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31 July 2007

Circle of LIfe

Yesterday, heading up to town, I came across a Diamondback Rattlesnake again. Probably the one I straddled the other day. This time, I was too late to save him. I'd like to give the locals the benefit of the doubt and believe he was just in a bad spot and the running over was unintentional and unavoidable. Circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. *sigh*

We tend to think of butterflies as dainty, delicate delights that gracefully flit from flower to flower, sipping nectar all day. The actual truth isn't quite so enchanting. Many butterflies include the juices from rotting fruit, dead animals and animal feces in their liquid diet.

I cropped the pics for the sake of the squeamish.

While I took these pictures, another truck went past, stradding the whole mess. The Tiger Swallowtail sat tight the whole time. The draft blew him over to a near 90 degree angle, but he held on, uprighted himself and went on with his dinner.

Flies, butterflies, ants, vultures, rats... the cleanup crew isn't always pretty, and is often held in contempt, but it does its job amazingly well. And there is a sort of beauty in that. I just wish we'd stop keeping them so busy.

And that's the end of this rattler's tale.


Anonymous said...

Great post.

It's sad how often folks will run a nsake over ON PURPOSE. Of course, I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

oops - that'd be "snake".


SophieMae said...

T-fish, I don't get it, either. One would think people would know better by now.

re oops... doncha just hate topys. 8-}

Meems said...

i'm sad someone thought the rattler didn't deserve to live out its days naturally. your butterfly snap and description of the clean- up crew is fabulous. every creature has a job to do and isn't it amazing how none of them need lessons in how to do it?

on a side note:
do you have a recommendation or advice for me on the purchase of a new camera? i would be ever so grateful - you can e-mail me at

SophieMae said...

Meems, my webmail program seems to have a habit of rearranging some of the lines. In case it caused any confusion, the pbase link is where I compare pics from different cameras. I don't know how it made its way to the bottom. 8-}

Steve said...

This is good writing!

And I'm sorry to see a beautiful creature meet its demise by the ignorance of humans. Whether that was the case with this one or not, I witness it regularly enough to believe it could be.

I watched a huge tiger swallowtail in my yard today...another fantastic animal!

SophieMae said...

Thanks ever so, Steve! 8-]

Human ignorance never ceases to amaze and confound me.

We're finally seeing a few more butterflies in this area. They love the wet clay on our road. I wouldn't tell my neighbours, but I'm really glad they keep putting off paving it. 8-}

Steve said...

I don't blame you for that. There's more poetry in a half mile of dirt road than in fifty miles of highway, even if the car occupants ARE listening to NPR.

Floridacracker said...

Did you collect his rattles or had someone beat you to it? They seem to be missing.
Poor rattler, it seems pretty big ... maybe a female?

I've seen a butterfly slurping on a fresh dog poop ... it does tarnish their delicate thing of beauty status a bit.

SophieMae said...

Steve, I have to confess... I listen to NPR... if I'm out on a Saturday evening... they air a Big Band music program. 8-}

FC, somebody beat me to the rattles. How does one sex a snake, anyhow? Under-scales? He/she definitely appeared to have been fat and healthy.

I've refrained from posting some of my butterfly pics. They're just too disgusting.

misti said...

Wow, awesome photo! I saw my first rattlesnake last weekend and have been seeing lots of tiger swallowtails latelky. I didn't realize they enjoyed rotting meat!

SophieMae said...

Thanks for stopping by, Misti! I'm amazed how many people have never seen a diamondback. We didn't see many butterflies this year till it finally started raining. Things are picking up nicely now. 8-]

Steve said...

Oh, I'm an NPR person, too. In fact right now I'm listening to A Prairie Home Companion and eagerly awaiting the Thistle and Shamrock.

MLM said...

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly do you mean by, "I was too late to save him"? What do you do with them?