A short story of my first encounter with an Eastern Timber Rattlesnake, told from the snake’s point of view. I’ll add in my defense that I now know I shouldn’t have disturbed the reptile, and next time I’ll leave it alone. The timber rattler is a protected species in Pennsylvania, and found mainly in the central and western mountains of the state. His proper name is Crotalus Horridus, but this one prefers to be called Doug.


(Back in the snake den, Doug is talking…. and talking…. and talking…. He corners another snake and stops him when he tries to slither away.)

“So wait till I tell you what happened!”

“Gee Doug, the wife was expecting me to bring home dinner, and I need to get a mouse quick.”

“Wait, this’ll just take a minute. I was in vacation in Pennsyltucky-“

“How did you get up there?”

“I flew.”

“Sure, you sprouted wings.”

“No, I flew in an airplane.”

“Oh come on, tell me another one.”

“Don’t Tread On Me”

“It’s true. Haven’t you heard that snakes can be on planes? Well anyway, I was vacationing in a place called the Pine Creek Gorge. It’s got lots of nice rocks and flat, level gravel that we can sun ourselves on. So I was resting there, soaking up some rays, conditioning the new skin – I’d shed the old coat, and all of a sudden I feel some water land on me. I looked up to see if it was raining and I saw one of those strange big creatures on two wheels squirting water at me from his water bottle.”

“So what did you do?”

“I showed him who was boss. I reared up and shook my rattle at him.”

“And what did he do?”

“Well, I’d hoped he’d drop the water bottle and run away, but he didn’t. He took out a camera and took photos of me. I was flattered of course, but I realized he may have had more water, so I slithered away. I kept shaking my rattle so he knew I was taking it easy on him. “

“You were lucky. Those two-wheeled creatures are dangerous.”

“Yeah. We need to get them outlawed. You should contact all your relatives who are lawyers or members of Congress.”