domromer wrote:Snakes are a funny thing with me. I think most snakes are bad ass. When I see them I love to check them out and try to take pictures of them. The exception is rattlesnakes. I hate rattlesnakes with an unnatural passion. Living in AZ we have a lot of rattlesnakes, I hike a lot in the desert and pretty much every hike I take I have some sort of shitty rattlesnake experience. Snakes buzzing a foot away from my knee in a wash that my wife just walked through with no problems. So to sum it up I hate rattlesnakes. In fact if it wasn't for bad karma I'd shoot every fucking rattlesnake that I see. Now that being said I've never hurt one and I don't plan on it. But I feel the world would be a better place without them.
Just try and separate from your personal feelings to get some perspective. Poisonous snakes have evolved very successfully over millions of years. Their venom is designed #1 as a means of subduing prey, #2 as means of defense. To many they are beautiful and fascinating. Modern man is a disease of this planet, and poisonous snakes are one of the few things that can still induce fear (one of their greatest pitfalls imo). Poisonous snakes eat rodents, which historically have threatened man in a myriad of ways and caused much more death and destruction than the snakes themselves (plague/other diseases, contamination of food supplies, destruction of property, EATING THE FRUIT FROM MY TREES (personal), etc.
Now lets look at rattlesnakes in particular. I think they are some of the MOST beautiful snakes (look at the Eastern Diamondback and tell me its not beautifully patterned). Unlike cobras, mambas, and many other deadly snakes found across the globe, rattlers have SEVERAL kind adaptations to avoid wasting their precious venom on a non-prey item. First they have heat sensitive pits that basically give them infrared vision. They can sense humans as a large heat source and tend to go the other way as soon as they notice you from a decent distance. They also sense large vibrations which they tend to flee from. If those fail and you get close, they actually rattle and go through a whole string of pre-strike defensive behaviors such as coiling and slowly moving away. It is only when all of these fail that people actually get bitten.
Now there is a mounting body of evidence to suggest that stupid humans are actually affecting the evolution of rattlesnakes. Over thousands of years every other large animal has heeded the rattle as a warning and left the snakes alone, reinforcing and naturally selecting the rattling behavior of rattlesnakes. Loud rattles and loud rattling behavior was successful and the tendencies were passed on. Humans, as the idiots that we are, tend to KILL the rattlesnakes that give us fair warning, and coincidentally leave the more dangerous snakes that lie silent and are not noticed. So over the past couple hundred years of europeans settling this continent we have actually selected the quieter, more dangerous rattlers to survive and pass on their genes. So now rattlers have become more dangerous thanks to our gung-ho, kill happy behavior.
I very much appreciate your refrain from killing rattlers. Hopefully you can come to understand that the world is a BETTER place with them around. If everything that is dangerous to us in the wild is eradicated, there will be no wild places for us to enjoy the beauty and adventure of.