Saturday, September 5, 2020

Brother Viper

 ... we were out and about a few days back and encountered two hikers - clearly rock climbers (they were totin' some ropes strapped to their packs) - apparently makin' their way back to a small local crag that has become popular following a bit of climber specific "gentrification"... while striking up a bit of friendly passing small talk we noticed that one fellow was wearing open toe strap sandal footwear which evoked us to suggest a bit of caution considering we were in the heart of rattlesnake and copperhead territory - his return was a bit snappy, righting us that "rattlesnakes and copperheads in Pennsylvania are mainly relegated to the Allegheny National Forest and Northern Tier localities" while adding an emphatic and bit sarcastic "there are no rattlesnakes in Pittsburgh"... ???... we let it go at that (and ya' ain't in Pittsburgh)... have a nice day... what do us dumb ol' country boys know...

... we've posted most of these images previously - if not new, then here they are again... a few of many encounters over the years...
... this is what you'd have seen stumblin' down the trail in your strap sandals...

... if you were a few steps behind you would've seen this...

... yellow phase timber rattlesnake from many years ago...

... watch steppin' around that rock...

... that rock too - and watch jammin' those fist cracks at this particular crag ...

... another big yellow phase...

... here's a big pregnant yellow phase - notice the swollen tail end - was probably just about ready to give birth...

... medium size black phase...

... medium yellow phase trailing a black phase which just dropped over the edge of the rock...

... here's a monster black phase - some gorgeous markings on this guy... our partner hiking ahead of us this day stepped in perfect sync dead center right across the top of this snake as it lies in the upper photo and kept walking - totally oblivious to the fact - he about sh*t when we called him back - "hey - hold up - I want to get a photo of something!" - dumb (and lucky) f*k - and we told 'em a thousand times to keep an eye out for snakes...

... another monster - we'll bet he was four inches in girth...

... captured this yellow phase enjoying a dinner of fresh chipmunk - you can see the bite in the chipmunks back in the fifth photo down - would probably have stepped right on this guy if he hadn't rattled a warning - talk about getting your heart pumping...

... this could possibly be a small Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake judging from it's appearance - they're only supposed to habitat the Butler County area here in WPA - so we're not positive...

... thought we'd include this huge blacksnake from years back - a large snake den inhabits this area - we ain't sayin' where...

... another large blacksnake...

... we're actually blood brothers with this particular Northern Copperhead... we find that you gotta watch for these guys locally around water - particularly small ponds and swampy ground... we were pulling a canoe out of the boat dock at the SCRGC one late afternoon and ran into two snake hunters walking along the railroad tracks, returning from a day out - we asked them if they had seen any snakes - they replied thirty-one, all copperheads, while hunting along the railroad ROW on the (west facing) eastern bank of the Youghiogheny River from the SCRGC south to Casparis fishing hole - a distance of about two miles...

... it was a relief to us to finally learn from that guy earlier that there are no venomous snakes in this neck of the woods...

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