Where do you see rattlesnakes?

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big_load
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Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by big_load » Apr 14 2005 9:27 pm

Over the last few years I've read everything about posted on this forum about rattlesnakes, and most of what I could find in the library, but I still feel deficient in knowledge of their behavior. OK, so here's the question:

Where do you see rattlesnakes?

I have most often seen them basking in open sunny spots on the trail, laying in gravel, rockpiles, or leaf trash on the side of the trail, and of course in the road.

Where else do you see them? If I made a living ambushing rodents, I would hang out in those places where bushes (creosote, mesquite, scrub oak, willow) have overgrown the sides of the trail and there's little footprints in the dust. I always make plenty of noise entering these areas, and lead with my poles, and though I've never seen a snake in one of these areas, I get really nervous about pushing my way through overgrown trails. Am I nuts?

By the way, I live about a mile from a major timber rattlesnake and copperhead den. I see two or three live ones every year, and half a dozen flat ones. My AZ hiking is mostly in cooler weather, but I have had a few close encounters.

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mttgilbert
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Post by mttgilbert » Apr 17 2005 10:50 pm

I've heard reports that rattlers are starting to become rattle-less. People moving into areas that are surrounded by more rural areas are killing rattlers as soon as the snakes rattle at them. Apparently, there are snakes (very few right now) with a genetic disposition not to rattle. Since those ones aren't being killed they are the ones that are surviving and breeding they are passing on that trait to thier young. They say that if the trend keeps up (and I don't know who 'they' are) within a couple decades nearly half the rattle snakes out there will be rattle-less.

I know no one here would kill a snake for biting them, let alone just rattling at them, but if this report is true, perhaps we should all make an effort to let others know that there is no reason to kill a snake.
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Trishness
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Post by Trishness » Apr 17 2005 11:18 pm

well, I'd never kill a snake. They see me as this HUGE infrared creature on their radar. I think they are more afraid of me than I am of them!

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mttgilbert
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Post by mttgilbert » Apr 18 2005 12:08 am

I totally agree with you trish.



I just wanted everyone to imagine a world of "rattle-less" rattlesnakes. It's a little terrifying to me...
At least right now they warn us. If they didn't I could think of at least five times I would have already been bitten.
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Nighthiker
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Post by Nighthiker » Apr 18 2005 6:48 am

There's actually a species of ratlesnakes in Mexico that do not have rattles.
jk

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montezumawell
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The smartness/sensitivity equation

Post by montezumawell » Apr 18 2005 7:21 pm

In response to big_load's reply:

Great observation from big_load:

"I'm just counting on the snakes being smarter than I am."

Well, this topic has been shaping my operating perspective for the last few days. It's pretty obvious to anyone who will "listen" that the rattlesnakes pick up on our presence BEFORE we do theirs.

YOU pick up on THEM when they rattle. Ain't it so?

Unless, of course, you were astute enough to spot one of "THEM" before they decided to make an issue of YOU!

In spite of all the so-called "snake-savvy" BS I have poured forth on this Forum lately, I would have to say this: the snakes have great control.

They understand YOU better than WE wished they did! We all wish we could sense a snake as well as snakes sense us!

Isn't that really the "bottom line" issue?

j

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AZHikr4444
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Where are they??

Post by AZHikr4444 » Apr 18 2005 7:56 pm

Okay, this may sound strange, and I'll probably regret saying it- but I WANT to see a rattler! I have been in AZ for almost a year and have yet to see a snake, scorpion, tarantula, or even a roof rat FTLOG!

I've been hiking dern near every weekend since early March and all I have seen is some mulies and a bunch black beetles having raunchy black beetle sex. I didn't stay for that show, although my dad tried to snap the photo. :twisted:

I'm taking all of your comments to heart. If it is a part of nature, I generally have the greatest respect and am in complete awe of it. Even if it can deal me great harm. Respect is key. I cringe when I hear guys at work hitch up their pants, spit, and say "my bruthern' law is comin' to town and we're gonna go out lookin' for rattlers..."
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Arwen
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Post by Arwen » Apr 19 2005 2:58 pm

I feel very fortunate to have seen and photographed diamondbacks. This is one my boyfriend and I spotted along a trail in the McDowells back in '03:

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/arwen740/ ... CBQbzg3nuf

My children and I were fortunate enough to see a young diamondback one night as it lay next to a parking lot. It was a mild Spring night and the young snake was stretched out, almost invisible in the sand. The street lamp above illuminated his pale pattern. We stayed a respectful distance admiring his delicate coloring and noting the shape of his head and tiny button of a tail. We then watched as he slowly disappeared beneath a small bush. One of many magical moments with my children in nature.[/url]

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Skervy
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Boulder Canyon

Post by Skervy » Apr 26 2005 12:52 pm

Saw two western diamondbacks along Boulder Canyon trail a couple weeks back. One was right on the trail and almost okk out one of our dogs. The other was swimming across the creek....

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Roba' Kai
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Post by Roba' Kai » May 05 2005 1:31 pm

In response to matt gilbert's reply:

I looked into this because (and please, NO offense meant) it sounded like an urban ledgen...or rural ledgend. I found this:

Rarely, like all other animals, rattlesnakes are deformed by either congenital birth defect or by traumatic injury. A handful of rattlesnakes of several species have been documented over the past several decades that had either badly deformed rattles or a blunt stump of a tail without a rattle. One of these was the carcass of a male Mohave green rattlesnake with a rattleless stump. This carcass has been examined, x-rayed, and analyzed to determine the cause of the deformity. Several experts who have examined the photos and x-rays agree that the deformity is most likely the result of an old injury that healed long before the snake’s death, however, due to the carcass having been repeatedly frozen and thawed prior to examination, a conclusive finding by microscopic analysis of the cell structure of the stump is not possible.

It is interesting to note that the “rattleless rattlesnake” that is an occasional subject of nature films is an actual species, Crotalus catalinensis, that is found on a single island near the tip of Baja California – Isla Santa Catalina. However, it is not truly “rattleless.” Indeed, it produces a new rattle segment each time it sheds its skin, just like other rattlesnakes. The difference is that this species has lost the characteristic shape of the segment so that the segments no longer lock together effectively, thus the older segment is lost each time a new segment is produced. So, while this animal does not accumulate a series of interlocking segments capable of making noise, it does have a single rattle segment at the end of its blunt tail. Anyone familiar with rattlesnakes would not mistake this animal for anything else. And it is only distantly related to the Mohave rattlesnakes of the arid mainland.

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Nighthiker
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Post by Nighthiker » May 06 2005 6:04 pm

The rattllesnake in Baja has a button and not a buzzer. Most folks look at the tail when it comes to snakes. Take note of body, head and eye shape. Color and markings are usuallly distict enough, but is it a pair of Wranglers or a pair of Levi's ?
jk

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SnoopisTDI
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Post by SnoopisTDI » May 06 2005 6:45 pm

I saw two diamondbacks last weekend hiking up the dirt road in the Queen Canyon(near Palm Canyon) area. The first one, I thought I heard something but couldn't tell if it was something running into the bushes or if it was a rattle- I looked down and it was about 15ft ahead of me. We took a slight detour off the road to give him some space. We stopped and watched him for a couple minutes, but he just laid there, moved maybe a couple inches. Came back through the same area about 30-40 minutes later and he had only moved about 20ft. Gave him the same space as before, watched him a little, and he disappeared off the other side of the trail. I don't think he rattled the first time we saw him, and he definitely didn't the second time, but you could see pretty clearly that he had one.

Maybe a mile further down the road, I came within about 3ft of another one before I saw it. I had been watching the road intently the whole time because the sun was getting low and I figured they would be coming out, but at that moment I just happened to had looked up at the mountains, looked back down and he was practically right next to me(or should I say I was right next to him!). I quickly stepped to the side a few feet and just continued walking- again, this one never rattled.

I also saw a couple other snakes that I couldn't identify- they were grey/green with lengthwise stripes, and my friend said they were non-venomous.

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tempe23
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Post by tempe23 » May 09 2005 3:57 pm

The only place I've seen rattle snakes in Arizona is in Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon. We were walking and saw a four footer right next to in the wash. We stopped and it went into a small indentation in the rock and coiled up. Against my better judgement, we decided to get some pictures at a pretty close range. We got within two feet of the crevice to get some good shots. It never rattled at us at all.
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poppintool
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Post by poppintool » Nov 19 2006 4:03 am

davis2001r6 wrote:Got buzzed by a black western rattlesnake by the creek going into Haunted Canyon yesterday. he gave me plenty of warning.


Same here, only about a half mile passed the trough when you first get on the trail. Didn't see him at first but he definately let me know he was there with about 4 feet to spare.

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poppintool
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South Mountain

Post by poppintool » Nov 19 2006 4:07 am

Around sunset during the warmer parts of the year I've come across up to 5 rattlers in one ride on the desert classic trail. I've seen them up telegraph as well by the stone house. definitely see a lot of them out there.

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AZHikr4444
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Snakes Snakes!!

Post by AZHikr4444 » Nov 19 2006 9:44 pm

I think the Supes are supposed to be good for rattlers- 'specially in the late spring. I ran into a beautiful diamondback right in West Boulder Canyon last Spring- my first encounter.

We saw one little baby coiled up and half frozen last April around Waputki.

I also was buzzed a few times- in the dark- coming down the Babad Doag this summer. Scarrrrryyyyy...

But- if you want to know where the snakes are- just ask Trish- I know she's seem more than her share!!
A true outdoorsman, when treed by a bear, sits back and enjoys the view.

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CannondaleKid
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Post by CannondaleKid » Nov 20 2006 9:46 pm

I've seen many rattlers closeup throughout the year, but these are the ones I captured on camera. I tend to see quite a few because I seek them out. With hundreds of snake experiences (most when young when living in South Africa) over the years, I have no fear at all, only a healthy respect for them.

Mid July on Black Mesa trail I stepped right next to this guy:
http://www.changephoenix.com/photos06/S ... 15_02.html
It was warm enough he shouldn't have been sluggish, but I could get nothing but a tongue to stick out once... and of course I didn't get it on camera.

June '06 - Moon Rock Trail - Usery:
http://www.changephoenix.com/photos06/U ... 04_01.html

April '06 - Moon Rock Trail - Usery:
http://www.changephoenix.com/photos06/U ... 04_01.html

Sept '05 - Pemberton Trail - McDowell Mtn Park:
http://www.changephoenix.com/photos/Pem ... 05_04.html

May '05 - NoSo Trail - Usery:
http://www.changephoenix.com/photos/Use ... 21_02.html

November '02 - Wind Cave - Usery Regional Park:
http://www.changephoenix.com/photos/Use ... 02_19.html
CannondaleKid

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Tortoise_Hiker
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Rattlers

Post by Tortoise_Hiker » Mar 15 2007 5:59 pm

A good rain seems to bring them out.I was down by Picacho some years back after a good rain and saw four
in one day.The biggest rattlers I've seen have been around the Picacho area.I've seen quite a few in the Four Peaks area also.Down by the old windmill.Years ago
we could drink from that windmill.Now it's all shot up.
I was down by Robles Junction a couple years ago and came across one angry snake.He was in strike mode.I guess someone or something mad him mad and he was going to take it out on me.You never know what someone else might have done before you got there. I'd say I've been warned at least 80% to 90% of the time.

Tortoise Hiker

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djui5
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Post by djui5 » Mar 16 2007 2:02 am

Saw one on Horse Mesa a few weeks ago. Little one, hiding under a rock. I was standing 1.5' away from it, and didn't see it. It started rattling as I was walking away, after observing a packrat den under a large cliff face. Scared the hell outta me when I realized how close it was. That was my first rattler encounter ever :o

Haven't been back in the supes much lately, but they'll be out as it's warm enough now.

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DarthStiller
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Post by DarthStiller » Mar 16 2007 11:30 am

I've seen plenty of snakes all over AZ. The first one I saw was up on Pine Mt. off I-17. he buzzed and wondered what that sound was that sounded like a locust. I looked over and it was 18" from my bare leg and coiled. I jumped up off the trail away from him and got back on the trail at least 20' farther down. he never stopped buzzing. My legs felt wobbly for a good half hour after that.

Since then I've seen them mostly in the Supes, but once saw one on Granite Mt. outside of Prescott in June '05. I work in Fountain HIlls and have seen a few at jobsites from all the digging. A few years ago I bought snakeproof gaiters that I wear most of the time when I hike, especially from Jan. -June and when I'm on an overgrown trail. Most of the snakes I see hiking are on the trail, or right next to it. I know that at least one time while hiking in the eastern supes, I heard one under the dense manzanita bush that sometimes makes it hard to see the ground. Having the snakeproof gaiters makes me feel better about busting through alot of that and not having to worry about getting bit. it also adds a psychological advantage when I see one, I don't get nearly as nervous.

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Post by Al_HikesAZ » Mar 16 2007 11:41 am

As photos of Rattlesnakes are associated to the Fauna Section, they are geotagged to the trail on which the photo was taken. If you want to see this feature check out the Western Diamondback page and map at
http://hikearizona.com/location_g.php?ID=28&TID=11
This doesn't give you the precise location, just the trail.
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