The kids had been playing in the trees (shade ramadas) for about an hour. They had moved on to something else. I was collecting the shovels and hoes that they had been playing with. I knew there was a hoe under the tree so I asked Jake to run get it for me. I heard him yell, "Mom, there is a rattle snake over here. Come here!" I walked over and sure enough there he was rattling away. The kids must have disturbed him. He was not a happy camper. EJ somehow was elected to be the snake charmer. Hahahaha! Nikki and I were nervous about staying in that camp after finding him but we figured they were probably all over so we just needed to keep an eye out for others.
EJ with his mighty shovel.
We were afraid we would get in trouble for killing it but I researched that you can kill a rattlesnake in California if your animals or children are in danger.
Trying to look at the snake without getting too close.
This kid is so smart! I asked him how he knew it was a rattlesnake and he said, "Because I read about it in our snake books and it was rattling at me." He was so matter of fact and so calm. I asked if he stepped near it because it was in the trees with the branches hanging low over it. He said no because he heard it so he looked before he stepped into the trees and saw it. Sorry for the blurry picture.
The snake seemed really small to me. It was no longer than 18 inches and had 12 rattles. I just did a little google research and found out that the rattles don't determine age they determine how many times the snake has molted/shed. A free range snake can molt 3-6 times a year, each time they molt they gain a new rattle. This snake could have been anywhere from 2-12 years old.
They got up enough courage to pet it.
Jaileigh was so scared. Nikki gathered all the kids and had them stand on top of a picnic table until the snake had been "charmed". Jaileigh refused to get down. She stood up there and screamed until I came and carried her.
Pretty exciting first hour of camp!
In the name of science, I cut the rattles off to keep as a souvenir.