Into Eden’s~

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wild west,

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coyotes rule,

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above the rest.

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Lords

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of the night,

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they reign
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supreme.

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But in the day,
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they step aside,
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when into Eden,

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serpents slide.

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This 12-year-old Southern Pacific Rattlesnake was about 20 feet from our door. She was well over 5 feet in length. My son said, “Aren’t you going to take her picture?”

I was so shocked by her too close presence that I forgot about taking pics which is a first for me, and I was a bit rattled when I finally took them! This is the wild west, and the rattlesnakes live here, and always have.

On another note, a genetic study was published a few days ago, which clarified there is only one true north american wolf, the grey wolf, others are coyote/wolf hybrids.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-wolf-species-20160727-snap-story-20160727-snap-story.html

Cheers to you from Eden’s Holler~

285 thoughts on “Into Eden’s~

  1. Wow wow wow. I would be shocked too! My goodness that just shows you that snakes can be anywhere and camouflaged. We have rattlers but they are more sand colored. I’m happy you got a shot of it going away.
    I really love the coyote photos. I have them too on my land. They look nothing like this, these seem to be well fed! 😛 Wonderful photos Cindy as always! Hugs to you! 🙂

    • Yes, Holler yotes are generally not scraggly and skinny. There is so much open space here and lots of critters for them to eat! Even Mrs. Rattler looked extremely well fed!

  2. Poor Purrseidon would probably have a fit if she found slobber in her personal pool (and that one looks a lot like her prize possession). As for the snake – yikes!

      • I don’t know if she’d like the snake or not … she is fascinated by frogs and toads, and hops all over the yard, as she follows them…. You should see the expression on Purrseidon’s face, when Saphera (husky mix) uses her pool to cool down!

      • I would love to see that! She sounds like a spunky one. I’ve seen the roadrunner chase very large snakes, but I’m not sure he would take on this behemoth!

  3. You were rattled…that’s priceless. 🙂 I am not really the panicking type but I can’t “do” snakes, they make me run and break any record by doing so.

    We lived in the South for a few years and lived in California when we were just married. I will never forget my first encounter with a snake and neither will the people who watched me. 🙂

  4. very interesting. I think many here in Germany would no be able to accept Coyotes or rattlers. We have a few wolves returning from the East and lots of folks is scared of this fact. And such snakes are yet another calibre…..

    • Yes there are a few remaining wolves in Europe and foxes and some venomous snakes which are rare. I think it is sad that Europe’s wolves and bears are almost gone.

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Cindy Knoke takes us from stained glass windows in grand edifices in Portugal to the magnificence of a natural edifice.. the Holler.. and wonderful photos of Coyotes, including their young, coming to drink at a very welcome human provided watering hole.. then there is the other force of nature.. the rattler.. please comment and share on Cindy’s post… you will love it.

    • Boy, a rattler of this size is a formidable beast! First she coiled up most of herself, she was too long to coil completely, and raised her head to strike. She stayed this way for a time, while I gaped at her in shock. My son snapped me out of it and I ran for the camera at which point she very leisurely moved away from us. WOW!

      • I am not a fan of snakes.. when I was a toddler up to 3 and a bit we lived in Sri Lanka and of course I was very effectively frightened away from them in case I was naturally curious.. cobras and other snakes were in our garden.. that aversion therapy has worked very well for the last 60 years! hugs

      • Those are such seriously gnarly snakes. Far more intense than a lowly rattler. You, my deah’ are the reason I blog. Bloggers are amazing people. I am so proud to know you. <3

  6. We have coyotes here too. They sometimes walk down our street at night. They must be very intelligent because they seem to know they aren’t wanted here. But they also know that they look a lot like a dog and there are a lot of dogs around. However, our dogs are usually on leash.
    Leslie

  7. I like the coyotes and feel that life can be quite difficult for them because they have been crowded out of their natural habitat. They are really beautiful. I love that you gave them water.

  8. Oh my, that is way too close for comfort. We had rattlers in the garden in Los Angeles and every time I saw one, I stayed indoors for days afterwards and took my dog out always on a leash. Do you have pets? With all that wildlife, I would be paranoid.

    • Small dogs and cats are not appropriate at The Holler unless they are rigidly kept indoors 24/7. Even a big dog, by himself, is at risk at The Holler. You have to have big, tough dogs, like ridgebacks who know how to handle themselves in this wild environment. No dog should ever be left out alone here.

    • I have always been struck by how wolf-like coyotes look and puzzled that some people like wolves but not coyotes. The new genetic data confirms what I was seeing. Wolves and coyotes, and coyotes and dogs, have been inter-breeding for a long time. Wild animals let you get a bit closer at The Holler because there are so few people out here, but we don’t get too close to threaten them.

      • Have you ever noticed that when you are close to the earth that all the angst disappears. We are from the earth, even though we long for wings. My husband and I were talking this morning at coffee about the famous thought by Henry David Thoreau: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Let’s sing and dance and celebrate our beautiful world. Hugs coming your way.

      • Yes! By all means we are of the earth, and the further away from it we get from it, the more unhinged we become. We are one with the wild ones. They know it, even when we don’t.

      • And you Matina, you are so right, we can dance if we want to, and no one can stop us until we die, at which point we can dance forever if we chose to. Smiles to you my friend~ <3

      • Oh the King Cobra is truly a king. What amazing creatures. They look even more directly at you than all wild ones. They make an assessment based on our relative risk to them, and leave us alone, or strike and spray. They are incredible creatures. Cobras are out of my competence class.

  9. That snake has his Sunday-Going-Courting clothes on. I guess he wants his 15 minutes of fame, same as everyone. Who wouldn’t want to be center stage at Cindy’s blog. For being rattled by the rattler, you did him justice. 🙂 Those coyotes must love your little swimming pool. What a kind neighbor you are. Interesting about the wolves and coyotes interbreeding. I wonder which is more hardy, the coyote, the wolf or the mixed-breed. My money’s on the mixed breed. 🙂

    • I suspect you are right. Genetic mixing makes stronerg genes. I watched a video of coyotes challenging a wolf in Yellowstone over the wolf’s kill. The wolf was more powerful, but he was alone, and the coyotes co-operated and were victorious. If a pack of wolves took on a pack of yotes, the wolves would have the day. They are both magnificent animals. The only thing I have personally seen take on a rattlesnake of this size are birds, mostly co-operating hawks. Amazing sight.

  10. We have some coyotes in streets of towns and cities in the Northeast, but they are not as well fed. They have no competition with rattlers for rodents here, they just don’t work hard enough to earn their keep. As for the rattlesnakes, you gave us good pictures and, with comments, stories giving reasons for wearing bite-proof boots instead of running shoes. And, how long would it take for one to get to a clinic to receive anti-venom serum in the Holler?

    • We all wear rattlesnake boots out here. This one was so big though, she could easily strike above the bootline. We are about 45 minutes from the nearest ER. Rattlesnake venom is evolving and increasing in strength especially in Southern Pacifics. They are both neuro and hepa toxic.

  11. We have coyotes in our woods too, Cindy, and I love hearing the whole pack yipping at night, though I rarely get to see them. Great photos. We have tons of snakes, but fortunately no rattlesnakes! 🙂

  12. How do you know the snakes age? Is it by the number of rings on the rattle? I’m trying to imagine a snake as big as I am tall right outside my door. I finally think I’ve come to accept the one foot garter snake that lives in my steps.

  13. OMGosh!! The snake would have pushed me over the edge! I’ve lived in Pennsylvania just about all of my life and didn’t find out until recently that we are practically overun by coyotes. Thank goodness I’ve never seen one up close and personal but it’s said that they pose no real threat to humans but I wouldn’t want to test that theory.

  14. Wow, there are quiet a few coyotes there, Cindy. They are beautiful creatures. The rattlesnake is scary, and you were this close… I didn’t know he keeps garden in proper balance. 🙂

    • Meep meep runs circles around the coyotes and snakes. It Peter Cottontail I am worried about. I haven’t seen him since the snake was here and that is very atypical.

      • I was debating whether this snake was pregnant, but it is out of season, and the cottontail is gone. So she most likely ate Peter Cottontail. The coyotes can’t get over our snake and coyote proof fences, but the snakes can!

  15. At first I thought it was a King snake! I know the Prairie rattler, also the Timber. Never knew of this one. I was born in the year of the Snake and have had several in my care in this lifetime. Love reptiles – so gentle and retiring. Also sweet shot of coyotes! xoxo

  16. Wow! That is really up close and personal. It was a rattlesnake on our mountain property lot that struck our dog as she tried investigating it, never knowing what it was and how dangerous. My husband rushed her down into Fort Collins to CSU’s veterinary teaching hospital and got her pumped up with anti-venom injections. She came through it fine and healed up, but still has the scars from the snake bite where it got her just above her muzzle. We’ve had a few up there at times, but not a lot of encounters like that.

    • I am surprised your dog made it, probably due to your quick action and taking him to CSU where the staff knew what they were doing. People are dying from snake bite in increasing numbers. Southern Pacific’s have intense neuro and hepa toxic venom that is evolving. I would prefer it greatly if they were outside our snake fences!

      • Interesting info. We are a lot more careful now up there on our mountain property with our dog and our small grandchildren. Our dog (Maggie) still likes chasing after the small game, and can’t keep her nose out of the dense underbrush where she spots or smells a rabbit or other game. Our veterinarian told us after that incident that she would have probably survived the bite. It was not the diamond back rattlesnake like those in Az., but the kind of rattler more common to our mountains here.

  17. I would be terrified of the snakes!!!! Great photo of it though! I love the coyotes, they are so cute drinking water from the pool! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  18. You have the whole clan of coyotes. It is nice of you to have water out side for wild life. Ms. Rattle looks very scary. I would be in the shock state to see one that big and that close.

  19. Though I came late to Arizona I believe I will, now, always consider it my home. It calls to me and even so I know I will not answer the call. But when I saw your photos I could hear the coyotes “singIng” through the night up and down the wash behind our home and I felt a deep sense of longing. Perhaps it’s all just part of missing Don. No matter, thank you so much for sharing your photos 🙂

    • Oh you have given me goosebumps that are remaining. You are touching on something I believe may be very important. We humans have a visceral connection to the natural world. Those singing coyotes at night became as much a part of your bio-rhythms as they are for every animal in their eco-system.
      As you prepare for sleep hearing their yips, rouse at night when they carry on loudly, go back to sleep as they quiet, they become part of your normal nightly routine. You, the coyotes, and all the other animals living in that eco-system are co-existing with each other, unconsciously influencing each other.
      When you take human beings out of the natural world, and put them in cities, without the comforts afforded by the natural world, you take away the healing balm that we as animals derive from being directly part of the natural world.
      Add putting people in flourescent lighted cubicles all day, eating food in plastic micro-waved packages in the office kitchen, and it is no wonder to me that people in urban environments are overwhelmed with stress, anxiety and depression.
      I know a long time ago, well before I moved out here, that I could reduce my urban stress levels by going out in nature. Living in a natural place has been an eye opener to me. I had no idea how bad city life was for me.
      This “deep sense of longing” you so eloquently describe might be a direct reaction to being removed from nature’s unconscious comfort.

      • I definitely feel you are right Cindy. From age 4 1/2 to age 14 I lived in rural Virginia, we had farm animals, a garden and a close relationship with the natural life occurring around us. Insects, birds, deer, frogs, snakes, a river, a swamp, life and death were happening all the time. Don and I were so blessed when we lived in AZ, again in a rural environment, in the valley between the Huachuca Mountains and the Mule Mountains. Don and I both were definitely more at peace while living there, spending hours just sitting watching the Gambel Quail families. Modern life forces people to live in cities, that’s where the hospitals are, where younger relatives are, where all that we now feel necessary to our existence is. I am reminded of the rats in a maze, people running around caught in the city trap. Without ever hearing the coyotes singing in the wash.

  20. It’s official! Coyotes drink water out of a blue plastic water tub. ( Though I guess they probably don’t see the colour?) Cheers to their amazing ability to find what they need!

  21. What a truly great post. I love coyotes and your pictures were so wonderful. Thank you for the final info… that the gray wolf is the only true wolf. I never knew that. Really enjoyed this very much.

    • I was just so puzzled by the coyotes. They look so wolf like, and they organize and co-operate to hunt in packs. To me they look like slightly smaller wolves. Now I know why. They are.

  22. Wow, WILD LIFE at the Holler is really wild! That is one big snake (shudder-shudder) and the coyotes really do look a lot like Wile E. 😉 I’ll have a look at that article. I read recently that DNA testing has confirmed that what we call eastern coyotes are mostly wolf crossed with western coyote and dog. A real Heinz mix. Evolution continues.

  23. I absolutely love not just your gorgeous photos, but how much you are in harmony with nature! And it sounds like your son is, too. 🙂 You raised him right! It gives me such joy to know there are people like you in the world. x

    • Awww, so lovely of you and I feel the same way about you. Blogging is so wonderful because it connects us with like heart and mind people we would otherwise have no opportunity to meet. You give me hope Teresa~ <3

  24. Fascinating Cindy, Ironically when I was in Arizona this past winter, I went to an art gallery where artist and sculptors displayed their work and I met an artist who was telling me all about the Grey wolf. If my terrible memory serves me, I think he said there aren’t many left, and the ones that are, are in Mexico. 🙂

  25. Cindy, it’s so wonderful to see the coyotes back at their favorite summer resort! Looks like that pack is doing quite well with an adult with some juveniles there (4th and 5th image from the top)! And what a beautiful rattler. She probably wanted a photo opportunity too, haha! But I would’ve been too mesmerized to take photos as well! 😀

    • I was just now reflecting what a fraidy-cat I was when I first moved out here. I had nightmares about coyotes and rattlesnakes. Now I want to get their pics! 😉

  26. Are the rattlers looking for water, too? She’s very full figured. 🙂 I suppose she was as surprised to see you as you were to see her. You were both frozen to the spot. She probably took a memory photograph of you and added a hash tag # safe person, not known to bite. 😀

  27. Where were you when you took these pictures? Looks like whoever hosted you were thinking of children with the wading pool or providing a watering trough for the locals.
    If I lived there I’d want to open carry a gun to protect my territory from critters who could take a bite out of me!

    • That pool is a todddler pool we set up for wildlife watering due to the horrendous drought we are having here. I carry bear spray as a precaution. It is less lethal and I have never had to use it,.

  28. Cindy, you are brave indeed to get close enough to take that rattler’s picture! The coyotes’, too. Although they’re kinda cute (almost look dog-like), I know they can be fierce. No way do I want Dallas meeting face-to-face with one…or more!

  29. Excellent photos! Yes, I even love the rattlesnake…from a safe distance, of course!
    Coyotes are here on the Washington coast, too – we hear them talking to each other late at night.
    🙂

  30. Amazing photos Cindy and the coyotes looks like, they find enough food 😀
    This rattle snake was big. I’m learning not to be as scared as I was in the beginning here in Spain. I respect them and give them time to leave, when I meet them, but I don’t have passion for them. We do have the same rights to live, no matter human or animal.

    • I had to google this. I didn’t realize you had five venomous snake species in Spain. I learn new things everyday from bloggers. I know Portugal and the UK have them. Thank you for enlightening me. The biggest safety precautions I employ are snake boots and careful monitoring of where I step or put my hands, as long as I remember to do this!!

      • I have met some in my time here and because I have had not so good experiences with some snakes years ago, no bites, I have had to learn about them to avoid bites at all. Knowledge helps a lot.
        The most big as I met here, I wrote a post about then. It was between 2,5 – 3 meters and thick enough to take rabbits without any problems. These are not usual in Spain, but some people left their animals of different kind in our nature, when they could not take care of them any longer. This one was very dark in color.

  31. Aren’t those coyotes just glorious! But the snake…well…I do not know if I could have composed myself that much – to take the photos. In Sweden we only have one poisonous snake, and when we met a big one this summer I managed a photo as well. But far, far from as dangerous as this one.

  32. Snakes in the grass…, and crying Wolf ! Can’t wait for what will pop up next, Cindy, as long as it’s not a cottontail eating more of my green bean plants !!! You seem to have A LOT of coyotes there. Are you encouraging them ??? Those critters like cottontails for dinner as well as the rattlers ! Loved the pics. 🙂

    • “Snakes in the grass…, and crying Wolf!”
      Yep, that sums up The Holler! 😉
      I set up the pool because of the horrendous drought and the need for wildlife to have water. All sorts of creatures drink from it. But the coyotes are dominant.

  33. Looks like Butch and Sundance have returned.
    “Raindrops keep falling on my head
    and just like the man whose feet are too big for his bed ~”

    Beware of snakes bearing apples. 🙂 🙂

    • He must have been a really responsible child because that is a dangerous pet. My son had two in aquariums in his apartment but he was in grad school studying them.

    • They are definitely a critter to be realistically feared and dogs are at significant risk around them. Strange that the snake was on a frozen pond and not in it’s winter den. Something must have driven it out.

      • Okay, now I get you. I have heard the coyotes take calves down and seen the after effects but have never actually seen the process since it occurs at night thank God. I know they take calves from cows as they deliver and this causes the mama cows to wail for days and nights. Really terribly sad to hear and think about. They are wild predators as you well know.

  34. Oh Cindy, I am so thrilled with this post! Your coyote friends are so healthy and robust, great to see pups, and wonderful that you’re giving out abundant free water during this hottest and dryist of times. And the rattlesnake blew me away!! We, too, in our northern Calif. home get rattlers, and I am all for letting them live, so that’s the first bravo. But this one is huge! Such a divine creature. Thanks so much for sharing this, and for nobly sharing your homeland with all the wildlife.

  35. Impresionante la serie de fotos de los coyotes, pero las fotos de la serpiente de cascabel “ponen los pelos de punta”, que diríamos por aquí. ¿No pasate miedo? La naturaleza salvaje es maravillosa, pero hay que andarse con cuidado para evitar accidentes. Buen fiende y un abrazo, Cindy <3

    • Si serpientes de cascabel son muy peligrosos y que no les gustan a mi lado o cerca de mi casa! Tener un domingo maravilloso mi amiga y estar bien! Abrazos~ <3

  36. Can see why you might be rattled but you managed some pics! Your coyotes obviously love the paddling pool on offer. Not Air B and B but water! Much needed here too at present!

  37. I know two women who’ve been bitten by a rattle snake. One was airlifted to a hospital, treated and recovered quickly. The other was in the hospital for two weeks. I have great respect for those snakes, coupled with an abundance of caution. I’m glad you’re okay. Your love of all animals shines through.

  38. Hi Cindy. You have your own nature preserve, I see. I hope you used a telephoto lens to shoot the snake! Impressive that you took the photos. I would have run. 🙂

    • No telephoto for the snake, but we stayed out of her stress and strike zone. My son is an expert on rattlersnakes and quite competent around them. I trust his judgement. I have learned a lot from him about them which has helped me overcome my irrational fear of them. Now my fear of them is lessened and more fact based and rational~

    • I have been so struck by the similarities watching our coyotes and comparing them to my friend’s wolves. She has two grey wolves. The wolves are bigger but otherwise so similar~

    • Good for you! Coyotes are intelligent, adaptive and highly successful predators. Rattlesnakes are equally successful predators. Maybe their success makes people dislike them, combined with fear. Fear is the biggest source of hostility.

  39. We started feeding a feral cat and now there are 4 on our porch begging for food every morning. What a great way to attract coyotes by providing water! BTW, how do you know this was a12-year old rattlesnake? Does the rattle reflect their age? It is a magnificent snake, beautiful markings.

    • We have bobcat, rare cougar, raccoon and other tracks around The Holler. We were providing water due to the insanely terrible ongoing drought conditions for all the wildlife. Even the hawks want the water. But, the coyote packs have taken the water over and laid claim to it.
      And yes, you age a rattler by counting the rattle chambers. My son says just what you said about rattlesnakes, “Aren’t they beautiful!” I respect people who see and say this. If we put our fear aside for a minute, we can see they are incredibly designed for what they do.

      • so glad you are helping the critters out with water – perfect photo opportunities in close proximity 🙂 I am fascinated by snakes, they don’t scare me. But I do keep a respectful distance.

      • Hello Cindy,

        Love your photos. I was just searching southern pacific rattlesnakes because I recently saw one on a job site in San Diego. Your photos of the one above showed up. I in no way want to be a know it all but “call me crazy” I have 2 pet western diamondback rattlesnakes. I’ve had them both now for a little over a year. Within this time, each one has shed its skin 5 to 6 times. It’s a common misconception that each rattle marks a year. Depending on their diet, more food or less, will determine how often they shed. I feed mine every 2 to 3 weeks. Just wanted to “shed” some light on the subject. Great photos! Thank you for posting for our pleasure.

        • Thank you for the more accurate info. So they grow new rattles when they shed? How interesting Thank you for shedding some light on the issue. It’s rattlesnake season at The Holler right now and neighbors are reporting lots of sightings, more than normal for this time of year. I’m sure you heard about the man who got bitten on both thumbs picking something up from the ground. I haven’t heard how he is. Thanks again for the heads up and be careful with your tenants!

  40. No coyotes here in Australia…only Dingos which are also mixing into the dog population.
    I love the justaposition of the wild west and coyotes and the toddler pool! xx Rowena

  41. Love the photos. The wolves are adorable drinking out of the pool. I cannot believe that snake lives so close to you. You are one brave family!

  42. There are coyotes around here and I love listening to them at night, but other than that, I’m not too keen on them. We live in a subdivision, but that doesn’t keep them away.
    The rattler is gorgeous! It is much prettier than the rattlesnakes we have here in Ohio. Great photos!

  43. I have heard the coyotes calling to each other at night.
    Last week, I saw my first tarantula walking on the sidewalk. I was so shocked by the size of the spider, I didn’t even think about taking pictures.
    Haven’t seen a rattlesnake around here yet, but if I do…I might not remember to take its photo either.
    And I didn’t get a photo of the scorpion either, because I was too busy rescuing my cat (even though the cat didn’t seem to be too worried about following the scorpion around). I am definitely not used to being in Texas yet!

    • I had a reptivite nightmare when we first moved here. I was being chased by coyotes at night when my car broke down, and ran into an orchard port a potty to escape them. The port a potty was full of black widow spiders and a coiled rattler!
      Welcome to The Holler!
      Now when I see any of these creatures, I am interested, and run for my camera! It does get better.

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