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Snake encounter, that was closer than I’d like.

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Snake encounter, that was closer than I’d like.

Old 04-05-24, 05:33 PM
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I actually pushed a baby rattlesnake off of one of our streets last year. Not by picking it up, mind you, wouldn't be prudent. Rude little thing. I really didn't want to see a smashed baby rattlesnake for the rest of the summer. I ride on that street a lot. It's right by a creek, so I assume mom was nearby.

I expect there are predators that kill them.
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Old 04-05-24, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I expect there are predators that kill them.
In Southern Arizona hawks, roadrunners, kingsnakes, black racers, coachwhips, coyotes, bobcats all take them for food.
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Old 04-05-24, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill
I. Hate. Snakes.
Thanks Indy!

Originally Posted by big john
What about the shape of their heads? You probably don't have time to examine them but venomous snakes have "pits" behind the jaw.
I'd suggest to NOT get that close.
Might as well ask it to "smile"
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Old 04-06-24, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
What about the shape of their heads? You probably don't have time to examine them but venomous snakes have "pits" behind the jaw.
The “pits” in pit vipers are in front of the jaw. They are located on the head between the eyes and the nostrils and are slightly smaller than the eyes. They are heat sensing organs.

The shape of the head is the give away. Pit vipers tend to have heart shaped heads which are wider at the back of the head where it attaches to the neck. Constrictors which are often confused for rattle snakes have a longer, narrower head. Here in Colorado we have three kinds of rattlesnakes…the prairie rattlesnake, the Western rattlesnake and the massasauga rattlesnake. They all have similar patterns on their skin.

You can see the different head shapes in these two snakes. This one is a prairie rattler. Not the very wide jaw


This is a bull snake. Similar skin pattern but the head is longer and less wide at the back. Bull snakes here also have a wonderful mimic ability. They will coil just like a rattlesnake…you can see the similar position of both snakes. They also shake the end of their tail and make a hissing sound that is unnervingly like the rattle of a rattle snake. It’s a very effective defense mechanism. They will also strike like a rattlesnake…personal experience…and their teeth are abrasive but they haven’t got fangs.



The rattlesnake is the one that I spooked in my post above. I left him alone. The bull snake below was on a bicycle path in Denver. I shooed it off the path so that it would get run over. He hissed and shook his tail at me the whole time. Still unnerving.
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Old 04-06-24, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
lot's of snakes where I grew up in Montana but never came across one when bicycling
Funny you should mention that. I have done a good amount of bike touring in Montana and don't recall ever seeing a snake. Bears, elk, deer, moose, foxes, pronghorns, sandhill cranes, loons, pelicans, a giant jackrabbit, a ptarmigan, marmots, countless osprey, bald eagles and even a badger, but never a snake.

Saw this yellow-bellied racer in SD. Lived up to his name. He was really fast.




This eastern water snake seen during a long weekend bike trip to NJ was fascinated with us. It kept following us as we walked along the bank of the Delaware River at the campground.




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Old 04-06-24, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Yup. Born ready to go with fangs and venom and everything.
Just great.

Have read the young'ns are disproportionately dangerous because they have not learned venom control and every bite is full blast. Much like real kids.
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Old 04-06-24, 11:05 AM
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First time I saw a snake happily scooting across the water surface I thought it was cheating of the highest order. Where's an eagle when you need one?
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Old 04-06-24, 11:55 AM
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I have seen raptors eating a snake when out riding on a gravel road near here. Another time, I was riding my mountain bike once and saw the shadow of a big bird holding a snake, and then it dropped it. My interpretation was that it tried to drop it on me after misinterpreting my helmet as a big rock. I didn't see the snake hit, so I don't know how close it really was. That area is perfect for snakes, lots of low vegetation.
I have seen eagles about 10 miles from here, but I don't know if they have expanded to be closer to our house. We have lots of hawks though. Not sure they would bother with a baby rattler, hardly a mouthful. Apparently some other snakes eat small rattlesnakes.

Interestingly, baby rattlers don't have to eat for their first year. Not sure what they would catch, bugs?
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Old 04-06-24, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The “pits” in pit vipers are in front of the jaw. They are located on the head between the eyes and the nostrils and are slightly smaller than the eyes. They are heat sensing organs.

The shape of the head is the give away. Pit vipers tend to have heart shaped heads which are wider at the back of the head where it attaches to the neck. Constrictors which are often confused for rattle snakes have a longer, narrower head. Here in Colorado we have three kinds of rattlesnakes…the prairie rattlesnake, the Western rattlesnake and the massasauga rattlesnake. They all have similar patterns on their skin.

You can see the different head shapes in these two snakes. This one is a prairie rattler. Not the very wide jaw


This is a bull snake. Similar skin pattern but the head is longer and less wide at the back. Bull snakes here also have a wonderful mimic ability. They will coil just like a rattlesnake…you can see the similar position of both snakes. They also shake the end of their tail and make a hissing sound that is unnervingly like the rattle of a rattle snake. It’s a very effective defense mechanism. They will also strike like a rattlesnake…personal experience…and their teeth are abrasive but they haven’t got fangs.



The rattlesnake is the one that I spooked in my post above. I left him alone. The bull snake below was on a bicycle path in Denver. I shooed it off the path so that it would get run over. He hissed and shook his tail at me the whole time. Still unnerving.
Most of the rattlers I see in Southern California look like this.

I did see one that was much darker, almost black. One day a hawk flew over me carrying a rattler about 3 feet long. I was riding in a local canyon and 2 rattlers were wrestling next to the road in what I assume was a mating ritual. A bunch of cars stopped and people got out to watch.

We have Red Racers on a bike path near here. I came around a turn and one was across the path in front of me. I was able to jump over him and I asked some walkers if I cleared the snake. Yep.
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Old 04-06-24, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
Most of the rattlers I see in Southern California look like this.

I did see one that was much darker, almost black. One day a hawk flew over me carrying a rattler about 3 feet long. I was riding in a local canyon and 2 rattlers were wrestling next to the road in what I assume was a mating ritual. A bunch of cars stopped and people got out to watch.

We have Red Racers on a bike path near here. I came around a turn and one was across the path in front of me. I was able to jump over him and I asked some walkers if I cleared the snake. Yep.
There are a lot of local color variations. The wonders of natural selection.
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Old 04-06-24, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Funny you should mention that. I have done a good amount of bike touring in Montana and don't recall ever seeing a snake. Bears, elk, deer, moose, foxes, pronghorns, sandhill cranes, loons, pelicans, a giant jackrabbit, a ptarmigan, marmots, countless osprey, bald eagles and even a badger, but never a snake.
what is funny is that while i did lots of hiking, camping, canoeing i known snake territory, I never encountered a rattler my self, I saw them after other people discovered them..... to this day I am sure if I find one I will fly like cyccommute

If your touring took you on Hi Way 2 across Northern Montana you likely went through my home town of Chinook, home of the Sugarbeeters
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Old 04-06-24, 09:15 PM
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Luckily no deadly snakes west of the Cascade mountain range, but lots of Boas. Most are quite small and enjoy sunning themselves on trails and tarmac during the summer. I see plenty of them squashed and have inadvertently run over more than a dozen with my bike over the years. Don’t see them until it is too late. I always feel bad since they are such good rodent control.
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Old 04-07-24, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
If your touring took you on Hi Way 2 across Northern Montana you likely went through my home town of Chinook, home of the Sugarbeeters
Our cross country group did in 1999 during the day from Havre to Harlem. Visited the museum there.

IIRC, it's also the self-proclaimed mosquito capital of the state.

Kids mugging for a photo in Chinook.


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Old 04-07-24, 12:10 PM
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Old 04-11-24, 06:01 PM
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Old 04-11-24, 06:02 PM
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Old 04-11-24, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
“It’s”?
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Old 04-11-24, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
“It’s”?
I mean who cares about contractions or possessives when a snake is involved.................
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Old 04-12-24, 08:05 AM
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glad we don't have rattlers in my area



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Old 04-12-24, 02:44 PM
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Bites to cyclists

The only significantpedaling. I recall to be experienced by a cyclist was a guy in India who was bitten on the crotch by a snake that had coiled up under the saddle clinging to the rails. It apparently felt threatened when the rder jumped on the bike and began pedalling.. As I recall it was a krait a venomous species. So quit worrying about rattlers.
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Old 04-12-24, 05:44 PM
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I had to dodge a rattler while descending Mt Hamilton last Wednesday.

It was the first really warm day in a while, and the rattler was basking on the asphalt, stretched out across about half my lane. He was a big fella.

Mind went: "snake", "adjust line to miss", "phew, no harm done" ... "whoa, that was a BIG snake".
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Old 04-12-24, 06:05 PM
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We have garter snakes. Not venomous, but they can musk (smear some severely stanky goo all over you that doesn't wash off) and give you a painful bite. So beware! I haven't watched this vid; I hope it's good.

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Old 04-14-24, 01:38 PM
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Snake encounter, that was closer than I’d like.
In my region, we've got timber rattlesnake, copperhead, cottonmouth and one or two others. Rarely seen on the MUPs and lighter trails where I ride, thankfully. Haven't had an encounter yet.

Lived along the western U.S. coastal ranges for decades, back when. Plenty of poisonous snakes in those spots, particularly in "the hills." Plenty of distance running and cycling, though other than once when I was growing up I can't recall having had an on-trail encounter.

Neat critters. Am very happy they seem to keep away from me.

Counting my lucky stars, I am.
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Old 04-14-24, 11:42 PM
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This guy was not interested in leaving the trail despite two mountain bikes thumping downhill toward it. I came up with the brilliant idea to throw a rock to bounce a couple feet in front of it to spook it off the trail. My aim was so poor that I clocked it right on the head. That got it off the trail in a rattling hurry, but I heard a lot more rattles from where it slithered to.
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Old 04-15-24, 08:05 PM
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Never ran over a snake in the US but have run over plenty of them in Thailand. They were mostly boas or pythons. There are cobras and other deadly snakes but have never seen them while on my bike. Did kill a green viper type of snake a number of years ago at my house in Bangkok.
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