Reptiles and Field Herpetology in Arizona and Around the US

Reptiles and Field Herpetology in Arizona and Around the US
Jul
29th
2014

Black Ratsnake in the Rain

This is the one and only black ratsnake that I have seen in the wild, on one of my trips to Pennsylvania a couple of years ago. It’s always fun to see a big constrictor that isn’t a gophersnake! This one was leaving the roof area of a nature center where we were photographing Eastern Massasaugas, with a squirrel in it’s belly.

I notice that I’ve labeled this differently, probably due to having processed these at different times and being unsure of the taxonomic changes that have been going on with this genus. Anyone care to correct me?

Black Ratsnake

Pantherophis-alleghaniensis-2

Black Ratsnake

Everyone photographing him:

dudes

 

Jul
25th
2014

Turtles and Bad Photography – I’m Getting Better

Ok, normally when I photograph a turtle, it’s just a wet turd-looking blob with head completely hidden. This one, however, I actually like. Thanks, little damselfly, for coming in and making just a little spot of interest to an otherwise ho-hum picture.

Kinosternon_sonoriense_1-042212

Jul
22nd
2014

Diamondback with an Interesting, Minimal Pattern

This Western diamondback is a bit on the simple side, but not atypical of how these guys look in this area between Arizona and New Mexico, or the central clade as I’ve seen it referred to. In this area near the continental divide, the two halves of Western Diamondback squeeze through a relatively narrow band, and some interesting variation in pattern and color happen. This is just one example; in the daytime, this snake will look totally different.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

 

Jul
18th
2014

Coconino County, Camping on the Bank of the Colorado on a Hunt for Grand Canyon Rattlesnakes

coconino

Jul
15th
2014

Big Old Diamondback and a Familiar Face

We saw this big diamondback out crawling around in the late afternoon in February. Western Diamondbacks can be seen on their first trips away from winter densites that time of year, though this one was headed out a bit further than I’d expect him. He’s a large snake I’ve seen many times in one of the city parks, living in a hole just 10 feet or so from a very busy trail. Much like many of the very large rattlesnakes that I have seen, he doesn’t like to rattle, and just crawls along his way if given the chance. Unlike a lot of the snakes in that particular wash, he’s looking very healthy, and I look forward to seeing him again this summer.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Jul
11th
2014

Vermillion Cliffs

Driving fast along the base of these mountains, as I’m sure many of you have done, trying to outpace the rain and keep hunting. This is an amazing place.

cliffs

Jul
8th
2014

Shut Up!

Audio-terrorists are abundant in the late summer. It’s always funny how many of these my rattlesnake removal hotline gets calls for each season, with people believing the crazy uncle stories that there are rattlesnakes in the trees waiting to rain down venomous fury on anyone dumb enough to walk by.

Ya.

They also have a tendency to fly in big groups from trees to bright lights attached to a guy’s forehead at night in the canyons. That part is no good.

Cicada

Jul
4th
2014

Blacktailed Rattlesnake from the Belmont Mountains in Western Arizona

Crotalus-molossus-042613-1

Jul
1st
2014

Woodhouse’s Toad

These fat little guys are always abundant in a favorite spot to look for Grand Canyon rattlesnakes. Of all the Woodhouse toads I’ve seen, this locale is the most bland and monotone, but lazy afternoons after a long morning of canyon hiking produces some photography time.

Anaxyrus-woodhousii

Jun
29th
2014

Night Hiking for Diamondbacks

On of my favorite ways to find rattlesnakes is to just hike at night, when they are out in the wide open and fairly easy to find. Where 6 or 7 years ago I’d just not do a lot of successful herping in the super hot dry month of June, now it’s perhaps the easiest month to see some animals. As snakes’ activity is minimized to due the extreme heat, they’re drawn to aestivation areas in relatively predictable areas, and are almost stuck there. I have dozens of diamondbacks, for instance, in the Phoenix area that I know exactly where and when to find them at that time – it’s almost disorienting when the rain finally comes and everything moves off again.

Here are just a few of the regulars. I don’t usually photograph them after the first time – so that I don’t disturb them, and simply because I don’t need to. They are sitting more or less in the same exact place each night.

Crotalus atrox

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Crotalus atrox

crotalus-atrox-5-041313


 

 

Jun
27th
2014

Timber Rattlesnake – Newly Emerged, Needs a Shed

While some of the timbers at the dens in Northern Pennsylvania had clearly been up for awhile, others seemed to have just come to the surface. Some, like this one, were still caked in mud and showed signs of being partially submerged for at least part of the winter  - which is pretty amazing to think about.

Crotalus horridus

Jun
24th
2014

Great Basin Rattlesnake Heading Out Into Spring

This was the first large rattlesnake to emerge from this den in North/Central Idaho. This place has to be right at the limit of high elevation and Northern range of these snakes – when I first heard of this location, I was almost skeptical of the identification, thinking that the Northern Pacific rattlesnake would be a more likely bet. I was wrong – we watched 10 Great Basin Rattlesnakes climb out of the rocks over the course of a few hours on a rather chilly, windy day.

Crotalus-lutosus-050513