Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cliff Swallows Worst Nightmare

On a recent Big Hole River guide trip below Melrose we spotted this bull snake raiding a cliff swallow colony.
From the swallows perspective I can't think of a worse house guest than entertaining 5 or 6 feet of hungry snake.

Here fellow guide Terry attempts to pull the snake from the nest. Wondering aloud, "Chuck, you think I'm hurting this snake pulling on him like this?" But before I could answer the snake somehow turned about inside the nest and suddenly Terry found himself eyeball to eyeball. "OK now that's a little too close for comfort, Mr. Snake you win ."

While we watched the snake moved easily up and down the vertical face, checking out and no doubt dining on chicks, eggs, whatever. Oblivious to the angry parents bombing the intruder each time he stuck his head out. 

Bull snakes are of course non-poisonous but are capable of inflicting a nasty bite should you get too close. They are also fierce predators as many a venomous rattler has found out.

In all our many outdoor adventures throughout Montana I have only seen a couple bulls in the western part the state but out east, on the high plains bulls are common.

The biggest snake I have ever encountered anywhere was a huge bull slithering across the highway between Jordan and Circle. It stretched beyond one lane and appeared python fat...my idea was fat enough to swallow a small pig. Yikes!

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