Southwestern Field Herpetology

Southwestern Field Herpetology
Nov
21st
2014

Hidalgo County Grasslands

On-route to another spot, looking for priaries and hognose snakes. I had to stop and take a shot, despite lightning all around. This is one of my favorite places, and yes I realize I say that a lot.

grassland

Nov
18th
2014

Rain Comes to the Bradshaw Mountains

I was out herping with a friend in late June and had the pleasure to see the first summer rain sweep over the East end of the Bradshaw mountains. We only found one snake, but the view was well worth the trip.

Near Bumblebee, Arizona
Near Bumblebee, Arizona

This is a black-necked gartersnake, Thamnophis cyrtopsis, doing it’s best “I’m dead, don’t eat me because that’s gross” act.

Black-Necked Gartersnake
Black-Necked Gartersnake
Nov
14th
2014

Peek-a-Boo

In the last light of a day, temps in the high 50′s, we checked one last spot. The snakes were not visible, but a blind shot into a crevice with my flash (I did check to make sure my hands weren’t at risk first) revealed the truth.

Timber Rattlesnakes

Nov
11th
2014

Lizards from Northern Arizona

Here are a few lizards Kelly and I saw while searching for Hopi Rattlesnakes just above the rim in Cental Arizona.

This first is an extremely colorful male Eastern Collared Lizard, Crotaphytus collaris. This was easily the most colorful collared lizard I have seen in my limited experience with them.

Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard

Another we saw crawling around here and there are these colorful Pai Striped Whiptails, Aspidoscelis pai. Although very common and easy to see, I really haven’t done much exploring this far North in the state. We saw a few and they did the typical whiptail thing of teasing and dodging between the shrubs before I finally got a halfway decent shot. I’ll be back up there sometime soon to get something proper.

Pai Striped Whiptail
Pai Striped Whiptail

Here’s a common lizard I see all the time in the Bradshaw mountains further to the South, a Plateau Fence Lizard, Sceloporus tristichus.

Plateau Fence Lizard
Plateau Fence Lizard

The last lizard we found of note was an even more colorful adult male Eastern Collared Lizard. He stood still for us and we were able to get within 7 or 8 feet before it darted between the rocks and we retreated to the truck to avoid an incoming storm.

Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard


 

Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard
Nov
7th
2014

Tiny Baby Neonate Arizona Ridgenosed Rattlesnake

I wish there were more here for scale, because this snake was tiny. The small white flowers to the left are about the same size as a pin-head.

Arizona Ridgenosed Rattlesnake

Nov
4th
2014

Yarrow’s Spiny Lizards

Here are a couple of photographs of Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus jarrovi. They’re everywhere you look when up in the higher elevations looking for montane rattlesnake species, and can be quite attractive. These two pictures are to show some of the variation within the species.

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard
Yarrow's Spiny Lizard
Yarrow's Spiny Lizard
Yarrow's Spiny Lizard
Oct
28th
2014

Timber Rattlesnakes on a Cliff Face

These guys were only visible if you hang yourself a little bit over one of the massive stone cliffs in this part of Northern Pennsylvania. Is it stupid that I’m scared of heights and not of all the rattlesnakes all over the place? If you’re reading this, odds are that you’d agree.

Crotalus-horridus-9-051211


 

Oct
24th
2014

Red Diamond Rattlesnakes of San Diego County, In Situ

These snakes seem surprisingly easy to photograph in some ways, and very challenging in others.

Crotalus ruber

 

They’re very calm. They don’t seem to spook as easily as other species of rattlesnake, which fits their relaxed attitude in other aspects. They rarely rattle, and just hiss, puff, and try to look larger or just leave. In most cases, we can photograph them as they are found without trouble.

Crotalus ruber

 

The challenge comes from the grassland they’re found in – the snake, even when fully exposed, is rarely without at least some level of grass in the way. If we find 10 snakes, maybe 3 can produce a decent photo. Regardless, it’s not worth disturbing the animals to get more. Some light grass moving happens though, which has become the primary purpose of my snake hook in recent years.

Crotalus ruber

 

We get out there once or twice a year and it’s become kind of a tradition. I really enjoy finding these snakes, though the trip itself and the company is enjoyable enough that I can’t help but think I’ve built a bias around the whole thing. It’s a very happy, peaceful experience to walk down that dirt road to the vehicle at the end of the day after a long, successful hunt with my friends in such a place.

crotalus-ruber-0324-3

Oct
21st
2014

Desert Spiny Lizard from Extreme Northern Arizona

Desert lizards get pretty big, and make quite a bit of sound in the bushes while I’m up North looking for Grand Canyon rattlesnakes. This is one of those that came out to check me out while searching a couple of years ago.

S-magister-090511

Oct
17th
2014

Timber Rattlesnake in for the Evening at a Basking Site

Crotalus-horridus-17-051211

Oct
14th
2014

Grey-Eyed Diamondback In Ambush

This Crotalus atrox¬†clearly needs a meal; just one of many unfortunately skinny snakes I’ve seen in this area (along with several dead ones) during our long drought.

Crotalus-atrox-1-070712


 

Oct
10th
2014

Timber Rattlesnake Pair at a Basking Site

Crotalus-horridus