Closing the yard gate, I stepped forward past the parked quad to head out on a hike with our dog Shadow. Something caught my eye under the quad. A huge gopher snake was my first thought, and then I looked again and realized it was a rattlesnake with about 7 rattles on the end of its tail. I walked on by and picked up my dog and went back into our yard through the vehicle gate which allowed a wide berth around that rattler that was laying out almost the full length of our quad. It was big.
Normally if we see a rattlesnake in the woods we just walk around, but around our home, Mark usually kills them. But I never had. Mark was unavailable to help so I called then next snake handler I knew. Johanna, my daughter in law. She can kill and clean a snake quicker than I can get up the nerve to look at it. So, I went into the house and called her to get advice on the proper way to dispose of the 4 foot sleeping viper.
"Does a shovel work?" I asked.
"Sure", she said. "Just whack it good."
So, I had to find a shovel. Which took some time as it wasn't in the garage, or the shed, or anywhere else I thought it should be. I peeked once or twice in my search to see if the snake was still there and he was.
Shovel was eventually found and I carefully exited the yard on tiptoes with shovel held out in front of me. You never know the snake might be tricking me and was now hiding behind the gate ready to strike. I looked pretty ridiculous and I was shaking in my boots. The snake slithered a few feet further under the quad and I "whacked" the shovel down on the last 12 inches of him and he slithered a little further and I whacked the last 2 inches of him then he slithered a little further and his head was sticking out of the front of the quad. Oh dear. The head. The tail was no longer visible, so I couldn't 'whack' there. I thought of starting the quad and just running the poor devil over, but then I just bit the bullet and gave it my best 'whack' and the snake nonchalantly slithered under our fence and into the thick ivy.
I now consider him my yard snake and haven't seen near as many gophers as before. He might need a name.