4 Tips for Handling a Rattlesnake
Today I was running on the trail at White Rock and was so deep in my thoughts that I almost stepped right on a five foot long snake that was sunning on the dirt trail. It had been quiet on that stretch, because one of the bridges was out (something I had yet to discover that that point) so the snake had found the spot just a fine place to hang out and warm up.
I, on the other hand, had a jolt of adrenaline from the split second when I thought I might tread on the snake and be bitten. I had the presence of mind to glance at the snake’s tail-no rattles. It was just a bull snake. But either rattler or bull snake will bite if startled. The difference is that the rattler will require a trip to the emergency room.
After running on past the snake, I was thinking about how both the rattlesnake and the bull snake will bite out of fear. So do people at work—they can react with a poisonous attitude when startled, or strike out when fearing your next move. A rattler at work will give you a serious bite with lingering venom, while a bull snake’s nip will fade quickly, so it’s best to be able to recognize which snake you are dealing with.
- A rattler will make a lot of noise, to you, your team, your manager, and others beyond your department. This has the potential to poison others against you if your reputation hasn’t been firmly established. The best way to handle this is to slowly retreat, but don’t turn your back.
- If you have come upon a rattlesnake, he may bite you before realizing you meant no harm. Even if he realizes later that you were not a threat, the venom still leaves lasting damage. Better to smooth over the problem and move on quickly, and don’t cross his path again if you can help it.
- A warning rattle may be heard before a snake strikes, but not always. Understand that if you startle a rattler, it may not always warn you before biting. Keep yourself aware of where you are stepping, especially in unknown territory.
- A rattlesnake can strike up to 2/3 of its length. So beware that if there is a full grown snake at the end of your conference table, it might be able to reach you at the other end. Best to stay out the meeting (and off the project) with any rattlesnake if possible.
A bull snake will bite, but it’s not all that painful and there’s no venom to hurt you. The magnanimous choice would be to forgive the bull snake, understanding that it only struck out of fear, after all. If you see a bull snake, try a little peace, love and understanding.
But the rattler? Best steer clear. It's just in her nature to strike.