Sorry to bring up the snake again. But Jen commented on my last blog update that Kevin was able to identify our scaly friend as a Western Diamondback rattlesnake. Let me share with you some quotes from websites describing the snake.
An ambush hunter, it typically sits near the trail of a mammal, waiting for it to pass by, then strikes at and releases the prey. The snake then follows the trail of the envenomated animal and swallows it whole. http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/pages/c.atrox.html
We are mammals and we were on a trail! Look again through the snake post at how close the boys were to this snake. (By the way, if you click on pictures on this blog you can view them larger.) I know he did not really want to eat us...but read this next quote.
It ranks as one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Bites are serious and potentially deadly if medical treatment is not reached immediately. http://www.sdnhm.org/fieldguide/herps/crot-atr.html
I thought they were mostly out in the summer, but then I read this...
They emerge in spring, sexually driven, hungry and mean.
And, from the same site...
It bites hundreds of people a year, more than any other venomous snake in the United States.
The Western Diamondback, which can exceed seven feet in length, is the king of our twenty odd species and sub-species of Southwestern desert rattlers, not only in terms of size, but also in terms of its fearsome reputation. http://www.desertusa.com/mag01/jan/papr/rsnake.html
I don't know if you noticed in the website addresses these quotes are from, the word herps appears. I was curious about this because it looked awfully close to the word herpes and I was wondering what the two had in common? So I looked up herps. Did you know when you google herps, google suggests that you are looking for herpes and brings you lots of herpes results? Anyway, after sifting through all the sites available on herpes, I found a definition for herps. Herps = reptile or amphibian. Ahhhh...makes sense. Don't I feel stupid? I went to college, I took biology courses. How have I never heard this term? Must have been lost with the other 45% of my brain that disappeared after childbirth! But I digress...the point of this post is HOLY CRAP! That was a scary snake!! I am so glad I was blissfully unaware of how scary that snake was and I am so happy we all remained calm. Now I am completely freaked out by that park and need to seek counseling before I can ever think about taking my kids on that hike again. Darn. Look at how pretty this park is.