rattlesnake combat

lara
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:14 am
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4

rattlesnake combat

Post by lara » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:01 pm

it was a day. but nothing too earth shattering, my back was not bad, found a couple of flowers i wanted to shoot, tested a new piece of gear, crunched the underside of the car pretty substantially, and oh, found some BIG rattlesnakes males doing their combat dance.

and then found a mojave green later. 3 snakes in one day.

and i was complaining i never get to see any rattlesnakes. the first shot has very little cropping, just a bit on the top and the right side. the second shot i wanted to get rid of a lot of the background so cropped tighter.

i wanted to get closer but the woman that was riding in my car kept yelling i was too close.

scared the beejeezus out of me everytime she yelled.

it really was an amazing day.

we have two thoughts on the species, Panamint rattlesnake, Crotalus stephensi or Southwestern speckled rattlesnake, Crotalus mitchelli pyrrhus. the third shot is to help really ID these big guys. photographed about 25 miles southeast of barstow in the newberry mountains.

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
TradClimber
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:58 pm
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4
Location: A Remote Area

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by TradClimber » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:22 pm

Great shots!!

I've seen similar behavor in BuzzTails twice before. They were mating.

Thanks for sharing.

TradClimber

User avatar
reptilist
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:43 pm
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4
Location: Eastern Arizona
Contact:

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by reptilist » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:22 pm

Great shots Lara!
Isn't that exciting!!!

As for the identity, I share your frustration. Fortunately, I know people who can answer your question with authority, so I'll see if I can get someone to chime in and perhaps tell us how they can tell the difference. (They look like specks to me...)


Hey Trad,
If they were neck wrestling then they weren't mating.
Mating is a cozy little arrangement of gentle rubbing and jerky spasms.... There are videos.
hahha

lara
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:14 am
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by lara » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:35 pm

reptilist wrote:Great shots Lara!
Isn't that exciting!!!
you betcha! for a girl out on a rare wildflower hunt this was way over the top on the excitement scale. i still can't quite believe it.
As for the identity, I share your frustration. Fortunately, I know people who can answer your question with authority, so I'll see if I can get someone to chime in and perhaps tell us how they can tell the difference. (They look like specks to me...)
that would be awesome.

Hey Trad,
If they were neck wrestling then they weren't mating.
Mating is a cozy little arrangement of gentle rubbing and jerky spasms.... There are videos.
hahha
i discovered that too. via videos. also i read if there are two males in combat, there could be a female close by and possibly a third male doing his thing all sneaky like.

a third snake we never even considered. although we were very careful doing our wildflower hunt and then coming back to the car. i checked the shadow for snakes before i got very close.

three snakes in one day! nothin' like springtime in the desert.

User avatar
TradClimber
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:58 pm
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4
Location: A Remote Area

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by TradClimber » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:58 pm

Rep posted:
Hey Trad,
If they were neck wrestling then they weren't mating.
Mating is a cozy little arrangement of gentle rubbing and jerky spasms.... There are videos.
hahha
Thanks for the correction, Rep.

Wishful behavor on my part!

Lara posted:
there could be a female close by and possibly a third male doing his thing all sneaky like.
I'm that third male.

TradClimber

User avatar
yuccahead
Posts: 604
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:39 am
The middle number please (4): 7
Location: SE UT

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by yuccahead » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:45 pm

Wow! Amazing photos Lara. You were lucky to be in the right place, etc...and we're all lucky there was a pro photographer there!

azatrox
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:38 pm
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by azatrox » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:53 pm

WOW! I've never seen rattlesnake combat...You are SO lucky to have witnessed that! I've seen thousands of snakes, but never combat...

As to the identity of your snakes, they are Crotalus stephensi (Panamint rattlesnakes).

Thank you for sharing!

-Kris

lara
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:14 am
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by lara » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:55 pm

azatrox wrote:WOW! I've never seen rattlesnake combat...You are SO lucky to have witnessed that! I've seen thousands of snakes, but never combat...

As to the identity of your snakes, they are Crotalus stephensi (Panamint rattlesnakes).

Thank you for sharing!

-Kris
kris, are you positive on the id? the tail rings suggest c. mitchellii pyrrhus as does the location where we found the snakes. 25 miles southeast of barstow in the newberry mountains. another herper has also suggested that species. they look SO similar.

lara

User avatar
reptilist
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:43 pm
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4
Location: Eastern Arizona
Contact:

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by reptilist » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:08 am

Kris is one of the experts I told you about Lara, I am convinced that he is correct.
8-)
I'd love to be able to rely on my own first hand knowledge of Panamint identification, but I just don't get over that way. Since the internet gives me access to all kinds of naturalist authorities, it's just great to be able to connect with someone who knows what he knows and can spare me the embarrassment of being wrong!
I've never seen rattlesnake combat either, but I know people around here who have... My turn is coming! Last year my son came back from a hike and reported seeing two rattlesnakes next to each other in what may have been a preliminary stare down.

lara
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:14 am
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4

Re: rattlesnake combat

Post by lara » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:53 am

well, based on the owner of http://www.californiaherps.com/ i am going with the mitchelii ID. here is what he says:

"Based solely on the range descriptions I have read, I'd say they're mitchellii. Stephensi occurs north of the Mojave river. "

we were south of the river. and his is also the second opinion that it is indeed mitchellii. even the experts can disagree!

thanks!

lara

edited to add: and then there is the overlap. groan. photos are off to a guy at cornell.
Last edited by lara on Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply