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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Meet Mr. Rattlesnake

Starting off at about 7:00 a.m.
Becca and I ran into our buddies Gregg and Jimmy on the final leg of our trek this morning.  Gregg was headed for the mountaintop.  Jimmy was finishing a hike.  After a brief chat with Gregg, Jimmy, Becca and I headed back for our vehicles.  In a sandy section of the trail Jimmy suddenly pulled up short.  I did, too, when I saw what he was looking at:  a small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.  Becca had walked right past the snake without noticing it.  (That's the reason Becca gets a rattlesnake vaccination twice a year.)  The rattler wasn't bothered by our presence; in fact, it didn't move at all while I photographed it.  An old myth suggests you can determine a rattler's age by the number of rattles it has, but that's not the case.  Older rattlers shed their skin about once a year, adding a new rattle each time, so the myth seems to make some sense; but young rattlers--who also add a new rattle at each shedding--often shed skin several times during rapid growth.  The only thing we can say about our friend pictured here is that he has shed skin five or six times already.
Moseying down the single-track

An early shade break

We've got to make a right turn here

Soaptree Yuccas (Bishop Cap on the horizon)

Looking through an Ocotillo at the road around the mountain

A tall Ocotillo and the Organ Mountains

Another respite in the shadow of an Ocotillo

Headed in this direction

On the road through the Ocotillo Forest

A young Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

You can't determine a rattler's age by the number of its rattles

Rattlers have a distinct arrowhead-shaped noggin

This baby was about 2 1/2 feet long

This rattler wasn't disturbed by our presence

1 comment:

Dr. K said...

I'm very relieved that the rattlesnake wasn't aggressive. It made for an interesting hike.

Desert Life

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