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Short Hike In Foothills

Discussion in 'Field Herping' started by AjaMichelle, May 21, 2012.

  1. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    I went on a short hike about a week ago in the northeast foothills of the Sandia Mountains.

    I saw 6 herp species and wasn't even trying! :)

    Crotaphytus collaris (Collared Lizard) Number 01


    Urosaurus ornatus (Tree Lizard) Number 01 - Dark phase (Black and Gold)

    Crotaphytus collaris (Collared Lizard) Number 02

    What a funny way to bask

    The second collaris ran and hid in this burrow :)

    Urosaurus ornatus (Tree Lizard) Number 02 - Light phase (Tan)

    Urosaurus ornatus (Tree Lizard) Number 03 - Light phase (Tan)
    This male did pushups at me every few inches until he reached his burrow. It was hilarious, and really cool because there was an obvious sequence.


    Urosaurus ornatus (Tree Lizard) Number 04 - Light phase (Tan)
    Small male

    Second whip tail species
    I was spraying water around her and she kept coming out to drink and let me take photos lol

    Crotalus atrox!!! (Western Diamondback Rattlesnake)
    I didn't have my hook, so I stood around and took photos until it moved off of the trail. It was funny because it seemed like it was playing dead or like a stick and wouldn't move while I was facing it, but as soon as I turned away, it would slink into the grass. lol! you know I made sure to turn around a few times ha ha
    It was at least 3 feet long



    Attached Files:

  2. pjrojo

    pjrojo Subscribed User Premium Member

    Great Pics!
  3. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Thanks!!! :) It was a fun hike!
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    At least you weren't foolish enough to try to "tail" it!
    My respect for you continues to grow!
  5. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    No that's crazy! :) My day would not have ended well lol and it wouldn't have been a very nice thing to do to this snake.
    I would have left it alone after a minute or so but other people were coming up the trail and I wanted to protect it and the dog the people were hiking with (on lead luckily). This was the most agreeable rattlesnake I have ever encountered. :) It was obviously uncomfortable with me standing there, which was of course my intention. :)
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I hear ya! I was talking to a naturalist at the show who does educational work as well as snake removal. She was telling me about this guy that told her about being "attacked" and bitten by a rattler.
    When the details came out, it seems that the snake was crawling into a hole so Mr Big shot decided to grab it by the tail to pull it out.
    For my money he got what he had coming!
  7. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Great photos! The snake looked a bit lumpy, could she have been gravid?
    The collared and the whip tail looked nice and healthy.
  8. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    He definitely got what he had coming!!! People make up the dumbest stories when they show poor judgement. A friend relayed to me an "anecdote" told to him by another individual who had apparently been chased for OVER A MILE by a Gila monster that was trying to attack him. SO ridiculous.

    The smallest gravid females reported by Degenhardt, et al. (1996) were about 2.5 feet. This individual was at least three feet, and atrox are sexually active during the entire summer period, so it's definitely possible that this is a gravid female. The young are born during late July/August (as per Degenhardt) and it's about June so small females could be showing.

    I don't have much experience at all with atrox so I am not able to sex this individual at a glance. However, it did seem fairly heavy-bodied for its length. And I thought perhaps it may have been laterally flattened, but she does seem quite lumpy lol :)
  9. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Nice pics! I love that rattlesnake!
    I think the second collared lizard may be a gravid female as well. Usually the orange spots are a sign that they gravid from what I understand.
  10. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Thanks! :) that's really cool about the orange spots! I thought they were strange. I've never seen them on the males I've found. :)
    I'm pretty positive the first collaris was a male based on the coloration.

    It seems to be a good season here. There's a TON of insects available, it hasn't been too hot, and it's been raining. :)
  11. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    What a blast! It appears your hike was very successful.
  12. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    It was! I was after snakes and found one! :)
  13. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    I spoke with a friend who's a crotalus expert about the atrox and he told me it's a male! :) Apparently they can be fairly reliably sexed at a glance based on the number of bands on the tail! Cool! :)
  14. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Anytime you see a nice C. Atrox in the wild (unmolested...) is a good day :) Seen my share of many other spieces but yet to see a Western Diamondback in the wild... I need to get out there more :p
  15. JoeFarah

    JoeFarah Member

    Nice finds! I ventured into northern NM a few weeks ago, but i really need to go further south. Glad to hear you've been getting some rain.
  16. gapeachkatie

    gapeachkatie Elite Member

    That is completely awesome! And I agree, the rattle snake does seem to be kind of lumpy. I am willing to bet she is gravid. :D

    I wish I lived there, or at least had a chance to hike those trails.
  17. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Yeah NM is amazing! :)

    The rattlesnake is a male. I showed the photo to a friend who's an expert in crotalids and he told me you can sex at a glance based on the number of bands on the tail :)
  18. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    Wow great finds!! I wonder how many people would have just walked by them without noticing!

    That rattler is very cool, I'm glad it's too cold up here for them :) They deserve respect.
  19. justor

    justor Elite Member

    I am amazed by how many people live here (southern Arizona) and do not respect them. I got in a big argument with a coworker yesterday because she killed a rattler that was in her yard. In fact I know quite a few people who have a "kill on sight" mentality when it comes to rattlesnakes. Some people honestly don't think they deserve to live, and it's just because they are afraid of an animal which if treated with the respect it deserves poses no threat to them.
  20. gapeachkatie

    gapeachkatie Elite Member

    We have the same problems when it comes to the local Rattlesnakes. People will automatically kill them, without even a thought of the snake is probably trying to get away from them in the first place. I have come across a couple different ones while hiking, and every time they try to get away from the trail as fast as they can.

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