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Special, unofficial, guest blogger

Monday, April 30, 2012


Roger, adult male Arizona black rattlesnake named for Roger Repp (photo by Roger Repp).

We've been really lucky to have some fantastic volunteers at the site this spring (and also why I haven't had time to update the blog :-)).  One volunteer did his own write up of our adventures last weekend, which I highly recommend reading:

Serpent Research: Suzio Report, Off Plot Part 2

You can read more from Roger here

Big thanks to Marty Feldner, Roger Repp, and John Slone for your help!

Spring storm


This has been a strange spring here at the rattlesnake dens. It has either been unusually hot or like this:

 spring storm
14 April 2012

Last year, we saw a gradual increase in social basking behavior, followed by snakes dispersing for their summer hunting grounds. That process has been halted and restarted twice this year already! But, this site had a very dry monsoon season last summer, followed by a dry winter, so the precipitation is greatly needed here. And the snakes appreciate it as well, even if its accompanied by cold temperatures:

That morning our cameras caught several snakes drinking the rain, hail, and snow as it fell, but they quickly retreated deep into their dens again. There was little activity for the next few days and you can see why here:

More on snake activity later! We've seen so many familiar faces already...

Just for fun!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I'm hoping to have some current stuff to post soon, as the snake activity is really picking up right now, but I haven't had a chance to go through our photos and videos yet. So, here's a little something from last year, just for fun!

A cold storm brought some much needed precipitation (a mix of rain, snow, and hail) to our southern dens last April and an Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus) and striped whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus) took advantage of it to get a drink.

Teardrop & TIE Fighter

Friday, April 13, 2012


Awhile back we dedicated an entire post to the lucky or skillful young rattlesnakes that survived their first winter. In this population neonate (newborn) rattlesnakes have less than a month to find their first meal and locate a safe place to spend the winter. Of course it helps when your mom gives birth a couple yards away from her den (overwintering site), as Sigma did.

10 April 2012: Today we encountered two first year juveniles (rattlesnakes born last fall) near one of the dens, one basking and one hunting. They seemed very familiar, and sure enough, they are the son and daughter of Sigma, famous for her interactions with a squirrel.

Sigma and Teardrop, 6 September 2011.

Teardrop, 10 April 2012

TIE fighter, 6 September 2011.

TIE fighter, 10 April 2012.

Congratulations TIE fighter and Teardrop – you’ve cleared the first major hurdle of your life. We hope to see much more of you in the future.

Related posts:
Sigma vs. the squirrel

Surprise neighbor

Sunday, April 1, 2012


New den

Back in November, we told you about a new snake den in the Galiuro Mountains (Scenes from a new den). We have been monitoring that den with our timelapse cameras ever since. After a relatively quiet winter, activity is really picking up around here. Based on our fall observations, we knew that western diamond-backed rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox), gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum), Sonoran whipsnakes (Coluber bilineatus), and patch-nosed snakes (Salvadora spp.) visit this den. So we weren't surprised to see this large guy exiting the den on 29 March:

The rattlesnakes have been pretty active at the den's entrance for the past few weeks, so we knew there were a couple male and female diamond-backeds inside. What we did not expect to see was this handsome fellow:

Yeah, that's an Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus). The other Arizona black rattlesnakes we're monitoring here are just emerging from their dens and none have moved away yet, so its highly unlikely this guy just showed up at this spot. He probably shared this den with the western diamond-backeds all winter. These species are not often found together and this may be the first observation of the two sharing a den. PLEASE let us know if we're wrong about that - hey, you can use our new facebook commenting feature below!

New den Not your classic Arizona black rattlesnake den :-)