What Does a Rattlesnake Sound Like?

What does a rattlesnake sound like? If you would have asked me last week, I would have told you I don’t know. I’ve heard it sounds like a rattle or a hiss.

Today though? Today I can tell you from experience it sounds like a cacophony of noise, not really a rattle, not really a hiss; and while it’s hard to describe, it’s unpleasant and I will never forget it.

Yesterday I was in my office, where I have a door that leads outside. I had the door open, but the screen door closed. I heard a strange noise, a disturbing noise, a noise I had never heard before. I looked outside and saw half a dozen birds flitting around and thought, perhaps, they were fighting or telling me that their food dish was empty. I opened the screen door and started to step outside. Something caught my attention. I looked down and right there next to my door jamb was a rattlesnake, that I was about to step on.

I slammed the glass door and called to my husband, “There’s a rattlesnake here.” I think that’s what I said. I honestly don’t know what came out of my mouth. I just know my heart was racing, adrenaline had shot through my body, and I was scared, as I watched the snake slither under a potting cabinet.

“Are you SURE it was a rattlensake?” my husband asked. I’d never seen one that up-close-and-personal, like in my yard, but yeah, I was as sure as I could be.

We watched and waited, but the snake seemed to be happy (safe) where he was hiding.

I am a country girl at heart, but I’m a city girl by experience. We didn’t have snakes in Orange County, CA, (where I lived for all but the last 6 years of my life) except at the zoo. And the reptile cages are the ones that I made it a point to avoid visiting!

Fortunately, we had a painting contractor, Phil, here who has lived in the area all his life. By the time we had related the story to him, Mr. Rattlesnake was slithering from his hiding place onto the walkway.

No worries now. He’s safely away from us. Or rather, we’re safely away from him. I know there are those who say it’s best to relocate a rattlesnake when you can, but we have 2 dogs and 2 small grandchildren that are coming to visit shortly. We couldn’t take the chance Mr. Rattlesnake would find another cozy spot nearby. Phil “disposed” of him for us.

I confess this was traumatic for me. I didn’t “settle down” for about 2 hours, and now before I walk outside I look and listen first. I imagine that need will subside as time goes by. I hope so.

But now I know. I know what a rattlesnake sounds like. And, believe me, I’ll never forget it.

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Comments (19)

  1. Barbara Hewitt

    How scary! Thank goodness everyone is OK.

    August 14, 2020 at 6:47 pm
    • Karen

      Thanks, Barbara! I’m glad too!

      August 15, 2020 at 6:07 am
  2. DeLoris Musick

    OMGoodness! Such a relief you saw it before you stepped on it. It is also good you had it taken care of to keep the furbabies and children safe! Wow! I would have wet my pants for sure! I am sooo happy you are ok!

    August 15, 2020 at 8:23 am
    • Karen

      LOL! Well, like I said, it took me about 2 hours to settle down, and I was being honest about that! 🙂

      August 16, 2020 at 5:59 am
  3. Denise

    I live where we have them pretty consistently and yes, such a distinctive sound and it’s a good thing because you ALWAYS know what that sound is. Glad the birds warned you and all is well.

    August 15, 2020 at 8:48 am
    • Karen

      It’s a hard sound to describe, don’t you think?

      August 16, 2020 at 5:59 am
  4. fl_connie

    At least you got a great photo of him! We have them here and fortunately, my son-in-law deals with them. I’m happy you didn’t step on it and that it has been dealt with.

    August 15, 2020 at 9:26 am
    • Karen

      I didn’t even think to take the picture, but my husband whipped out his phone to take one and then I thought, “Oh, yeah. I should do that too!” That’s a great son-in-law you have!

      August 16, 2020 at 6:00 am
  5. Tracey Whitehouse

    I absolutely understand your emotions – we have lived in the Australian bush for the last 20 years and the snakes still scare the living daylights out of me!

    August 15, 2020 at 3:10 pm
    • Karen

      Oh, yeah! And you have a lot more than rattlesnakes, I believe, right?

      August 16, 2020 at 6:01 am
  6. Danesa

    I’m glad you didn’t take the step further outside and found the door handle quickly!! I got shivers just reading this. Glad you’re safe.

    August 15, 2020 at 9:55 pm
    • Karen

      Thanks, Danesa. I am still looking outside my door before I open it!

      August 16, 2020 at 6:01 am
  7. Glori

    OHHHHHHHHHH MY GOSH…how SUPER FRIGHTENING!! Like you, I VERY VERY MUCH dislike snakes!! My main question when in TX looking at our future home was if rattle snake were seen around the area!! The answer was an unfortunate yes!! :((( But I felt that it was still worth the move to keep my body warmer during MN winter months! (Yep, we took it!…now for more packing!!) I am SO SO GLAD the angels were around you and you heard the noise, didn’t step on it, your dogs weren’t the first to see it, and you GOT RID of it!! I am surprised at the photo of it…you must of had your wherewithal to get that!! YUCK!! lol

    August 16, 2020 at 6:27 am
    • Karen

      Congratulations on your new purchase in Texas! We have friends who live in Texas, and they live on 20 acres Whenever my girlfriend goes for a walk on her property, she takes a little pistol with her to shoot any snakes she sees Just a thought. 🙂

      August 17, 2020 at 5:56 am
  8. glee

    Yikes, Karen! Now you know, listen to those birds! Glad it all worked out and you didn’t get hurt.

    August 16, 2020 at 6:35 pm
    • Karen

      Thank you, glee. Definitely now I know what to listen for!

      August 17, 2020 at 5:54 am
  9. Grace

    I got shivers just reading this, so glad you didn’t step on it!. I totally understand your emotions, I grew up in a city, now living in countryside, and we have pretty often snakes in our yard, but thank God not rattlesnakes, although, also, are poisonous. Take care Karen, don’t let the door open.

    August 17, 2020 at 1:19 am
    • Karen

      Thanks, Grace. Oh, gosh, you have them pretty often? That’s scary!!! You stay safe too!

      August 17, 2020 at 5:54 am
  10. Mary Gepfert

    Omg! I had anxiety just reading this! So glad you are ok!

    August 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm
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