Field notes and photography by Bryan D. Hughes

The Least Expected Rattlesnake Ever

I was out cruising for snakes with my brother in August of 2010 in the sandy flats West of Phoenix and found something I never expected to. Where we were was the land of mojaves, sidewinders, and other flat-land loving sand surfers … quite far from the nearest rocky foothills where speckled rattlesnakes and blacktailed rattlesnakes can be found. Regardless, we found one! Even though it is plainly a C. molossus I was staring at, it was a situation where my brain wouldn’t let me believe it.

He’s missing the usual black eyescale that these guys have, and is a pretty standard desert-phase coloration. He was found crossing the road near a canal, so the best I can figure is that he was crawling between rock piles somewhere off on the horizon and got “stuck” against the uncrossable line, and had followed it here.

Interestingly enough, it’s not the first time I’d found a ‘mountains only’ kind of snake in this spot. The lyresnake (another snake that lives in the hills and mountains) in my collection was found less than a quarter mile from this spot. Strangeness.

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6 Responses to “The Least Expected Rattlesnake Ever”

  1. Susan Chapler says:

    Awesome! Love the eyes.

  2. Michael says:

    Beautiful snake! Love this species

  3. Jill says:

    wow – beautiful shots Bryan! Good find!

  4. jason says:

    Beautiful shots! This is a fantastic looking snake. They eyes are especially engaging.

  5. Crotalus says:

    I have yet to encounter a Blacktail. They probably are the most beautiful rattler of all. Yet, the Sidewinder is my favorite, i think. They have nice sandy colors, but their method of locomotion and the fact that they are rattlers, make them the ultimate snake in my view. (There are sidewinding vipers in Africa and the Arabian area, but they aren’t rattlers.)

    Speaking of rattlers, does anyone remember the movie “Clash of the Titans”? in both the original and the remake, Medusa had snakes for hair, a face that could stop a clock, a human torso attached to a snake’s body, and a rattle on the tail. I can’t buy the rattle though, because it’s unique enough that the ancient Greeks couldn’t have thought that up, and they surely never saw one, as rattlesnakes are uniquely American. (Yeah, I know. Another tangent. But hey! They’re fun!)

  6. marianne says:

    Wowie, wow! The scales look like feathers! Beautiful capture as always.

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