I hesitate to tell this story. If I had heard this from someone else, I would have said, "bullshit" but I SWEAR - this is a true account. I do have witnesses, so that helps! When I was a deputy sheriff in the 1980's, before I made detective, I was on the road in a radio dispatched patrol car. The county is divided up into zones, and each deputy is responsible to respond to calls within that zone. If I live to be one hundred, I will never forget this. It was the day before I was scheduled to go on vacation. I got a "snake call" in a subdivision that was still under construction. It was a high dollar community, with fancy concrete walls and enclosed entrances. The complainant met me in the street and told me that a "huge" snake had been crawling down the street, and that he last saw it slither into an enclosed courtyard of a vacant house. The man described the snake as black & yellow with diamond shapes on it's back.
Now I was scared enough to pee my pants, but I couldn't show it. I shudder at even a photo of a snake and I knew this was a poisonous rattler. I loaded up my revolver with snake shot - special bullets that have tiny bb's instead of a single round. I had heard through the years that the strike of a rattlesnake is so fast, that it cannot be seen with the human eye. I know that rattlesnakes are "pit vipers" sensing heat to strike their prey, even in the dark. My back-up arrived, Deputy "Chuck", a 6 foot 5 inch man. I drew my gun and entered the courtyard with Chuck close enough to be my back-pack. My hands were sweating so bad that I could hardly keep a good grip on the gun, and I felt my mouth turn to sawdust. Chuck whispered (as if the snake could hear)"There he is!" (two feet from the end of my gun) The snake had coiled up under a springery fern, I could only see the side of him. "BANG-BANG" I quickly double tapped him (shot twice) without aiming. No movement. Someone else entered the courtyard with a rake and poked at the snake, announcing that he was dead. They drug him out of there, and to my suprise he was about 7 feet long. They held him up, and wanted me to have my photo taken with him. No way. Snakes, even dead ones, continue to move because of all the muscle contraction in their bodies. Upon further examination of the snakes head, which was as big as my fist, I saw two side by side bullet holes in the back of his mouth through his head! I did not aim at his head, I could not see it. The snake had reacted to the heat of the bullets and caught them in his mouth. Now that's fast. I still shudder to this day when I think of this incident!