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