Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Moderator: HAZ - Moderators

Linked Guides none
Linked Areas none
User avatar
big_load
Posts: 4347
Joined: Oct 28 2003 11:20 am
City, State: Andover, NJ

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.

User avatar
azbackpackr
Posts: 8124
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 29 2008 3:34 am

I saw my first Arizona Black Rattlesnake this year. I have seen lots of snakes of many species over the years. Up here in the White Mtns. we have other rattlesnakes out along the Little Colorado River below Springerville. I am not sure of all the species, but my friends saw a green one, so I guess maybe there are some Mojaves in there. They are thick in there during the summer months, especially during monsoon. I really don't go down that way too much during the warm months, but my pals have been seeing them regularly, like around the area of Wenima Wildlife Area. Also right IN Springerville, right next to the airport, there is this paved road that goes nowhere and has no cars on it that everyone uses for walking and biking--we call it "The Road to Nowhere." A lot of snakes up there during monsoon.

Anyway, about my AZ Black. I was backpacking along the Black River in mid-July. I was in the area upstream from Bear Creek, and downstream from Beaver Creek, near the really big swimming hole. We heard the buzzing. I stopped. I was excited to see it because I had never seen one before. At the time I was thinking they were called "Timber Rattlers." But in my book they are called Arizona Black Rattlers, and are a subspecies of the Western Rattlesnake. Another book I have shows that the Timber Rattler, also dark in color, lives generally east of the Mississippi.

The book I use is a Peterson Guide, A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, by Robert C. Stebbins.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
desert spirit
Posts: 171
Joined: Nov 11 2008 6:20 am
City, State: Tucson, AZ

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by desert spirit » Nov 12 2008 12:01 am

I always seem to encounter them when I least expect them, and not looking for them. So my theory is ... look for them. That way, it's certain that I won't see them .. :sl:

User avatar
azbackpackr
Posts: 8124
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 12 2008 4:57 am

Now that I'm in Yuma I would like to see a sidewinder. However, I am pretty sure they are not very easy to locate if you're actually looking for one.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
JoelHazelton
Posts: 1035
Joined: Mar 22 2006 7:45 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by JoelHazelton » Nov 12 2008 9:05 am

azbackpackr wrote:Now that I'm in Yuma I would like to see a sidewinder.
That would be amazing.
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com

User avatar
te_wa
Posts: 2481
Joined: Aug 22 2003 9:16 pm
City, State: 221b Baker St.

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by te_wa » Nov 12 2008 9:24 am

I have seen numerous sidewinders on the dirt roads around Gila Bend. Drive them at night. Yuma should be no different and should have a large population of sidewinders as they prefer the habitat of sandy soil. It is this reason the best place to see them is crossing or on hard packed dirt roads, as in the wild they can easily hide buried under sand. Sand is not their only habitat, but like I said its what they prefer. Their range can include elevations up to 6K'
:D

User avatar
JimmyLyding
Posts: 1319
Joined: Feb 16 2007 3:17 pm
City, State: Walnut Creek, CA

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by JimmyLyding » Nov 12 2008 11:45 am

Azbackpackr, you are unlikely to see any rattlesnakes anytime soon because they're probably hibernating.
I remember the old saying that if 3 people walk past a rattler, the first one wakes it up, the second one makes it angry, and the third one gets bit. That and always hike with someone who's slower than you when in bear country. :sweat:

User avatar
big_load
Posts: 4347
Joined: Oct 28 2003 11:20 am
City, State: Andover, NJ

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by big_load » Nov 12 2008 11:53 am

JamesLyding wrote:Azbackpackr, you are unlikely to see any rattlesnakes anytime soon because they're probably hibernating.
I nearly always see at least one in the last couple weeks of November. Last year it was near between Safford and Morenci pretty high up, in fairly cold weather (air temps in the 40s), but with sun on the south-facing slope. Lower elevations in the Supes will still have plenty if you know where to look. I've seen a sidewinder in SW AZ in the week between Christmas and New Year.

User avatar
azbackpackr
Posts: 8124
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 12 2008 12:26 pm

Yes, one doesn't require much hibernating if one lives around Yuma. This is why the place is already full of Canadians, Oregonians, Washingtonians, Minnesotans, and other migrating species.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
JoelHazelton
Posts: 1035
Joined: Mar 22 2006 7:45 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by JoelHazelton » Nov 12 2008 2:03 pm

azbackpackr wrote:Yes, one doesn't require much hibernating if one lives around Yuma. This is why the place is already full of Canadians, Oregonians, Washingtonians, Minnesotans, and other migrating species.
White Mountainians? ;)
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com

User avatar
rushthezeppelin
Posts: 371
Joined: Oct 25 2008 2:42 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by rushthezeppelin » Dec 21 2008 3:41 pm

desert spirit wrote:I always seem to encounter them when I least expect them, and not looking for them. So my theory is ... look for them. That way, it's certain that I won't see them .. :sl:
This approach has seemed to work quite well for me. I've only been hiking out in the Supes since this Spring and have only seen one rattler, a Mohave Green in Upper Fish Creek Canyon somewhat near the road. My friend had just been there the day before and saw the exact same rattler in the the exact same spot. We surmise it was a momma snake protecting her eggs but no way to know for sure without a dead snake or dead humans so we left her be. Since then, when it has been snake season, I have always kept an eye out for em and never once seen or heard them. Especially when on overgrown trails, I would usually take my hiking pole to stir anything up when I have to pass by thick vegetation and still nothing. I'm sure next year won't be the same though and I just had an overwhelming abundance of luck this year.

User avatar
rally_toad
Posts: 579
Joined: May 17 2007 8:06 pm
City, State: Boulder City, NV

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by rally_toad » Dec 21 2008 5:27 pm

rushthezeppelin wrote:My friend had just been there the day before and saw the exact same rattler in the the exact same spot. We surmise it was a momma snake protecting her eggs
Just a fun fact, Rattlesnakes don't actually lay eggs, they give birth to live young, which is actually common among snakes, many are live bearing, most notably Garter Snakes and Rattlesnakes are the snakes we are likely to run into on the trail that give live birth.
"Who are you guys??!!" -Farnsworth

User avatar
nonot
Posts: 1923
Joined: Nov 18 2005 11:52 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by nonot » Dec 21 2008 6:36 pm

I think I'm up to nearly a thousand miles of Arizona hiking and have seen 4 snakes total, only 2 of which were rattlesnakes, and only 1 rattled at me. Others go on a single hike and see 6 snakes. So...either I have really bad eyesight and hearing, or it is just random. I think not hiking really early in the day (when snakes are likely to be on the trail sunning themselves to warm up) and not hiking much during the late spring-early fall (prime snake season) help as well.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

User avatar
rushthezeppelin
Posts: 371
Joined: Oct 25 2008 2:42 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by rushthezeppelin » Dec 22 2008 1:55 am

rally_toad wrote:
rushthezeppelin wrote:My friend had just been there the day before and saw the exact same rattler in the the exact same spot. We surmise it was a momma snake protecting her eggs
Just a fun fact, Rattlesnakes don't actually lay eggs, they give birth to live young, which is actually common among snakes, many are live bearing, most notably Garter Snakes and Rattlesnakes are the snakes we are likely to run into on the trail that give live birth.
Heh, didn't know they were one of the snakes that gave live birth. Why would a snake be chilling in the same spot I wonder then. I mean I know it had to have been cuz on the way to the spot he saw it he was talking about it. Knew exactly where it was. This was also late Summer too so it's not like it was trying to hibernate I don't think.

User avatar
SuperstitionGuy
Posts: 1564
Joined: Dec 25 2005 8:24 pm
City, State: Apache Junction, Arizona

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Dec 22 2008 7:24 am

nonot wrote:I think I'm up to nearly a thousand miles of Arizona hiking and have seen 4 snakes total, only 2 of which were rattlesnakes, and only 1 rattled at me. Others go on a single hike and see 6 snakes. So...either I have really bad eyesight and hearing, or it is just random. I think not hiking really early in the day (when snakes are likely to be on the trail sunning themselves to warm up) and not hiking much during the late spring-early fall (prime snake season) help as well.
Maybe your just a stealth hiker and never wake them up as you go by! :scared:
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
- Garth McCann from the movie Second Hand Lions

Another victim of Pixel Trivia.

Current avatar courtesy of Snakemarks

User avatar
rally_toad
Posts: 579
Joined: May 17 2007 8:06 pm
City, State: Boulder City, NV

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by rally_toad » Dec 22 2008 8:42 am

rushthezeppelin wrote:Why would a snake be chilling in the same spot I wonder then.
Maybe that was his or her favorite morning basking spot too warm up in. Maybe its find plentiful food in that area, impossible to know for sure since I don't speak Rattlesnake.
nonot wrote:I think I'm up to nearly a thousand miles of Arizona hiking and have seen 4 snakes total
They are definitely out there, but you just don't see them, I'm sure for every one snake we see, we pass within ten feet of 10 more we don't see. But I do tend to be a hiker that runs into a fairly good number of snakes. Here's where I've run into the most.
The superstitions,
Usery Mountain Area,
Santa Catalinas.
The time your most likely to see them, after dark during the summer, especially during monsoons, spring and fall during the day when temperatures are mild. But then again you can run into them anytime, just over a week ago I saw one in the supes, the only snake I've seen out in December, and he wasn't lethargic by any means. He was fast.
"Who are you guys??!!" -Farnsworth

User avatar
rushthezeppelin
Posts: 371
Joined: Oct 25 2008 2:42 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Where do you see rattlesnakes?

Post by rushthezeppelin » Dec 26 2008 4:31 am

In response to rally_toad:

You seriously saw a snake in the supes this late :o Man I thinking some people must just magnetically draw these darn snakes in.....thank goodness I'm not one of those people (at least so far it seems).

Post Reply

Return to “Fauna”


cron