Southwestern Field Herpetology

Southwestern Field Herpetology
Jan
5th
2010

A Beautiful Arizona Black Rattlesnake

My friend Diego had never seen an Arizona Black Rattlesnake, Crotalus cerberus, before. I’d only seen a handful myself, and my position just North of Phoenix puts me in a good place to see a lot of them, if I’d just get up there and try it out. We decided to meet up and try a new spot and see what happens. What happened were 4 cerberus in about an hour and a half!

When we first got there, we decided to hike a running creek to see what was out. All we found were Canyon Treefrogs, Hyla arenicolor, and a few thousand crawfish.

Canyon Treefrog
Canyon Treefrog
Hyla arenicolor
Hyla arenicolor

Then we waited for dark. Almost immediately after we started our new search, we found an absolutely amazing-looking male cerberus on the move. We both flipped out. It can’t get any darker than this. Although there is some pattern shown in the photograph, I’ve since seen this snake become pitch-black without a trace of pattern whatsoever. This one came home with me, and is sleeping in an enclosure 5 feet behind me as I type this.

Arizona Black Rattlesnake
Arizona Black Rattlesnake

Here’s a crappy picture of Diego playing “Try not to lose any fingers”.

Diego with cerb
Diego with cerb

About 5 minutes later, we found a second cerberus. This one was a little more typical-looking, with cream colored bands and various other chocolate hues crossing the body.

Crotalus cerberus
Crotalus cerberus
AZ Black Rattlesnake
AZ Black Rattlesnake
Another cool looking black rattlesnake
Another cool looking black rattlesnake

We found 2 more within the next hour, only one of which we photographed due to, uh, technical difficulties. The only 4 snakes we found that night were the ones we were looking for, which is a pretty cool night as far as we were concerned. Crotalus cerberus is quickly becoming one of my favorite Arizona snake.

Crotalus cerberus
Crotalus cerberus
Black Rattler
Black Rattler


 

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8 Responses to “A Beautiful Arizona Black Rattlesnake”

  1. Dave Weber says:

    Great shots Brian and what a night! Wish I could have been out there with you. What were the conditions that you found all the cerberus?

  2. Bryan says:

    Hey Dave, it really was a surprisingly good night … one right after the next. The conditions were surprisingly dry and clear, but I think what really helped was that the moon was behind the mountains. As soon as it popped up the light levels were much higher and we didn’t see anything else for our time there.

  3. Kat Parks says:

    I absolutely love the face shot second from the bottom. Excellent detail!

  4. Joshua Jones says:

    The bottom photo is what my cerb, Fluffy, looks like. Really black and only getting blacker w/ each shed. MAN, I love that spot!!! BTW, I always come out of there dry after a hike. Did Diego decide to go for a swim?:D

  5. Bryan says:

    Got any photos?

    I think he did get kinda wet, haha. If I recall, we stuck close to the water for a good while.

  6. Megan Tuzee says:

    i love them saw one yesterday

  7. Bryan says:

    Really? They’re one of my favorites! What county were you in?

  8. Noah Evans says:

    Could you contact me at Noah.evans13@yahoo dot com please. I have a few questions for you.
    Thanks
    Noah
    Crotalusherper

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