Lupe, the world’s finest goat, has just been awarded the Ninja-Goat-of-the Year award, for trampling what must have been a huge Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake in the back yard. Sorry for the snake, but Lupe was keeping the world safe for Gregory, her young offspring, and for the rest of the family as well, because the snake was found in a mangled heap only about fifty feet from the back door of the house.
Forensics are sketchy; I didn’t find the snake until it was in an advanced state of decomposition. Here’s what I know: The pile of snakeskin and maggot-filled guts were in a pile about the size of a big cat, with the rattles sticking up on one end. The rattles had nine links (or buttons or whatever you call them). I couldn’t find the snake’s head, but the strips of skin I found showed that the white belly was about four inches across at the widest point.
According to the NatGeoWild website, “the eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America. Some reach 8 feet in length and weigh up to 10 pounds”. My brother-in-law, who knows about these things, says the number of segments in the rattle and the width of the belly indicate that the snake was likely to have been this large. Actually what he said, was “Wow.” Then he elaborated. He said that the last rattlesnake he saw in person had four segments on its rattle, and was six feet long.
This snake was an old dude, probably maxed out in length and only getting wider and heavier. I’m sorry he had to die, because even rattlesnakes have their important role to fulfill in the ecosystem. But I’m glad I didn’t step on him one night when I was hauling out the trash or rushing out to turn off a sprinkler I’d left on or doing any one of the million other things that often cause me to walk outside in my flip-flops (or barefoot; eeek!) after dark. And I’m glad none of the dogs or cats met up with him in an awkward way. Even though our dogs get a yearly rattlesnake vaccination, it doesn’t work for the Eastern Diamondback variety, which is most prevalent around here.
So Godspeed to the snake, the symbol of transformation, on to his own transformation from physical matter to pure potential energy. And here’s to Lupe, the most awesome Ninja-Goat ever.