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The online world is full of nonsense. But hidden in the corners of this crazy place are little gems waiting to be discovered.


Southern Alberta, represents the northernmost range of a number of animals. Turtles eke out an existence in the Milk River watershed, but cannot survive the winters any further north. Red-sided Garter snakes can overwinter in the northern regions of the province, but they are the only reptiles that can make it. If you want reptiles in Alberta, head south.

The two big snakes in the south are the Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer) and the Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis). I grew up in Calgary, sort of the northern tip of southern Alberta, and although there are historical records of these snakes, they haven’t been seen in the Calgary area since the mid-20th century.



I was indoors, avoiding another cold winter weekend and my thoughts turned to summer snakes. I turned to Youtube and found Ryan Heavy Head.

I’m not sure who Ryan works for, but he spends much of the summer picking up rattlesnakes that have found their way into Lethbridge yards, garages, golf courses and buildings, and safely relocates them near known dens in Lethbridge coulees.

I think snakes are cool, but I like Ryan a lot. A real lot.



Each video opens with a welcome in Blackfoot, the Gregorian date, and the month of the Blackfoot lunar cycle. Ryan, wearing his GoPro, finds and gently lifts the snake into a traveling bucket—he added a bucket cam a while ago!—and then moves and releases the snake.

The plots are pretty much all the same, but what stays with me is Ryan’s calmness, his dedication, and the respect he shows every character in the drama, including the snakes.

It gives me hope that we can peacefully coexist with our surroundings.