I almost walked right into this little* guy down at the Salton Sea last weekend. He was sunning himself at the deep end of an empty swimming pool behind the Aces & Spades club.
*We guestimate he was about 3 or 4-feet long and a couple inches in diameter. But that was last Saturday. Today he's 10-feet long and four inches in diameter and next week he'll be triple that size. With fangs the size of steak knives.
On previous trips through that part of the North Shore, most everything has been fenced off, but this time huge sections of the fence that once secured the old pool had been removed. I thought it might be cool to see what things looked like from the deep end of the pool.
I'm so glad I looked down into the pool before I was in it. When I saw Mr. Rattlekins, I almost crapped myself. I've never seen a real, live snaky snake in the outdoors before.
The immediate fear was surprising, even though he was at least eight feet below me. I thought at any moment he could spring up from the pool and sink his 14-inch fangs into my face.
As soon as I got my breath back, I started shouting DAD, DAD, DAD, DAD, DAD!!! but he was already around the front of the building. I snapped a few shots then went to find him.
I then noticed how much dry brush surrounds every path on the premises. And me, without my kevlar pants, having to walk through all that to find my dad.
When I found him, I told him what was in the pool and he couldn't wait to see it for himself. We went back to the pool, but by that time Mr. Handbag had wound himself underneath a dry palm frond, probably trying to hide from the biped that wouldn't stop shouting "DAD!"
I watched my Dad instantly transform from a mature, responsible man to a six-year-old boy as he started throwing twigs and debris into the pool to get the snake to move. If he'd had a stick long enough, he would have used it to poke him.
My protests fell on deaf ears - he was determined to drive Mr. Rattleboots out from under the palm frond. But the rattler wouldn't budge and I was relieved. We left him there and I was happy to head home to change my pants.