Barkley doesn't bark at every little thing, but it's not unusual to hear him barking out here in the country. When it goes on for a while, I usually think "What the hell is he barking at?". That happened this afternoon. I happened to voice that thought to my hubby, who went to investigate. What he saw was Barkley barking at something on the ground. That is never a good sign.
If he's barking at the trees, it could be a buzzard or a squirrel, a raccoon or even a opossum, depending on the time of day. On the ground, it's normally a snake. I have a healthy respect for snakes. They do a lot of good out here and I like what they do. Especially the eating rodents part. I try to leave them alone. So when we see a snake near the house, we do try to identify it (from a safe distance) before acting. If we're lucky, it's a nonpoisonous snake and we just get the dog in the house and the snake goes it's merry little way.
Today, it was a cottonmouth! We've never had a cottonmouth up close to the house before. At least not in all the years we've lived here. I heard my hubby in the closet (he was getting the shot gun) and asked what was wrong. He told me that Barkley was barking at a poisonous snake. I yelled at him to let me get my camera, but he didn't hear me (or didn't care to wait) and I wasn't quick enough. He shot it before I got there. We are not some of those people who believe that the only good snakes are dead ones, but we do indeed kill a poisonous snake if it's in the yard and we happen upon it. The last thing we need is to get snake bit by a poisonous snake!
I didn't get to see the snake alive. In fact, this was the first cottonmouth I've ever seen except for in water at a distance. Hubby said his mouth was white and his fangs came from a folded up position each time he opened his mouth. He also hissed and had been coiled up like a rattler. Even shaking his tail like one. He definitely had the puffed or triangular head shape too. When I carried it to throw it over the fence, I looked at the patterning on it's stomach, it looked like it had a diamond pattern like a rattler on the underside. The top was just dark. I wish I had seen it with it's mouth open, so I could be better prepared in case I ever run in to one again, but just the same, I get chills whenever I think of it. Hubby killed it on the bottom stairs to the deck.