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Posted by DesertDove on April 17, 2003 at 13:53:35:
I live in a very rural area in southern Arizona and have a Mohave who visits every year. This morning I found him inside my back yard. Every year, I wrestle with this problem and I need some input from people who know more about them than I do.
First, my yards are all chain link with hardware cloth along the bottom. This has always worked well to keep the creepy crawlies out of the yards. This morning's visit was my own fault because I hadn't done the usual fence check.
Next, killing this snake is not an option. My own preference is to just let him be. To my way of thinking its up to us humans to take certain precautions and to just watch what we're doing. This has been what we've done for years and haven't gotten nailed yet.
But, husband is terrifed of snakes and I respect that. He won't harm any either - he just wants them away from where he is. He also understands and accepts that various critters are part and parcel of living where we choose to live - out in the boonies.
Problem is that this guy is really aggressive. He's 4+ feet long and unlike most r'snakes, he doesn't move away when threatened. Instead, he turns right around and has even come after me when I've moved him. This morning was the first time I'd seen him this season and I was amazed that he turned from the direction he was headed and came right toward me. I moved him out of the yard without any problem.
Okay, so my questions are.... I have a friend (whom I trust about this issue) who has a friend who wants a Mohave. That's really all I know about this situation and wouldn't allow the snake to be taken by this person until I knew a lot more. So, that's one possiblility.
In the past, I've relocated some snakes but have read this is a sure death sentence. What's the latest thinking on this? And, if I move him, how far do I have to take him?
Finally, this is the only rattlesnake we ever see around the house. We have other snakes - kings, gophers and various night snakes, but I never see another rattlesnake.
I can't help but wonder why this is. Is it because this area will support only one? Or, is this guy just so aggressive he's driven out any others? How necessary is this one snake to to area? How much damage would I be doing if I were to remove him from the ecology? And, how well do they do in captivity?
I don't mind admitting that seeing him in the yard this morning gave me pause. I'm just glad I hadn't let the dogs out to find him before I saw him. Actually, I just kinda wish one of the kingsnakes would do their job and get him. Then I wouldn't have to worry about it. ;)
BTW, the last I saw this snake this morning, he was poking around the wood pile - a little natural pest control. If it weren't for the snakes, we'd be up to our eyeballs in every kind of rodent you can think of.
Any advise is very welcome.