As many among my friends know, I have been trying hard to take pictures of a rattlesnake. As you can see, once again, persistence paid off.
A week ago, as I went off the trail on a whim, I spotted a hole in the slope of a little ridge. And, as I often do, I got closer to see if there might be an animal hiding in there. I didn’t have to get very close to realize that there was a snake in it. And by the color pattern, I figured it must be a rattlesnake. He quickly moved deep into the hole as soon as he heard me.
Then, the next time I went hiking, I checked and, sure enough, he was still there. And he did the same thing, went into hiding again at the slightest sound.
The third visit went the same way except for one interesting development. My visits always occurred at the beginning of the hike because the spot is close to the trail head. But I always made a point of checking on him upon my return just to see if he might be out of his hole. And what a wonderful surprise I got. As I was heading on the trail toward his hiding place, I found this big rattlesnake in the middle of the path. I knew right away that this was not the same one. As you can see in the pictures, the one in the hole is smaller and has some brown-red color pattern, whereas the one that crossed my path is large and rather dark. Upon detecting my presence he froze. Then, as I was taking pictures, he decided that he better go back where he was coming from. So he turned around and crawled under the brush.
Then, during my next hike I went again to check the hole, and to my surprise I found out that the large dark snake was curled under a bush right next to the hole. And the smaller snake was also in the hole. I am wondering if this is not a family. Maybe there are some baby snakes in that hole. I think I will keep an eye on them.
Oh I almost forgot! One of my friends expressed concern that this might be dangerous. Yes, it is if you do stupid things. So folks, don’t try to do this unless:
1- you like and understand wild animals
2- you have a long focal lens
3- you are not afraid
A couple of more details, I believe these are Western Diamondback rattlesnakes, which is the most common in our area. They can live up to 30 years in captivity, but much less in the wild.