Arizona Rattlesnakes

Arizona Rattlesnakes

Roomies: Desert Tortoises and Rattlesnakes

In a wash near my home this year, I focused on just a few individual diamondbacks. On one trip, I looked into a hole and found both a desert tortoise and a diamondback sitting there together! I got my camera out, stuck my head in the hole, and turned on the light. CH-CH-SHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! The diamondback flared up and retreated over the shell of the tortoise. I got some pics of the tortoise anyway, but they didn’t turn out well. I was pretty disappointed, thinking that wouldn’t be something I’d see again any time soon.

Fast forward 3 days, and in a different burrow, with a different tortoise and different snake, not even 50 yards away:

I returned to the area every day for the next couple of weeks (except a few lazy days). The tortoise was always there, but the diamondback moved on. Still … it’s not common you get a chance to make up a missed shot.


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8 Responses to “Roomies: Desert Tortoises and Rattlesnakes”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bryan D. Hughes, SFAAZK. SFAAZK said: RT @zigbot: Rattlesnake and Tortoise Living Together […]

  2. marianne says:

    COOL! Makes me want to look in every hole now 🙂

  3. Bryan says:

    Well, you can, but be careful. There’re snakes in there! Do you see many in your travels?

  4. marianne says:

    Don’t have to travel to see them. I live in NE Scottsdale against the McDowell Mountains so we have many species venture into our yard. My cats had a narrow escape last year!

  5. Bryan says:

    That’s amazing that it’s the only one you’ve seen in that area in such a long time. Have you always lived in that location? I work in Scottsdale and have had absolutely no trouble finding rattlesnakes in the McDowells, and get called out there quite often to remove them from porches.

  6. Michael says:

    Do rattlesnakes and tortoises “get along” or are there any conflicts between them that you may be aware of?

  7. Bryan says:

    I really don’t know much about their relationship, other than the two instances I have found of them sitting together. I would assume that there are absolutely no problems, unless the snake is surprised somehow, as neither is a natural threat to the other.

  8. Michael says:

    Hm ok. There is a tortoise that lives in a particular hole in the side of a wash (I’ve seen him there consistently for 2+ years), and once he was absent, and there was a shed atrox skin in the hole. The next time there was no rattlesnake, and the tortoise was back… makes me wonder how they interact, if at all…

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