill you..Bullsnakes are not, but both hiss and vibrate their tails. If you hear the hiss of a snake the best thing to do is to slowly back off. The first best thing is to stay away from a rattlesnake!!!! Make sure you know what you are dealing with. There are serious steps you must do if you are bitten by a rattlesnake..but the second best thing is don't panic or run! You will need an antivenom quickly, and when applied in time, it reduces the death rate to less than 4%. So seek medical attention immediately.


Pony Girl said...

Interesting post! That bulls nake, poisonous or not, was scary! And beautiful. Thanks for the tips for distinguishing between the two. I don't think I could live in the desert, with rattlesnakes or tarantulas....yikes! Can one buy antivenom or do health care providers have it on hand if you call 911? How long until one can get sick and die?

prairierunner said...

We have both around here.......I hate snakes but we leave them alone or haul them out somewhere if they get hanging to close. THAT'S TOO CLOSE!

Faithful said...

Pony Girl~ I don't know about purchasing antineom, but calling 911 would be the safest thing to do as they would know how to identify the type snake that bit you by the characteristic of the bite marks and get you the proper antivenom. I know time is of the essence but that you do have time to remain calm and then get help.

I've never ran across a tarantula but I find alot of scorpions and black widow spiders, even in the house! Maybe I should quit going into the garage barefooted!

prairierrunner~ They are not on high on my list of favorites, either, esp. since my brother would try and scare us girls by chasing us with them, that is why I learned not to let my fear show.

little apple tally said...

When I was on the farm, we saw bull snakes but no rattlesnakes at the home place. But they were known to be in the general area and a possibility.
One day a coiled snake was up against a metal tractor scoop.... making a racket. I thought it was a rattler, so took the shotgun to it. The mid-section was completely blown away but the tip of the tail was laying out on the ground..... a bull snake. Oops! He was vibrating against the metal and sounded for the world like a rattler.

Faithful said...

little apple~ were right to shoot as the bullsnakes hiss so loud and their tails vibrate so strongly it's very hard to tell the difference!!! My son and I killed the rattler by shooting it's head off ..a couple of times!!! LOL! ..we didn't want a rattlesnake hangin' around! I remember as teenagers we would always run (sometimes literally) across them on the many dirt roads we traveled whereas sometimes the guys would make a game of playing tag with the snakes under thier trucks, leaving us girls screamimg in the cab.... before we would just drive off and leave the rattlers to their own. What risks kids take!

Joy Heather said... live in a different are so Brave !! the thought of snakes and sorpions, tarantula's and black widows etc..makes me realise how boring (but less dangerous) life is here in boring old U.K. really is...i am in bits if we get a large house spider, and cant sleep untilit is put outside..i have been known to sleep downstairs if there was one in my bedroom & no-one was there to put it out..what a WIMP i am !!!!

Faithful said...

Oh are so delightful! I could never see you or the UK boring in the least, although I never have a dull moment around HERE! Just the fact that you would sleep down stairs away from a spider makes me laugh. That is what makes the world go round!!!
I think fear can be relative to that you have to fear and what a person gets used to being around. Such as.. I think sometimes I have a fear of strangers even tho I know if I would get to know them I always find the beauty in them. So maybe we are looking things the same way?