Upon arriving at the Meadow Grounds Lake Saturday evening I parked along the edge of the road near the dam. Stepping out of the car, I opened the rear door to retrieve the cameras and as I straightened up I heard it.............. the buzzing of a rattler! Casting my gaze towards the source of the noise my eyes fell upon a large black phase timber rattler lying not six feet from the car door!
The snake continued to rattle as it slowly crawled away with its head high; the forward third of its body held in a S curve ready to strike if necessary. Note this series of photos were taken using a 400mm lens. A rattler can strike 1/3 of its body length and perhaps up to 1/2 it's length in the right situation so shooting close-ups of a rattler is no place for short lenses!
When I moved around the snake to shoot from a different angle it apparently felt that its avenue of flight had been cut off and it rolled into a tight coil. At this point the rattler stopped rattling and remained motionless except for the occasional flick of its tongue. With the snake feeling trapped this was no time to get too close!
After finishing the rattler photo session my wife and I walked out on the dam to photograph the receding lake. Returning a few minutes later I checked where I had left the snake to find that it had moved on.
While timber rattlesnakes can inflict a serious bite on a human and do so occasionally, when man and rattler meet it is most often the snake who looses the encounter. I was very glad that this encounter allowed both of us to go on our way neither worse for the wear.