Snakes present an ‘unwelcome sight’ in Kentucky man’s yard
A man in Eastern Kentucky man said he videoed and then killed two rattlesnakes in his backyard on Wednesday that he felt were threatening.
Keith Caudill — of Viper, Ky. — posted a video, of two snakes wrestling to his Facebook page. Caudill told WKYT, the Herald-Leader’s reporting partner, that the pair were rattlesnakes and he killed them as a safety precaution.
“I had my 8-month-old son with me in the vehicle at the time, and I felt threatened,” Caudill said.
He said he wanted to share the video to show how dangerous the snakes can be. Both snakes were more than three feet long.
John MacGregor, herpetologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the video is “male combat between two timber rattlesnakes engaged in a shoving match to determine which male snake would earn mating rights to a nearby female.”
Timber rattlesnakes mate in mid-summer, McGregor said, and if two males happen upon the same female, they will often engage in a shoving match to show “dominance and fitness.”
“No biting is involved,” McGregor said. “Eventually the loser admits defeat and crawls away to seek his fortune elsewhere.”
He’s studied wild snakes for several years, but McGregor said he has never been fortunate enough to see it.
“I would like to get in touch with Mr. Caudill and ask him about the exact date and location for our records,” McGregor said. “What a neat thing to see.”
The female rattlesnake has a gestation period of over a year, McGregor said. So, the snakelets—about six to twelve per litter—will not be born until September or October of the following year.
The snakes are found in most of the state, with the exception of the Bluegrass region.
“They’re especially common in Eastern Kentucky and at Land Between the Lakes,” McGregor said. “The Mammoth Cave area also has a lot of them.”
If you encounter a rattlesnake, “the best thing to do is just back off,” McGregor said.
“Rattlesnakes are not aggressive,” McGregor said. “People are bitten when they’re either trying to catch one, hold one or kill one.”
If you are bitten by the snake you should seek medical treatment immediately.