A veteran outdoorsman recently had an encounter with a very big rattlesnake that convinced him it was the right time to end his workday.
Joseph Hosey documented coming across the eastern diamondback rattlesnake that he estimated was a whopping 5-feet long, and he posted a video of the incident on Facebook. As of Sunday, the video has registered more than 40,000 views, and anybody watching the clip with the volume on can clearly hear the rattlesnake issuing a warning to Hosey.
Hosey got the message — eventually.
The message he posted with the video says “... and that is gonna be my sign to call it a day.”
But the man who works for Walley Forestry and Properties seemed reluctant to leave the snake he called “impressive.”
It took a few attempts for Hosey to leave, first saying “Yeah, going home,” before briefly turning back for another look at the rattler and saying, “All right dude, I’m out of here. You can have it.”
His comments were partially obscured by the sound of the eastern diamondback’s constant rattling.
“All right, I’m gone,” was Hosey’s closing message as he finally departed and the video ended.
The 37-year-old said he never got closer than 8 feet away from the eastern diamondback rattlesnake he came across in Greene County on July 20, according to the Clarion Ledger. He said that was “probably pushing it safety-wise.”
He was not too far off, according to a report by Alex Heindl, curator of herpetology at University of Nevada, posted on alongtheway.org — under ordinary circumstances a rattlesnake’s “strike can cover a distance of one-third and one-half the snake’s length.”
So even with a larger eastern diamondback — aboutanimals.com reports the serpent’s average length between 3.5 to 5.5 feet long — he was probably just far enough away
But Hosey was wise enough to know what all the rattling meant.
“When cornered, rattlers feverishly shake their iconic tails as a last warning to back off,” National Geographic said of eastern diamondbacks.
In the video, anyone can tell Hosey was trying to get a good look at the rattlesnake. He admitted he’s “fascinated by snakes,” according to the Clarion Ledger.
Hundreds of people commented on Hosey’s Facebook post, with many saying he should have killed the snake.
Had he attempted to kill the snake, Hosey would have been putting himself at much greater risk of being bitten. National Geographic said that eastern diamondbacks don’t want anything to do with people, and that most reported bites occur when a person attempts to “taunt or try to capture or kill a rattlesnake.”
In a follow-up Facebook post, Hosey explained why killing the rattlesnake never crossed his mind.
“Fear and ignorance is what kills these animals,” Hosey posted. “I’m not one of those ‘outdoorsmen’ that only ventures into the woods on a four-wheeler and into a shooting house for one season a year. I’m walking through their habitat daily and year round. Usually I don’t even slow down long enough to get a picture, but this guy was impressive.
“I’m there making a living just like they are, and I’m in their home.”
Hosey said part of his motivation for sharing the video on Facebook was “to help educate people that in most cases there is no reason to kill a snake. They’re important to our delicate ecosystem,” the Clarion Ledger reported.
‘Another day, another rattlesnake’
In an earlier Facebook post from July 26, Hosey shared a video of his most recent run-in with a snake. He referenced the encounter with a big eastern diamondback at the start of the clip, saying he only sees snakes a few times a year despite how much time he spends in the woods.
“Maybe three or four at the most,” Hosey says in the video, adding after the previous experience, he “probably wouldn’t see another one this year.”
He did not even make it an entire week before running into another rattlesnake.
While assisting a man on his property in Wayne County, Hosey saw another rattlesnake, and just in the nick of time.
“We’re walking through here, I had to grab him, he’s an older guy. I grabbed him on the shoulder and had him stop, because he had just about walked up on this guy,” Hosey says in the video, then zooming in on a colorful serpent. “Most people call it a timber rattlesnake ... for his species.”
Just like the eastern diamondback, Hosey thought this rattlesnake was notable for its size.
“He’s a pretty hefty fella, too,” Hosey says in the video, saying earlier this year he came across 8-10 pygmy rattlesnakes while working in Florida. “I guess this year is the year for the rattlesnake.”