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Mojave Rattlesnakes; Multiple rattlesnakes in Camp; Low Sound; Appropriate Responses

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Mojave Rattlesnakes; Multiple rattlesnakes in Camp; Low Sound; Appropriate Responses

Old 04-25-19, 08:00 PM
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Mojave Rattlesnakes; Multiple rattlesnakes in Camp; Low Sound; Appropriate Responses

Okay, this is a reasonably serious situation, so please put the BS on a leash for this one.

I've had four encounters, two in less than twenty-four hours, three of the four right in camp; two of the four were "low noise." In past experiences, the rattles have been very noticeable and instantly unmistakable. The last two I barely heard. They were like a low-volume hissing. In one of those two, the snake was within striking distance, and I could have been bitten easily. In the most recent case, the snake actually started coming at me when I poked him with a stick to get him to move away. Supposedly Mojave Rattlesnakes are more aggressive.

I used to think they weren't such a big deal, kind of like a bad bee sting without the allergic reaction. That is, painful but not fatal.

Now I read this, after the latest encounter:
"Even though all rattlesnake species are venomous, this species is particularly dangerous to humans. The Mojave rattlesnake has the most potent venom of any rattlesnake in North America. Its venom is about 16 times more toxic than that of the Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes) and surpasses even that of the tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)."


​​​​​And it has me concerned on a new level. I am not near medical assistance at all, and a bite could be much more serious than a bee sting. And apparently there are serious neurotoxins involved in the special case of Mojave rattlesnakes, that are different from other rattlesnake toxins. And the Mojave species are not uncommon in this area.

I don't really want to kill them (for several reasons).

What if the next one has lost its rattle in a fight (one of the ones in camp had lost part of its rattle, and it isn't unusual), so little or no sound. Or what it is just low-volume like the last two, but things go a little differently next time, or at some point?

No warning.

These guys can also be hard to see. They often blend in well.

I'm a bit concerned, and am open to any thoughtful and constructive suggestions.
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Old 04-25-19, 08:52 PM
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We have copperheads on our property, not rattlers around here. Four sightings this year so far. If your occurrences are while cycle camping it's more difficult than for me. I'm at home and working in the yard, so boots and gloves are standard gear; not what you'd wear for cycling or cycletouring. I can only urge caution. Look, listen and be careful. Good luck.

By the way, we do not kill them. We figure we moved onto their turf so give way and try to get along. They do not seem to be aggressive and we're okay so far with coexistence.

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Old 04-25-19, 09:15 PM
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Howdy. 🙂 This thread grabbed my attention immediately, because I literally just passed through several areas of the Mojave Desert. And I can easily admit, snakes give me the willies, more than any other kind of living creature. 😳
I never learned any special tricks, to deal with them, other than common sense. Meaning always look where you're walking, carefully and further ahead than usual, and I pretty much always have my portable radio on. The radio gives snakes and any other critters fair warning, that I'm passing through. It "seems" to work fine, as long as I remember to keep fresh batteries on hand. 🙄😉
I imagine dogs would be great snake alarms, but I don't tour with one, and it sounds like you probably don't either.
Speaking of bees, one got me this morning, on my middle finger. The darn thing flew into my hair, and got stuck, and reflexes made me try to shake it loose, with my fingers. That didn't work so well, lol. 😁
I can't really complain much though, I'm not allergic to bees, and it's been many many years, since I was last stung. 😎
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Old 04-25-19, 09:32 PM
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Not trying to cause a problem, Just wondering, How do you get internet access?
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Old 04-25-19, 10:10 PM
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Rattlesnakes are solitary, and strikes are almost exclusively defensive-- when rattling doesn't work, they strike at perceived threats. I grew up around rattlesnakes (mostly western diamondbacks and timber rattlers) and they just want to be left alone.

So in the case of the Mojaves you're around, just remember that you're in their house. Give them a wide berth, tread carefully, and keep the ground around your campsite clear.

Something more proactive? King snake, I guess. I don't think they train very well, though.
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Old 04-25-19, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
Not trying to cause a problem, Just wondering, How do you get internet access?
I don't know if your question was directed to anyone in particular, but the short answer is, you very often DON'T. 😲 There are just too darn many mountains in the way.
The best you can do, is take care of phone business while you're near a town (wi-fi), then while traveling, you "might" get lucky and find an area with decent reception. But at least 90% of the time, there just isn't any.
It's kinda like stepping back in time, before we got so spoiled with smart phones. 😉
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Old 04-25-19, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikesplendor View Post
.....the (rattle)snake actually started coming at me when I poked him with a stick.....
contender for 2019 darwin award?

Originally Posted by desertdawgnine View Post
.....The radio gives snakes ...fair warning, that I'm passing through......
runner-up for 2019 darwin award?

https://www.livescience.com/32252-do...have-ears.html

http://www.joeydevilla.com/wordpress...nake-comic.gif

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Old 04-26-19, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
Not trying to cause a problem, Just wondering, How do you get internet access?
Mom's basement has Wi-Fi.
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Old 04-26-19, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikesplendor View Post
Okay, this is a reasonably serious situation, so please put the BS on a leash for this one.
You first
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Old 04-26-19, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
Hey jackass, I'm right here. Don't insult me for no reason. 🙄
I never claimed to be an expert on snakes, but obviously, making noise WORKS.
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Old 04-26-19, 07:54 AM
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I've camped all over the Mojave desert here in California and never really had a problem with rattlers. Give them a chance of escape and they'll slither off under the brush as fast as they can. That being said, I'm just careful from dusk until dawn when they're usually out and one the prowl. Spring and summer are really good times to get bitten, so be careful when getting out of your tent in the AM as they might be attracted to the warmth coming out of your tent at night and coil up next to it. They'll still be lethargic in the morning, but still able to strike if they feel threatened. Never had a problem poking them with a long stick, they tend to slither off when I've done that.
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Old 04-26-19, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
Hey jackass, I'm right here. Don't insult me for no reason. ��
I never claimed to be an expert on snakes, but obviously, making noise WORKS.
Unfortunately, they took your admonition as an invitation. If you report these posts, they might stop doing it.

As for the rattlesnakes, the bad news is that even if you take every conceivable precaution, there is a chance of getting bitten. If you are on your own in the middle of nowhere without the ability to contact anyone, the problem gets worse. If it were me, I would stay in well-populated campsites or even some crappy motel (unless it is Barstow, in which case I would just keep pedaling).

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Old 04-26-19, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Unfortunately, they took your admonition as an invitation.
I don't care if people agree with my opinion or not, but an intelligent response would be nice. Spending 5 minutes doing a Google search, then quoting "facts" that don't really apply, doesn't make anyone smart or cool. Except in their own mind. 🤔😉
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Old 04-26-19, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Mom's basement has Wi-Fi.

Best answer so far. And, there are snacks for the munchies.


It sounded like the OP was posting from camp in the desert.
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Old 04-26-19, 08:44 AM
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You talking about the dark green or black Mojave rattler? I've had one get aggressive with me.... they move quickly.
Revolver with shot cartridges.
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Old 04-26-19, 08:46 AM
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A few points:

First, how toxic the venom is doesn't mean anything unless it's coupled with the dose the snake delivers. I think I remember reading, some years back, that the only rattlesnake in the U.S. that can kill a 175 pound man is the eastern diamondback, because it's big and has correspondingly large venom sacs.

Second, physical barriers can protect you. Put on blue jeans and wear shoes in camp, if that's where you're most worried. Save the shorts and sandals for places where you're not so scared.

Third, back out of striking range. Obvious, I know, but it needs to be said. Cowardly? Maybe. Safe and rational? Definitely.
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Old 04-26-19, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
... making noise WORKS.
maybe, but i wouldn't count on it. snakes have a rather primitive inner ear and don't hear sounds. they "hear" vibrations. so unless you're playing AC/DC cranked up to 12 with the subwoofers facedown on the ground, they prolly won't "hear" anything at all. they would be "hearing" the vibrations transmitted though the ground from your wheels rolling and your feets stomping.
Why Do Cobras Dance When They Hear Music? | Junior?s Book
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Old 04-26-19, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
snakes have a rather primitive inner ear and don't hear sounds. they "hear" vibrations. so unless you're playing AC/DC cranked up to 12 with the subwoofers facedown on the ground, they prolly won't "hear" anything at all.
One of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most egregious errors is having the swamp adder return at the sound of a whistle from the next room (Adventure of the Speckled Band, 1892).
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Old 04-26-19, 10:25 AM
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I got 752,000 results when Googling "camping and hiking in rattlesnake country". I bet at least the first two dozen or so are chock full of pertinent, useful information. And then there's this:


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Old 04-26-19, 10:36 AM
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In addition to the original sin thing, snakes remain an ongoing threat to humanity. That said, I'm also going to start being more careful and aware around freshwater snails.

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Old 04-26-19, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
I got 752,000 results when Googling "camping and hiking in rattlesnake country". I bet at least the first two dozen or so are chock full of pertinent, useful information. And then there's this:

Now this is funny. 😁 Thanks for that. 👍
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Old 04-26-19, 11:01 AM
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To all concerned, I apologize for my earlier response. I was pretty rude, in my own way, and insulting an insulter doesn't fix anything. 🙄🤔
Wether a snake actually has ears to hear with or not, it still senses vibrations, and that still comes very close to the definition of hearing. After all, what are sounds, but vibrations? 🤓
BTW, I'm about halfways there (Sun City) now. 😁
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Old 04-26-19, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
In addition to the original sin thing, snakes remain an ongoing threat to humanity. That said, I'm also going to start being more careful and aware around freshwater snails.
I believe that schistosomiasis has not crossed the Darien Gap in Panama, and therefore is not (yet) a problem in Central or North America.
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Old 04-26-19, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
In addition to the original sin thing, snakes remain an ongoing threat to humanity. That said, I'm also going to start being more careful and aware around freshwater snails.

Strange, coyotes didn't make the list, never mind the dreaded jackalope. 🤔😁
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Old 04-26-19, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
To all concerned, I apologize for my earlier response. I was pretty rude, in my own way, and insulting an insulter doesn't fix anything. 🙄🤔
Wether a snake actually has ears to hear with or not, it still senses vibrations, and that still comes very close to the definition of hearing. After all, what are sounds, but vibrations? 🤓
BTW, I'm about halfways there (Sun City) now. 😁
Best of luck to you. The heat, alone, would frighten me off that route. (I find it hard enough with bikes on a rack on my car.)

There is a peculiar need for some folks here to play bicycle touring Taliban, and accuse others of pretty much any piece of nonsense. For some reason, the moderators turn a blind eye until one responds, so best to just put them on ignore, with the knowledge that their most frightening wildlife encounter is a mother cockroach defending her larvae in a truck-stop bathroom outside of Philidelphia.
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