Rattler and Tarantula visited my patio today...

Discussion in 'Nature' started by DHart, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    We've had bobcats, coyotes, huge owls, huge toads, scorpions, but today, we hit one out of the park.

    Late this morning, my Golden Lab alerted at the window to the patio... with a more serious alert barking than just a mild bark at some birds... so I came to see what all his excitement was about. He knew that this was something I should know about right away! Very alert and very smart dog, he is! Always on the lookout out the windows.

    Yeah, buddy, I concluded, this alert was definitely of a special order. A Western Diamondback Rattler was visiting our patio. Kind of a big deal considering that my wife was sitting out on the patio just around a slight corner from the rattler and she was blissfully surfing the web on her iPad - completely unaware of the company she was keeping on the patio. I called her into the house, first thing! Then went about capturing some images.

    Once he was on to me, he took some shelter beside the sliding glass door at the master bedroom.

    I vigorously scooted him off the patio with a very long pole. He was definitely quite agitated by my encouragement and decided to head off into the desert.

    A few hours later, I looked out onto the patio only to see an itsy, bitsy spider walking along...

    He stepped off of the patio onto some rocks laid to prevent soil erosion from water run off... the size of the rocks should give a good sense of "scale" with regard to the size of the "itsy bitsy spider"

    I placed a tennis ball in his path, hoping to get an image with him and the ball together...

    And a final image of him as he slowly sauntered off into our desert back yard.

    Yes... we live in the Sonoran desert in Scottsdale, AZ! Desert wildlife is expected here. This is our backyard... the Tonto National Forest. It is a magical, primeval
    place indeed, where only the toughest plants and animals can survive!


    It was a more exciting day than usual around here! :biggrin: Images of the rattler and the tarantula captured with a decent dose of adrenalin, a GX7, and Pany 14-140 lens.
    • Like Like x 24
  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    They heard you moved from Oregon and wanted to make sure that you dried out OK! :biggrin:

  3. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I never had any snakes at my house when I lived in Az....
  4. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You don't want to mess with those rattlers! But at least they do give a warning, if they see you first that is. Give that dog a biscuit for being so alert!

    I am over in south-eastern NM and we have both of those critters here although I have never seen a rattler in my yard, I have seen many tarantulas however. This year the scorpions have been terrible, especially at the church where I work.
  5. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    s&s... we've just seen one tiny scorpion so far this year... fortunately that's it. The rattler on the patio was a little bit of an eye opener, though!

    The precious dog has had lavish praise and rewards all day long! :)
  6. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    Wow..... great neighbours!!!!

    Nice shots. Love the one outside your bedroom.... can almost see the glint in its eyes.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Ccasey

    Ccasey Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I heard from a friend the other day that rattlers around our area are changing their behavior to NOT rattle so much, presumably because it makes them a target. While I count myself lucky to have not tested that one out personally, my friend found himself about 6 feet away from one that was obviously aware of his presence and not too happy about it, but not making any noise.

    Nice pictures, Don. Totally irrational of me, I know, but the tarantula shots freak me out far more than the rattler.

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    You live in a great area for photography.Nice pictures. Maybe the reason you don't have many scorpions is the tarantellas eat them?
    • Like Like x 1
  9. foxtail1

    foxtail1 Science geek & photo nut Subscribing Member

    Dec 30, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Nice photography, Don, but scary subjects! Especially that spider. Ewww.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Annnnnd I'm never moving to Scottsdale :tongue:

    Good job on the alert bark Harley - and I'm glad all this afforded was an interesting photo op and not anything more "exciting"!
    • Like Like x 2
  11. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Sounds like your Golden did a nice job, but I really think I'd want a mongoose or two if I had rattlers on my patio...
    • Like Like x 1
  12. drcolby

    drcolby Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2012
    I am wondering where in desert this is? We have a place in Tubac and have yet to be treated to these kind of "critters." We also have a big dog that loves to chase critters. Hopefully he wont' get the opportunity.

  13. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Our neighbor has lived here for years and hasn't once seen a rattler or a tarantula. Our house hasn't been treated.... meaning plugging the many small rodent holes and such around the place where snakes can hunt and take residence. I think once we do that, we may not see another one for years, if at all. It was a bit freaky, to say the least! But likely a rare occurrence. Of course, there's nothing artful about the pics... I was adrenalized big time and just snapping images. Glad I got some... great for our stock of images to go into the personal memory book I'm going to get published some day.

    drcolby.. we're in the Rio Verde Foothills area... North Scottsdale... between Carefree and Rio Verde.

    The tarantula was really pretty cool... he moved very slowly and deliberately, didn't appear to be bothered by my presence as long as I didn't get too close. Most species of them are relatively harmless to humans... not that I'd invite one into the house (as some people actually do!)
  14. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I'll be in Scottsdale first week in November - I'm hoping that any shots I take of Western Diamondback Rattlers are done with a long telephoto lens!
    • Like Like x 1
  15. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Well, that's one place that's out as a retirement location. My wife would head straight to the the nearest airport and head back east the first time she saw either of those creatures. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  16. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Heck, we get those here in San Diego too. In my back Patio, I've had a Rattler, a Tarantula, several Black Widows, and a Bobcat. Non-venomous snakes are a monthly if not weekly occurrence, and I have so many Geckos around that I consider them to be my pets. The Tarantula that I saw crawling up a brick wall last year was noticeably larger than a tennis ball.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I joked about that when my Mom had a large non-venomous snake (believe it was a red coachwhip). It turns out that it's illegal to import Mongooses to the U.S.
  18. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    To a new resident here, these sightings can certainly be a bit un-nerving. But with some familiarity and taking some measures, I think these local critters aren't to be feared. Knowledge and employing good situational awareness is important, but that holds true almost everywhere... situational awareness... a great thing to cultivate and employ - you don't want to be walking around oblivious to your surroundings.

    I should add that I did ultimately kill the snake. I felt very sorry for the snake. I very much dislike killing animals un-necessarily (though I am an avid firearms shooter). The proximity of this snake to our patio posed just a bit too much of a risk and future threat to my family, particularly to my dog. I did not want to encounter this snake, where we hang out, ever again. Had it been anywhere but my back patio, I would have simply avoided the snake and let him head off to wherever he wanted to be. But there is zero tolerance on my back patio.

    The tarantula, on the other hand, being relatively harmless... I observed closely while he slowly plodded off into the desert. My situational awareness while outside is even more keen now, but not fearful.
  19. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Man did he! He's always at the doors and windows scanning the place and alerts us to things all the time. He even chases large birds flying immediately overhead. It's in his DNA. Alerts when looking out the window is usually to jackrabbits and such that he sees outside. And the barks are characteristically quite mild, barely even a bark, really. This time, he really knew this was something we need to tend to right away and made that quite evident in a very commanding tone. Amazing, loving, and very smart dog... constant companion and my best friend, for sure.

    • Like Like x 3
  20. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Great shots! I've visited your neighborhood, but I wouldn't want to live there. A bit too warm, dry and filled with prickly things. :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
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