Never become complacent and stop paying attention! After not seeing a rattlesnake since June, I have had to shoot one under the north bird feeder last week, and last night I killed one IN the chicken yard. And the worst part is that I didn't even see him until I turned around from shutting the chickens in for the night. Which means I walked right over or past him on my way to the door, than turned around and he started rattling right there in front of me!
I ran and got a shovel and chopped his head off. It was getting darker by the minute, so I left the body until DH got home and we removed it to the wash. It was gone this morning. The other critters do appreciate a free meal, and anything left near the chicken houses disappears right away. So they must come by to check every night.
I don't kill any snakes BUT rattlesnakes, and I wouldn't kill them if they would stay away from the house and yards. I know they come around to catch rodents, but I encourage OTHER snakes to make their homes close for that purpose, and would just as soon never see a rattler. I know the bite wouldn't kill me, as I have had both a foal and a puppy bitten on the face and survived, but there was a lot of pain and swelling and I don't want to go thru that. So there.