April 28th, 2008
06:53 PM ET

Diamondbacks around the FLDS compund

Susan Roesgen
360° Correspondent

Nearly 2000 acres of scrub grass and cactus and little yellow wildflowers....

Texas hill country....windy, hot, dry.
I heard a rattle in the grass about five yards away and now I'm standing perfectly still.

I know what that sound is.

This place looks like my family's backyard in Montana. That sound is a rattlesnake.

I don't know whether to walk forward or backward, and I've wandered too far from the rest of the crew to yell.

My Dad beat a rattler to death with a rake in our garage once, and my high school boyfriend killed one with a golf club after it bit his hand on the 18th hole.

We used to carry snake-bite kits with us always-basically a razor blade we were told to make an "x" across the bite with–then a piece of plastic tubing to use as a tourniquet–and finally we were told to "suck out the poison."

Rattlesnakes move fast... A rattlesnake's strike is usually completed in less than half a second.
and they scare me.

FLDS trucks fly past on this little two lane road outside the ranch–would they stop if I tried to wave? How many of the FLDS children have been bitten here?

Is this their Zion–their Eden–home to an accursed snake?

This place is full of them.

Filed under: Susan Roesgen
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Gerard Schultz

    The rattlesnakes are the only witnesses to what goes on out there apparently. I do not understand why children who are cutoff from normal social interactions are not checked periodically to see if they are safe, properly socialized. A child could be fodder for the snakes, and who would know?

    April 29, 2008 at 8:30 am |
  2. conrad burns

    Anderson i love your show, however your questions to your expert about barack obama seems very biased and leading to your viewer, how about more indepth coverage of hilary clinton and bill's coments.
    also lanny davis is very quick to link barack to comments about rev wright and at the same time trying to praised clinton while ignoring her comments and you and your moderators just let him continue to blab away. this is a completely turn off.

    April 29, 2008 at 1:35 am |
  3. John


    Rattlesnake bites are very rarely lethal.

    Those old kits like the one you describe are actually worse than the bite itself.

    Besides, rattlesnake is good eatin'.

    April 28, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  4. Genevieve M, TX

    FYI: The "old school" snakebite kits require you to use your mouth to suction out the blood and venom from the bite. The kits used now include a small suction cup so suctioning by mouth is no longer necessary.

    Here in the Southwest, rattlesnake festivals are very popular. My family does to one of those every year and there is another family that always goes with us. The festival is in New Mexico and is referred to as the "Rattlesnake Roundup."

    Here is where it gets interesting....my mother and the guy (the father/husband of the family that goes with us) always have a competition to see who can "round up" a set amount of rattlesnakes by hand the fastest. Yes, with bare hands! When they do this the respective spouses (my father and the mother/wife of the other family) watch with awe and horror. We kids prefer not to look and we all try to dissuade them from grabbing the snakes, but it never works. Neither my mother nor the guy has ever been bit and my mother usually wins.

    Have you ever tasted snake? I have and it tastes like chicken- really.

    April 28, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  5. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    Poisonous snakes and poisonous religions seems to go together.

    April 28, 2008 at 8:24 pm |
  6. Annie Kate


    First I hope you got away from that snake. Second, I read Carolyn Jessop's book Escape over the weekend and probably the real rattlesnakes in that compound are the men and the overriding specter of Warren Jeffs. And these human rattlesnakes are just as deadly and fear provoking as the reptile variety.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 28, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  7. Jolene

    Susan: I don't know what's freaking me out more, the fact that you had to deal with rattlesnakes in your family's backyard or that you were 5 yards away from one near the FLDS ranch. I can handle a few garden snakes here and there but rattlesnacks? You are a brave woman!

    Take Care!

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    April 28, 2008 at 7:38 pm |