On my way east, I stopped at Grimes Point for a break and to make a sandwich. As I sat under the shelter munching a sandwich, drinking a bit of Diet Mellow Yellow, and snacking on some potato chips, I played with the chipmunks begging for bits of my lunch. One of them nearly took a bite of chip from my hand, then shied off. I noticed him creeping up on something a dozen feet away, very carefully. I noticed his attention was focused on a snake. A piece of rebar lay atop the dead animal, the implement of its destruction.
It looked like a Great Basin Rattlesnake to me. Its head was destroyed and the rattles were taken, I suppose as a trophy or souvenir.
This made me a little sad. Yes, rattlesnakes can be dangerous. They do not generally bite unless injured or cornered. They serve a function in the desert ecosystem. They are beautiful animals.
The snake was there because of the rodent population, I’m sure. It was just doing what rattlesnakes do — hunt food. They are where the food is.
It would have been easy to move the snake away from the picnic area without killing it. I would have either left it alone or moved it. They can easily be encouraged to move along without risk. It just takes a long stick and some patience.
There is something wrong with killing an animal needlessly. I have no issue with pest control, hunting for meat, or caring for livestock. But the wanton destruction of this animal was unnecessary and wrong.
What a shame.