Field notes and photography by Bryan D. Hughes

Relocation of a Speckled Rattlesnake from Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley

Some of the speckleds from the central Phoenix parks show some amazing variation in pattern, even from one side of the mountain to the other. I’ve noticed that speckleds in the Phoenix mountain preserve have more of a purple base hue than those that are found on the North side. I thought that’s pretty cool, until I started seeing the same trend on Mummy Mountain. It’s more impressive in that situation, because Mummy Mountain is a little strip of mountain that’s only a few hundred yards across … specks on the North side are more pink, while those on the South side are darker with purple base colors. That’s a level of specialization that makes me freak out a little inside. If I were to take a guess, I’d assume that the slight variation of sun exposure on the South side creates a different level of shadow, contrast, dependent lichens and erosion, therefore a slightly different color does the trick.

Here’s a video of one being released after capture in a yard below the mountain. It’s an older female, and I assume displaced. In these inner city areas where specks are found, they seldom wanter out into the neighborhoods unless something’s happened to their primary home.

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