Growing up in Texas … Rattlesnakes Frighten Me

As the month comes to an end, I find myself getting more and more excited about my 34th book coming out and dancing faster with each day of my writing life.   We expect THE COMFORTS OF HOME to come out of the gate at a full run on November 1.  Also coming back into print this month is THE TENDER TEXAN in trade paperback (my first national bestseller) and my anthology, A TEXAS CHRISTMAS. It came out the first of this month and is on the New York Times list this week.  Adding to all that mix, I’m writing on the next historical every night until after midnight and it’s coming along great.

So, dear friends, come along with me into fiction because it promises to be a wild ride.

Also, next week is Halloween, a fun time at my house.  Last year we had over 1,ooo trick-or- treaters.  I buy a dozen big bags of candy, invite my friends who have few kids to come by and bring their candy and join us.  We pass out candy for three hours straight. So…when I thought about this blog, I thought about what frightens me. Growing up in Texas, I have to say RATTLESNAKES.  In truth, I’ve seen very few in my life that were not in cages, but whenever I walk in the country, I’m very much aware that I’m walking on their land.

My first memory of a rattlesnake was one found under my Grandmother Kirkland’s house when I was about four.  My grandmother chopped his head off with a hoe.  I don’t remember the exact words, but she said something like, ‘to get along with snakes, you got to be smarter than the snake.’  That may explain why I live in town.  I’ve never wanted to test my intelligence with my life the wager.

So, some facts about snakes:

The diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America.  Sometimes easily eight feet long and can weigh as much as 10 pounds.  I thought I saw a twelve foot one on a country road one day, but it was one snake eating another snake.  Yuck!

Their bites are very painful and can be fatal.  Thanks to antivenin, they are rarely deadly.

Some things to do:

Avoid rattlesnakes!  Seems pretty simple but you wouldn’t believe the people I know who ride out on horseback to check out the rattler nest.

If you see a snake—make noise.  He’ll probably wander off.

If you do get bitten:

Relax, be calm.  Yeah, sure.  Good luck with that.

Keep bitten area at or below heart level.

Go to hospital or see doctor within five hours.

Watch where you walk as well as where you ride.  Trust me, falling off a horse is also painful.


Don’t use ice to cool bite.

Don’t cut the wound open and suck out the venom—that’s something left for heroes in books not in real life.

Don’t use a tourniquet unless you know what you are doing.  Right, if you knew what you were doing you wouldn’t be hanging out with snakes.

And last, if all else fails, hit the rattlesnake on the head with a hoe.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for live and let live, but if he’s in my backyard where my grandchildren play, I’m thinking just like my grandmother did, ‘that snake’s got a death wish.’

So, come in and tell me how you feel about snakes.

And be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.


I will give away an autographed copy of “Comforts of Home” to one lucky commenter!


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35 thoughts on “Growing up in Texas … Rattlesnakes Frighten Me”

  1. Great post Jodi, and congrats on A Texas Christmas making the New York Times also on your 34 book! I have been hearing a lot about The Comforts of Home and I would love to read it.

    When it comes to snakes I hate them. Around here we mostly have couperhead snakes that are poison and I can remember my sister chopping the head off of one in our driveway when Iwas growing up. Only good snake is a dead snake in my book. My mother didn’t like snakes either and I can remember one time when a black snake was in the house wrapped around my mother dinning room chair and she was standing there with a hole waiting for it to crawlupthe wall so she could kill it. She didn’t want to chop up her chair so she was going t chop up the wall instead. I had to run down the road and get my cousin to help kill it. He raked it out of the chair and then killed it and the chair was saved. Its funny when I think about it now but it wasn’t funny at that time.

  2. Best wishes for success of Comforts of Home.

    A couple of years ago, black snakes moved into my laundry room. Ugh. When captured, there were two, six foot females. The male slunk out the door, past my bare foot, when spotted. I.Hate.Snakes.

  3. I hate snakes,,dont even like looking at pictures of them any type,kind or size,there was one in my basement an I wouldnt go back there again,,no,no,no way,,,,did I mention I HATE SNAKES!

  4. We live in Florida part of the year. My husband and I were walking and saw a red,yellow and black snake. All I could think of was: red on black friend of Jack, red on yellow kill a fellow. I don’t know if it was a coral snake or what but we went the other way. We see a lot of ugly black snakes. They appear to be afraid of us and don’t frighten me any more.

    My sons attend the University of Florida. Many of the bike racks in the parks are made to look like snakes. They really are quite attractive.

    Best wishes Jodi!

  5. Congratulations and best wishes. I hate snakes and always have, cannot look a books,photos or anything with them.

  6. Living in town, we don’t see many snakes except a few Garter snakes, which aren’t anything like the rattlers that are in the country and canyons. When my daughters were little we had a dern Garter snake who lived in the spirea bush right by the front door. I kinda wanted my husband to get rid of him, but he wasn’t hurting anything, so we left him alone.

    Totally different if he’d been any bigger or a different species. Fun post.

    Since this was posted “A Texas Christmas hit the USA Today bestseller list. Fellow Filly, Linda Broday and I, along with Jodi and our outher co-author, DeWanna Pace, are still on cloud nine.
    Hugs to all, P

  7. Hi Jody! Snakes give me the creeps. Thankfully I’ve never had an upclose encounter with a rattler (except in fiction), but I lived in a mountain community in southern California where they hung out now and then. My oldest son once brought home a water snake of some kind in a bucket of slime. It went back to the pond!

    Thanks for visiting P&P today and congratulations on all your successes!

  8. I got caught up in reading your comments and forgot one the of the reasons I wanted to post early this morning. Jodi (and the rest of our gang) will be at booksignings most of the day, so if she doesn’t check back in with you guys to read your comments until later this evening, you’ll know why. She’ll be signing her new “Comforts of Home” and we’ll all be signing “A Texas Christmas”. Everyone leaving a comment is certainly in the hat for the drawing, so comment away friends. Hope you all have a great day. Big hugs and a hearty thank you from Jodi.

  9. Hi Jody! I just love all your books and can’t wait for “Comforts of Home.” Congratulations on your many successes.

    As for rattlesnakes, I’ve always loved the caution that if bit “remain calm” I would be so beyond the calm point at just seeing a snake that if bit they might-as-well call me done. :o) I never saw a rattlesnake (out of a cage) but when I’d head out on a grand adventure on my grandparent’s farm my grandmother’s warning to keep away from snakes was unnecessary because I had no intention of going near one of those things.


  10. I’m with you on this one-if a snake is in my yard, I’m gonna get him. I have a little grandson who plays outside too. Hey Jodi, (can’t you see me waving) I would love to read your book.


  11. Snakes scare me, even the non-poisonous kind! When I was a child, I had a close encounter with a rattlesnake but got away in time.

  12. I’m so glad to live in an area where there are no snakes. We don’t even see the garden variety and we do a lot of gardening. We’re close to a large nature area, so we have possoms and racoons and the occasional turtle, but not snakes. Thank You, Jesus!

  13. Living in the country in Western Tennessee, we have seen far too many of these nasty creatures in our yard too. I can’t stand them either. What’s creepy is when you kill them and they continue to thrash around. Yuck. The last one I saw, I had my son shoot and the darn thing just wouldn’t die! LOL

    As to Halloween, again, being so far in the country,sadly we’ve only had one trick or treater in 10 years and that was a neighbor’s grandchild.

  14. Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it. 🙂
    I live in Oregon in the Valley, but when I go to my grandpa’s farm I’m always nervous about seeing rattlesnakes, although we have seen bull snakes and a dead diamondback on the road up to the farm. thanks again for the interesting post.

  15. I live in Oklahoma and we have lots of rattlesnakes here. There is even a rattlesnake hunt in Okemah every year. I hate all snakes. I found a copy of The Comforts of Home on
    and it was wonderful! I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

  16. I keep respectful distance to snakes, but I don’t run screaming if I see one. Fortunately here in Finland the only snake that can be considered dangerous is a haddock.

  17. Snakes don’t really bother me but then maybe that’s because I haven’t been face to face with a rattler lol but we do have them in PA and copper heads and lots of black and rat snakes. Now my husband is petrified of snakes. He had an encounter when he was small that scared him. A black snake got in our gameroom one year and he chopped it up with a sword. I thought that was definitely an overkill! Now for me spiders are another story lol.

  18. There is no love for me and snakes. I remember once when I was little, I was playing in a woded park with my sister and picked up what looked like a dead worm. Turns out it was a dead baby snake! Good thing the snake’s mother didn’t come looking for it. Eek.

  19. Congrats on your upcoming release! #34 how exciting!
    I am not afraid of snakes in general, but knowing there are poisonous ones around bugs me… I can handle regular ones, but I do not wish to be bitten by ones with venom…

  20. Hi Jodi, and a huge congratulations on all the wonderful things that are happening in your life right now! FANTASTIC!

    Here in Oklahoma, there’s at least one town, Mangum, that sponsors an annual rattlesnake hunt. They have all kinds of activities, food, I think even a parade, and then the big hunt to see who can bring in the most snakes.

    I remember growing up, my grandparents had a cellar dug out of a hillside. Once when I was about 4 we were there when the weather got bad. We went down into the cellar and I was looking at the shelves across from me where my grandma kept the jars of stuff she’d canned. There were eyes looking back at me–a snake. My granddad chopped off its head with a hoe (I guess looking back on it, this had happened before, since the hoe was down there in the cellar with us.) That was something I’ll never forget.


  21. Goldie,
    I just read your comment about the snake hunt in Okemah. Didn’t know they had one, too, but I’m sure there are other towns that do it besides Okemah and Mangum. The less rattlesnakes the better.LOL

  22. Snakes are the only animal in the animal kingdom that I fear. ugh Oh and sharks, but I don’t go into the ocean so safe from them.
    Here in AZ we have a lotod poisonous snakes out on the deserts. A couple of people a year get bitten and I guess it is really an ordeal to go through plus very expensive to treat.
    I enjoy reding your books.

  23. Hi Jodi, so good to see you here! You’re one of our honorary fillies, to be sure. Can’t wait to read your latest. As for snakes, I’m in the live and let live category. Rattlers are only aggressive if they’re bothered. Just leave ’em alone.

    That said, I about gagged watching the latest Sweet Home Alabama, those gals “hunting” down a captive deer. I’m probably not going to watch that show again. Grrrrr. I’m glad most of the other girls were repulsed by it.

  24. Far be it from me to cast doubts on any of God’s
    creations, but I really think we could have done
    without snakes. (We all know, as the Bible tells
    us, how the Serpent has led us astray.) My family
    is well versed as to my personal feelings about snakes. In fact, the grandchildren will call out
    to me, “Don’t look, Grandma, there’s a snake on
    the television!” They then tell me when I can
    look at the screen again!

  25. We don’t have any rattlesnakes where I’m living and thank god for that! lol They freak me out.
    Congratulations on your latest release. I really love the cover of Comforts of Home. It’s so serene and calm.

  26. I am terrified of snakes. My husband was bitten by a copperhead this past summer and it was a scary experience. I am a big fan of your books. Your new book sounds great.

  27. Hi Jodi,

    I live in AZ so snakes are bad here too. I do not care for snakes…They scare me to death…So I am with you I do not want them around….

    Congrats on your new release…I am sure it will do well


  28. Congrats on your new release. I love your books and I am looking forward to reading The Comforts of Home as well as The Texas Christmas..

    Let me tell you Snakes are one of my biggest fears. Thank goodness we don’t get a lot of them where I live in the city…I am just outside of a Rural area, so you never know what is going to wander by, we get more four legged creatures than those that slither…

  29. It is unfortunate that so many people don’t understand or appreciate snakes. I grew up on the Canadian border in northern New York, so the only poisonous thing I had to worry about was poison ivy. I studied field biology and caught my fair share of snakes and still do. My husband on the other hand spent his senior year in Florida and studied wildlife management on the University of Florida. They would go out and catch all sorts of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. It is all a matter of respecting them and realizing how important snakes in general are to the environment. They are the major predator of vermin. The rattlesnake roundups always baffled me. Thousands of snakes are taken out of the environment, then ranchers and farmers complain about being overrun by rabbits. Well, you eliminate their main predator and they will multiply like, well, like rabbits, stripping the vegetation and digging holes that are dangerous to stock.

    Of all our poisonous snakes, the rattler at least gives you fair warning that you are in his personal space and in danger of being bitten. My husband has taken scout and camp groups hiking and seen rattlesnakes several times. Once, all but the last boy had hiked past before he saw the snake. It was just 3 feet off the path sunning itself on a rock. It never did rattle. In that case, my husband did kill it, because it was on a well traveled path. He could have moved it, but it would most likely have stayed in the area. They ate it for dinner. Another time our daughter’s Girl Scout group was hiking the Appalachian Trail. My daughter noticed a rattler off the trail after several girls had passed it. She pointed it out to her leader. Until they got into its safety zone it didn’t start rattling. They backed off a few feet, sat down and had their lunch break while they watched it. They left it and hiked on.

    If we can safely do it, we will capture and move a snake. However, college was over 40 years ago and my husband doesn’t move as fast as he used to. I certainly hope he doesn’t try to catch them any more. I’ll move the non-poisonous ones, but never did mess with the others. As for finding a poisonous snake in our yard, with the children and animals we have around, chances are it would not get a reprieve and end up as dinner and a hatband. With everything my husband and children have dragged home, the only rule I had was nothing poisonous or dangerous (and they would argue “define dangerous”). Most of our neighbors call us if they see a snake. We’ll catch it and let it loose at our house (if it isn’t poisonous.

    Congratulations on A TEXAS CHRISTMAS making the NYT list. I have my copy and am looking forward to reading it. I have enjoyed that anthology series. THE COMFORTS OF HOME sounds like a good book. I hope the release goes well for you. Have fun on Halloween.

  30. My family and I operate a ranch and when living out in the country sooner or later you will come across a snake. Personally, I hate snakes period. If they leave me alone, I do the same. Although if any come near the barn or yard–they are promptly dealt with. With children and animals around you just can’t take chances with a snake. Thats just life.

    Congrats on your new release, sounds like another great read:) –Happy Halloween

  31. Jodi, I’m right up there with you on the snake opinion! When we lived in Arizona for 6 years (just moved last year), we woke up one day with a 5 foot rattle snake on our front porch! We lived in a subdivision too, none of this “out in the middle of the desert stuff”! Our house was also where the young children got on the school bus! It was scary….we had to call 911 and then keep the little kids away until the Fire Dept. showed up and captured the snake (they take them out into the desert and release them) and then let the bus come and pick up the kids. I will never forget my up close and personal time with that snake……yuck!

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