4/2/2013 5:00:00 PM Rattlesnakes are out in the Gardens
Joanne Winer QUARTZSITE TIMES
QUARTZSITE - I know I have said this many times before but with the warm weather here now, it bears repeating. For those of you who plan on going out to the Gardens and walking around, please watch out for snakes and other venomous critters - they are out already.
Several people have called me this week stating that they were walking around the Chapel Trail area at the north end of the Gardens and came very close to a coiled up western diamondback rattlesnake sunning itself on the rocks where they were walking.
In the past, I have come real up close and personal three different times out there. Even being as cautious as I know I should be, it was not an experience I expected and didn't ever hope to have - at least not that close.
The first time was when I had the Garden cart chained around a tree (before we got the big shed) and as I hunkered down and reached around the tree with the chain and lock to lock it to the axle on the cart, my hand came within a foot of a rattlesnake wrapped right around the tree I was at. Needless to say, it scared the you-know-what out of me.
The second time, I was watering around the big ironwood tree behind the fountain with all the aloe vera around it. As the water got closer to the middle of the patch of aloes, a huge coontail rattlesnake came right out of the area where the water was landing, and came very close to me. Another scare.
The third time, we were watering over by the rock and gem pavilion and I was pointing my hose at the well around a bush when I walked around to the other side and almost stepped on a sidewinder - it must have been a momma snake because she was looking across the water around the well to the bush and I noticed seven baby snakes hiding in the branches of the bush. They must have gone into the bush when I started spraying water where they were. She was so interested in the babies that she didn't pay much attention to me but we called the fire department and had them removed.
Rattlesnakes of every kind are found in this area of the desert and can even get into your house or store. We just had one found in the back room of our bookstore this past week - eight rattles and 3 1/2 feet long - it's lucky it didn't get one of the cats or customers in the store!
These scary critters are found all over the desert and we just have to have a healthy respect for their right to be where they are and leave them alone. They really don't attack unless they are provoked. We try to have them removed from the Gardens when they are close to the paths so that no children or anyone else gets bit when walking the trails.
The fire department has been called many times in the past and probably will be in the future, too. They have been great to come out and try to catch these snakes and relocate them further out into the desert but sometimes they get there and the snakes have already gone back to their underground places, so we have to keep a good watch on where we are walking as well.
Please keep your pets on a leash while out at the Gardens - if your dog gets its nose too close it will get bit. There are snakes, scorpions, and other venomous creatures living out there and it pays to be cautious during the hot weather when they come to the surface.
Please be careful wherever you are so your summer stays healthy and safe. Be sure to take lots of water whenever you go away for any time in this heat!