RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – You never know what you may encounter in the South Texas wildlands. Richard Moore shows us it is best to be vigilant when exploring the blooming brush country.
The wildlands of deep South Texas are beautiful this spring. Wildflowers carpet ranch country senderos, while Prickly pear and Pitaya cactus are in full bloom.
This is a spectacular year for Pitaya or strawberry cactus, and the brilliant purple flowers glow in the warm sunshine. Later, after the blooms fade, the fruit, which tastes like strawberries, will be a much sought after delicacy for a variety of wildlife.
Whitetail deer are shedding their antlers this time of year, and while out admiring the myriad blooms you may discover an antler nestled amongst the flowers.
However, it is best to tread carefully and look closely before reaching down to retrieve a fallen antler, as this shed has a telltale rattle tucked up against it. The rattle is attached to the end of a loosely coiled Diamondback that is reposing adjacent to the shed.
Flicking its tongue to detect scent, the imposing rattler peers ominously out thru the grass. Looking at the snake’s head from the back you can see the distinctive triangular shaped head of the diamondback where its lethal fangs are secured and poised ready to strike.
Later, the guardian snake begins to slowly uncoil from its vigil, gracefully sliding its six feet of venomous power away until finally the rattles slip soundlessly past the discarded antler.
With a marvelous fluidity of motion, the impressive snake smoothly skims across the forest floor; its supple and muscular length a flowing contraction of diamondback patterns blending in perfectly with its terrestrial domain, and with rattles held high vanishes.
Only to reappear momentarily on its primordial slither, gliding over the resplendent pitaya, before disappearing into the impenetrable brush.