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SPOTLIGHT
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It was raining snakes

Published on -10/24/2011, 11:27 AM

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By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Forget shark week.

It was snake day recently, as I motored around a piece of northwest Kansas.

Two of them were prairie rattlesnakes, that much is for certain, and they had markedly different attitudes.

The other three snakes -- only one of which was alive -- were different species. The two not-so-live ones were most likely bull snakes, based on what little color I was able to discern.

The one spotted alive was hard to identify, as it was quick to scamper back into the road ditch as I happened by.

All I know is I saw a quick-moving snake, with what appeared to be a yellow belly.

I wouldn't vouch for my identification skills, considering how fast that critter was moving.

What brought out the snakes is even less certain, other than it was a relatively mild day, following on the heels of a cool morning.

And I'd be horribly remiss if I didn't say there was rain in the forecast, even though it ended up being 5 days in the future.

Let's face it, snakes are fairly accurate harbingers of what is to come in terms of rainfall, although they do have a bit of a problem forecasting when it will be.

While I took all that in stride, the rattlesnakes were the most impressive.

One, I got a good look at. The other, he didn't like my truck, raised up as if ready to strike and then headed off into the ditch.

It was the first one, however, that gave me opportunity to get up close and personal, yet far enough away to remain out of range of its fangs, which, I'm sure were quite ready to spring out and sink in my leg or other appendage near and dear to my heart.

For the most part, it wasn't bothered by people passing by, me or the other person who stopped to take a few photos.

It didn't, however, like me moving around too much and coiled up, telling me it was time to go away, that he was done posing for photos.

Yet I persisted, even getting back into the safety of my vehicle, driving forward so that I was up close and personal -- with solid steel between us.

Its head, so large and triangular shaped, was simply striking.

Not that he wasn't, if you catch my drift.

But here was this "little" snake, about 3 feet long, and when he tired of me, he meant business.

The buzzing of his rattle, able to be heard over the rushing 30 mph winds, was simply enough to make a person think twice -- and be thankful for zoom lenses.

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