Striker, the Rattlesnake

© David Rosen/Wildside Photography

Striker spent the first 31 years of his life in a biology classroom at Placer High School in Auburn. Biology teacher, Doug Stryker always invited his students to bring things to class like rocks, frogs, bugs, etc. He was a bit surprised when, in the spring of 1982, a student brought a baby rattlesnake in a coffee can.

Rattlesnakes are born live in the fall and then go almost immediately into a den to estivate until spring. Based on this information, we were able to determine that Striker was born in the fall of 1981.

When Doug retired from teaching, the school district asked him to find a new home for Striker. He enlisted the help of several wildlife rehabilitators to determine the best place for Striker. It was agreed that he should remain in captivity as he had been out of the wild for too long. Doug says whenever he sees former students the first thing they ask is, “How’s that old rattlesnake?”, even before they ask how their former teacher is doing!

Striker was transferred to Splash in November 2012 and resided in Critterville for almost 3 years. He served as a special ambassador animal, helping to educate Splash students about rattlesnakes’ important place in the food web.

Splash was able to research, document and publish Striker’s status as the oldest captive Norther Pacific Rattlesnake in the September 2013 issue of the Herpetological Review.

Striker passed away on August 30, 2015 due to complications of a mass or tumor under his tongue.