Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rattlesnake Patrol

10 a.m It's rattlesnake curfew time. I'm off on rattlesnake patrol.

I make sure rattlesnakes are tucked away for their daytime siesta. If I see one, my job is to bark until Papa comes with my pooper scooper. He herds the snake into the scooper and we escort it off property.

Rattlers control packrats, ground squirrels, rats, and mice. Our resident roadrunner, hawks, bull & king snakes control the rattlers.

Rattlers hide in the haybarn, where rodents visit for grain. They also visit horse stalls where packrats cruise for morsels dropped by the horses.

I haven't been vaccinated with the rattlesnake vaccine, so I must be careful. Buzz, hiss, and rattle is rattlesnake language for "I'm gonna bite ya', if you don't stay away." I take a hint.

10:17 a.m. Breaktime. Swing by Soapie's.

Soapie is our resident home dove. She found us after a head-on collision with our dining room window. After hearing a "thud," I discovered her unconscious on the front porch, below the window. With my cold wet nose, and a wet slurp, she came around. Soapie decided to stay and made her home in a front porch planter. Look close, you can see her barely peeking up through the top of the foliage.

Soapie has had 6 "litters" since she dropped in. She is sitting on a litter now.

10:24 a.m. Soapie does her broken wing thang.

Soapie will fly away from her nest, drop to the ground and feign a broken wing, when a predator threatens. Predators see a bird with a broken wing as weak prey and easy prospect.

While she's on the ground flappin', let's see how if her latest eggs have hatched...

Nope, not yet.

10:29 a.m. Break over. Resume rattlesnake patrol.

Rattlesnakes don't want to be around us any more than we want to cuddle up to them. Humans think rattlers attack; it seems the opposite to me.

The bull snake looks similar to rattlesnakes. It is harmless, and I have to be careful not to bark a false alarm to Papa. You won't find rattlesnakes where bull snakes live. Bullsnakes love a good rattlesnake meal.

10:42 a.m. All clear of rattlesnakes--time to return home.

10:43 a.m. This red-flowered barrel cactus reminds me of a fire hydrant. I just have to make sure I don't get too close.

11:00 a.m. I need to report back, toy in mouth, to the CEW (Chief Executive Watchdog).

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