2010-08-18 / Front Page

The bell-tails are crawling

by Terry Toole

Officer Scott Cleveland killed a large rattlesnake in town Officer Scott Cleveland killed a large rattlesnake in town Once in awhile you can hear law enforcement officers called to come get a snake out of the house or yard. I'm not sure that is in their job description, but they do it.

Colquitt Police Officer Scott Cleveland was coming to work last week when he saw something on the Spring Creek Bridge. He got out, and faced this almost six foot Eastern diamondback rattlesnake. He killed the large reptile. The snake was 5 foot 11 inches long, well-fed and had 12 rattlers and a button.

The combines are running the bell-tails out of the fields and into the woods, roadways and even in yards and carports.

Between 7000 and 8000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S.A. each year. About five of those die. About 72 percent of those bitten are males.

Rattlesnakes consume mice, rats, small birds and other small animals. They subdue their prey quickly with a venomous bite as opposed to constricting. The venom will immediately stun or kill typical prey. Rattlesnake venom can kill in 20 seconds, but a rattlesnake will follow prey that does not quickly succumb to the venom and attempts to escape. Rattlers are known to strike at distances up to two-thirds their body length.

Some folks say that every snake is a rattlesnake to them, but the common king snake, a constrictor, is famous for being largely immune to the venom of rattlesnakes and other vipers, and therefore rattlesnakes form part of this snake's natural diet in the wild.

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