A Perimeter

I noted in recent post about our departed snake friend that it had come inside the “perimeter.”  In fact, it was right here at the base of the gate.

Not a great place for a poisonous snake to be, in the dark, when I’m trying to bring in water and groceries and not paying attention to my surroundings. 😉

The aforementioned perimeter idea came about after an encounter with a rattlesnake under my car.  It was several years ago, when we first moved off grid,  and subsequently into the middle of the wilderness.  It was something I had to accept might be in the norm in our new way of living.  With that acceptance, however, I decided we also needed some boundaries so I came up with the following:

(Taken from the blog post Invasion):

…I have created a perimeter around the cabin, yard, shed, etc.-about 3/4 of an acre out of 6.5 acres–and then created AND announced my intent to all creatures that I share land and sky with. It goes like this:


“If you are poisonous and/or dangerous and you come into the perimeter and I cannot relocate you in a manner wherein I don’t get stung or bit–you die.”

And then we carved the perimeter out of the prairie we sit on-both with use and mowing.

It’s quite a clear (for the humans) delineation between wilderness and our living space.  However I do understand that the critters could know or care less about my perimeter AND that many, many more rattlesnakes cross it on a daily basis than I do or will ever see.  

(But that’s the key…just don’t let me see you…)

Please understand, I have no particular issue with rattlesnakes as a species.  If I see them on the road, I don’t swerve to run over them.  If I see them out on hikes and runs, I go around them.  Basically, if they’re not in the perimeter, I view them like any other critter and leave them be.

Killing them when I see them in the perimeter is about general safety practices for my family and animals (and obeying my stated intent) not about an effort to see them extinct from the earth, as I know many people in these parts might wish for.  

I do however, give homage and empathy to all who fear snakes-as it’s not entirely unreasonable.  Getting bit by one isn’t recommended.  I know this first hand as many years ago, and in a different location, I was bitten by a rattlesnake.  It was painful and costly and it should be noted that it did not rattle before biting me.  

As a side note…here’s the deal-the rattlesnakes didn’t get the memo about rattling every time a human comes near them.  I assure you that is the best case scenario when they have enough warning that you are coming.  But just as we can be surprised by them, they can be surprised by us.  Case in point; just as the one that bit me didn’t rattle, neither did the two I killed this weekend.  

Despite all of that, I care very little for killing any living thing, poisonous or not and if I could safely relocate rattlesnakes I would. I know they are a vital part of the ecosystem we live in–without them our rodent population would be completely unmanageable. (Having lived through a season of an overpopulation of rodents I can solemnly attest that I appreciate the service our snakes provide.)

But I digress…

Regardless of how I feel about it, the fact remains that we live amongst poisonous reptiles and insects.  Therefore we learn to take precautions when interacting with our environment.

  • Wearing boots instead of sandals
  • Carrying or wearing light when outside at night
  • Keeping the grass cut and trash/debris up and 
  • Watching carefully where hands and feet are placed.

Not too much to ask to get to live the way we choose and have a daily front row seat to all the beauty and surprises our wilderness home has to offer!

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