My questions stem frommy eye-rolling disbelief in the assertion in this article:
Apparently the Arizona Republic is a newspaper, although with this kind of reporting standard it might as well be the Weekly World News. A rattlesnake slithered up to a child and struck? The chihuahua leaped into the path of a strike aimed at the child and blocked the attack?
Now I don’t have any issue with the possibility that a rattlesnake is dangerous to a one-year-old. Nor do I have difficulty imaginging a dog, even a chihuahua, fighting a rattlesnake to protect his or her human family…although I’d picture the dog confronting the snake him or herself than diving into the path of a strike like a miniature Secret Service hero.
But honestly, “the snake slithered up to the toddler, rattled and struck” ? Rattlesnakes hunt human children now? We’re not talking a 30-foot reticulated python feeding on villagers. We’re talking about a snake that feeds on mice and seeks to avoid confrontation with large animals, even to the degree of maintaining and operating a warning signal (the rattle) that the snake himself cannot even hear (they’re effectively deaf).
So my questions for people knowledgeable about snakes:
How plausible is it that the snake simply slithered up to, and struck, the one-year-old, without being somehow provoked or cornered by the child or the dog (which is what I suspect was the case)?
Is it more plausible that the snake would have been hunting the chihuahua? Those can be pretty small dogs (this one was 5 pounds).
As a side note, I wonder how they know the snake rattled before it struck. Did the one-year-old report this detail? Or was there an unmentioned adult present who heard the rattlesnake give warning?