In nice weather I walk an hour a day outside on the Cherry Creek Trail, which runs by my neighborhood. It's a beautiful spot. I've seen ducks and egrets in the creek, deer, coyote, and the occasional wild turkey roaming across the prairie. Sometimes we'll see a bull snake. It's not a big deal, other than they're four feet long and scary looking.
We've been told that bull snakes were introduced into the area to keep down the rattle snake population, which is a good thing in areas widely populated by humans.
Well, today I saw a 4' bull snake. It was easing its way across the path. Not wanting to slow down, I pounded my feet to get the snake to move faster.
Except there was one problem. The snake wasn't a bull snake -- it was a rattle snake. Yikes!! That snake coiled up in a flash, twitched its tail and sounded its telltale rattle. Yes, I quickly got on my way.
Wikipedia says the range of a rattle snake is two-thirds of its total length, and that it can strike literally faster than the human eye can follow. It looks like I was a pretty lucky dummy.
Friends, I have learned some lessons from my mistake. One, respect ALL snakes, and two, practicing your patience is an art that is never perfected.
Wikipedia also says, "Most species of rattlesnakes have hemotoxic venom, destroying tissue, degenerating organs and causing coagulopathy (disrupted blood clotting). Some degree of permanent scarring is very likely in the event of a venomous bite, even with prompt, effective treatment, and a severe envenomation, combined with delayed or ineffective treatment, can lead to the loss of a limb or death. Thus, a rattlesnake bite is always a potentially fatal injury. Untreated rattlesnake bites, especially from larger species, are very often fatal. However, antivenom, when applied in time, reduces the death rate to less than 4%."