I remember my Great Grandmother once telling me that the small section of Orange County that my family called home was once labelled Rattlesnake Ridge. Growing up there, I can attest to this being very true. An interesting thing about rattlesnakes is how girthy they become. They don’t grow too long, but rather thicker and fatter depending on what they’ve been eating, which can include rats to even raccoons and cats.
On this day, I was just a little girl, maybe ten at most. My dad worked on tractors and equipment used to maintain orange groves at the shop located behind our house. While parking some equipment, he stumbled across a beastly sized rattler. He was almost as long as my Dad was tall, considering my Dad is 6 foot plus. Being crafty, my dad and his coworker thought this now headless snake would teach some of the younger guys a lesson in being more cautious.
After some chin scratching, they devised the prank. Laying a tire against a fence, they curled the massive scaly body in teh center and laid a piece of plywood across, hiding the element of surprise. It wasn’t long before Jimbo and a friend of his popped into the shop and I waited, curious to see how this would play out. Honestly, I can remember which one went first. The first one lifted the plywood, yelped, dropped it and leapt back pale as a ghost. Dad laughed and said to send the other out for his surprise.
By this point, my little sister who is around 6 or 7 is now catching on and has placed herself behind the next victim of the prank by a few feet. He lifted the plywood, his eyes grew big and he turned and RAN! Running full steam we all watched in awe as he leapt over my sister like a hurdle, landing and another instinctive leap as if hurdling over a second version of my sister. It took a good minute before anyone laughed, still shocked by the unexpected leaping runaway.
He circled back upon hearing the laughs, his heart thudding loud enough it seemed for us to even hear it. Gasping for air, my dad and his friend had proven their point that a large rattle could be hidden in the most discreet of places and strike without warning.
It’s Summer time! Reptiles are on the move, looking for shade, looking to breed – BE SAFE!