First, the promised rattlesnake pic:
Righto. Snakety snake snake.
I had a drawn-out discussion with one of my buddies here post snake sighting.
You should have, he chimed in, whacked it. Good snakes are dead snakes.
Now, I will upfront say that whacking the snake was really not an option unless my buddy and I wanted to chase it around and run over it with the truck. We had just finished an excessive walk in excessive heat - I don't think either one of us would have been up to getting out of the vehicle and moving nimbly. Also, being as we're in New Jersey, we were woefully unarmed and did not even have a Big Stick with us.
(the mental image of a couple of exhausted and footsore soldiers chasing a snake, smacking at it with heavy rucksacks is kinda amusing, though)
However, the Official Bad Dog Position is as follows - we whack nothing without a reason.
Things we will/do whack include (but are not limited to): things we're going to eat; invasive species; critters that are actually damaging property; critters that are actively threatening our people or our pets; terrorists; and people who are threatening our immediate well-being but do not qualify as terrorists.
Scary animals, alas, are not on the list. And make no mistake - I find snakes scary. Rattlesnakes at least have some courtesy in their habits, and given a good warning buuzzzz, I will give them space to go on doing snakey things. I like to think those snakey things involve eating vermin and, possibly, biting bad New Jersey drivers.
I would not shoot a bear merely for possessing the ability to eat me, and so it seems rude to whack a snake simply for being what it is. However, lest I classify myself as fuzzy-headed, I will offer the caveat that bears in the garage, mountain lions on the back porch and snakes in the woodpile lose their immunity if they don't go on their merry way once notified their presence is unwelcome.