Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The Art of Camouflage
Just moments before, TJ's daughter, Sheryl, passed by this little outcropping of granite rock and announced she heard a little tickle of a rattle! This immediately put me on alert and I carefully began searching for the source of the sound. My eyes automatically searched the shade of the larger rock where I expected to find a rattlesnake lying coiled in the 'S' or strike position! Not seeing it there my eyes went to the Barrel Cactus. Laying tightly coiled with head flat against it's body and not offering a sound was this perfectly camouflaged Western Diamondback Rattler sunning itself! Content to remain still and depend on it's blending abilities to the color of the rocks upon which it lay it never offered any aggression. A Silent Rattler!
Only after a couple of minutes of my picture taking did the snake slowly start uncoiling and moving away. We never provoked or caused the reptile to become defensive as it disappeared around the larger rock and into a crevice.
After this little encounter I noticed that everyone became more alert and cautious to where they were walking and placing their feet. A good practice to adopt while visiting the Wichita Mtns. ! We were three miles into this hike in the back country and off trail. It would have been a hard, long hike back with a snakebit companion. TJ hikes with snake chaps or leggings that he wears, a wise choice to go along with being aware of ones surroundings!