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Re: rattlers

Joined:
2009/1/3 13:51
Posts: 335
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I wish there was something I could say to convince people not to kill rattlesnakes in Pennsylvania out of fear of snakes.
But I do understand fear of snakes. I was chased by the highly territorial cottonmouth/mocasins out of a couple of back coves while living in Texas. First time the guy I was fishing with told me to stop casting at one when it showed up about 15 yards away. I told him not to worry, the casting would send it on its way (as will happen with water snakes in Pennsylvania).
The darned thing didn't seem to get the message. Instead it started getting closer. Then a second one popped up near the first one and they were following the Tiny Torpedo I was using (for largemouth in a tank pond) while wet wading. When they got close, we both high-tailed it.
Had a couple more similar experiences with cottonmouth and won't forget their aggressiveness.
Rattlesnakes are harmless compared to them.

However, some years back I had the fortunate experience of being given a tour of a private residence in Lancaster County PA where the owner bred and dealt snakes. Very interesting.
Some of the collection were nonpoisonous (corn snakes, for example).
However, he did have some poisonous species, including a large cobra that would strike the glass when I walked by.

The guy who gave me the tour was a character I've never come across before or since. He didn't own a car. Didn't drive. Didn't talk much to anyone. Could have easily been mistaken for a homeless soul. But what he would do is make his way from PA down through the Southeast collect valuable snakes (for breeding or selling) on extended trips (like an Australian walkabout) and send them back to Lancaster to the owner of the private exotic breeder/dealer operation (he also had tarantula, those hissing cockroaches and other marketable insects).
The operation had suffered a fire some months before I was given the tour and got me thinking about what would happen if one of the snakes - black mamba or cobra - would have gotten loose.
This operation was, because of sprawl, in the middle of residential development.

So, while there was mention of someone having seen a cottonmouth/water mocasin in PA, I would highly doubt the accuracy of the identification, it is possible.

Though I don't understand the need to have a dangerous snake for a pet, there are those who obviously do and create the market. It got me thinking that here is this one small, otherwise unremarkable operation in Lancaster County, there well might be several more similar operations in PA, and there may be some buyers whose pets get loose.

To me, the most dangerous place to be in PA is near residential areas where people host dangerous exotics, even if, as with alligators, they don't survive our winters.

Even if one of those truly dangerous exotic snakes escaped, chances of them heading to a trout stream are ridiculously small, by simple reasoning that it's too cold.

Your neighbor could well have the most dangerous snake in PA and it isn't any of our indigenous species.

Posted on: 2009/3/5 22:50


Re: rattlers

Joined:
2006/11/2 8:50
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Has anyone on here ever been bitten by a rattler in Pa?

Does anyone on here have a relative or friend (not just someone you "heard" of) who has been bitten by a rattler in Pa?

Posted on: 2009/3/5 23:26


Re: rattlers

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2007/4/27 4:16
Posts: 116
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troutbert,
again i was bitten by a timber rattle snake while in college, while trying to milk it, fortunately for me it was a dry bite, as i had slight swelling and a slight fever. Again, snakes (natural to PA) only use their venom when its an absolute must. At least from what i was taught and my experience.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 2:53
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Re: rattlers

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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I find it interesting that no one mentioned diamond back rattlesnakes. They are rare but i have seen one in Lancaster County. It was a baby and some kids had killed it. I was only 16 but knew of its danger. I told those kids they should have just left it alone. The babies will kill you. I wouldnt have believed it if i didnt see it with my own eyes, but diamonds must be here in pa also.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crotalus_adamanteus

says their range isnt in pa but that is the nake i saw just much smaller.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 6:16
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Re: rattlers
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Joined:
2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 22214
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Quote:

salvelinusfontinalis wrote:
The babies will kill you.


In connection with the information regarding venemous snakes "conserving" venom by "dry biting," I have read that the small snakes have not learned this behavior and are more likely to empty their venom when striking. Messing with the babies can be more dangerous as a result.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 6:37
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Re: rattlers

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2007/7/23 18:36
From Stevens,Pa.
Posts: 244
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TrouBuster , what i meant was heavy for caliber i.e. a .44 mag and a310 grain Kieth bullet at 1350 f.p.s.. Kieth as in Elmer Kieth are bullets with a flat nose called a meplate and a sharp shoulder which causes large permenant wound channels. Hard cast is a term used in lead bullets that have an alloy or alloys in them to increase their hardness some times to that of pure coppers. Hand gunners of big and some times dangerous game swear by them as they dont expand but rather penetrate into the vital areas and usually pass completley through leaving air in and blood out. Jacket hollow point or soft point bullets cannot be counted on to penetrate on large animals at revolver velocitys.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 9:27
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Re: rattlers

Joined:
2008/6/25 9:41
From Pgh
Posts: 1230
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I know of someone who was bitten by a copperhead. His name was John Griener and he was a naturalist for Allegheny County Parks back in the 70's. I worked a couple of summers with him at Harrison Hills Park in 77, 78. He was giving a lecture on venomous snakes in PA and, while handling a copperhead, was bitten. I do remember he had to hospitalized, and it was touch and go for awhile. It knocked him off his feet for months. And this this guy was huge, used to play professional football. I remember seeing him not long after he came back from the hospital and his hand was still the size of a football. Nasty stuff.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 9:28
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Re: rattlers

Joined:
2006/9/10 16:07
From Pine Grove
Posts: 2416
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Quote:

salvelinusfontinalis wrote:
I find it interesting that no one mentioned diamond back rattlesnakes. They are rare but i have seen one in Lancaster County. It was a baby and some kids had killed it. I was only 16 but knew of its danger. I told those kids they should have just left it alone. The babies will kill you. I wouldnt have believed it if i didnt see it with my own eyes, but diamonds must be here in pa also.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crotalus_adamanteus

says their range isnt in pa but that is the nake i saw just much smaller.


Sure it wasn't one of these?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistrurus_catenatus

They look similar, are much smaller, and are native to PA.

Boyer

Posted on: 2009/3/6 9:50


Re: rattlers

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 6433
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no im pretty sure. There were clear cut diamonds on the back. I found it interesting to say the least. But its not uncommon for a animal or even reptile to venture outside their native range. IM sure this is not a common thing though for this particular species.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 10:01
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Re: rattlers

Joined:
2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 13623
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like this sal?

Attach file:



jpg  rattle46.jpg (23.83 KB)
49_49b13d884bbad.jpg 267X288 px

Posted on: 2009/3/6 10:13


Re: rattlers

Joined:
2007/12/1 15:23
From wellsboro
Posts: 452
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That is really far out of its native range. The native range for eastern diamondbacks is only to northern North Carolina. Is there a chance this was an escapee from somewhere like the alligators in the Philly area rivers and ponds?

Posted on: 2009/3/6 10:17


Re: rattlers

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13409
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There are certainly no diamondback populations in PA. Either an escapee (which is possible, as noted earlier), or a misidentified timber rattler. Timber rattlers do have a wide variety of colors, and with markings on the back that can resemble diamonds, or other times just bands.

Yellow phase timber:

http://www.pbase.com/dhsmall/image/44603920

http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/ ... ake-by_Dennis_Desmond.jpg

http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/ ... ake-by_Dennis_Desmond.jpg

Shows the pic tom showed, plus a yellow phase farther below

http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/conn.river/rattlesn.html

Intermediates (Tom's photo is an intermediate):

https://www.shutterpoint.com/Photos-ViewPhoto.cfm?id=667230

http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/ ... ase-by_Dennis_Desmond.jpg

Black phase:

http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/ ... ake-by_Dennis_Desmond.jpg

http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/ ... ase-by_Dennis_Desmond.jpg

http://www.timberrattlesnake.net/

Matt, Massauga's are only in extreme western PA, a swamp rattler along the Ohio border.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 11:39


Re: rattlers

Joined:
2006/9/10 16:07
From Pine Grove
Posts: 2416
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Quote:

Matt, Massauga's are only in extreme western PA, a swamp rattler along the Ohio border.


I figured it was closer than NC.

Boyer

Posted on: 2009/3/6 12:13


Re: rattlers

Joined:
2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 13623
Offline
I picked that one because if its "clear cut diamonds" on its back. The point being, when I see a snake, I don't spend a lot of time getting a iron clad ID. Even experts make mistakes identifying birds, snakes, fish... I think it is more likely that it was a missed ID than a wandering Diamondback.

Posted on: 2009/3/6 12:25


Re: rattlers

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 6433
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well i got a good look. the thing was dead

Posted on: 2009/3/6 12:29
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