We were visiting friends in Camarillo, California over the weekend. After a swim in the Pacific at a beach just north of Malibu (the water was freezing but after about a minute my body was numb and I couldn't feel the pain) we decided to hike up the nearby cliffs.
At the top of the hike about 5 of us were crowding around the edge of a path peering into the other side of a gully looking for a ground squirrel that could only be seen when it moved. Without warning, the tell-tale explosive hissing sound of an almost-stepped-on rattlesnake came from our feet.
This was somewhat concerning because we were (1) wearing flip-flops because of the beach excursion and (2) not expecting rattlesnakes in California.
The crowd scattered rapidly and luckily no one was bitten. It was close though and we were very lucky. The snake was amazingly well camouflaged and I took some pictures but will not post them here because you can hardly see the snake it is so well hidden. I didn't want to get too close for a photo because the head was curled back in striking position and I didn't think that my sphincter had the strength to hold back a second rapid movement from the serpent.
Show the photo anyway!
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