A very long engagement

There’s been so much happening this summer, we haven’t had a chance to introduce our new guy, DoubleR.

Since we got back Bane’s old and newly repaired transmitter (see here and here), we’ve been on the lookout for an appropriate candidate. Jeff had a few individuals in mind; big black-tailed rattlesnakes that we’ve seen near headquarters. As luck would have it, we ran into one late July, DoubleR (“red rattle”).

Within a few days of releasing him post-surgery, DoubleR hooked up with a female. And not just any female, this was a painted snake, an old friend… Porter?!?

We knew, or thought we knew, Porter very well. Since we met in May 2012 (during our first Snake Count), we’ve run into Porter often around headquarters. But we thought Porter was a male…oops…

As I write this on 3 September, DoubleR and Porter are STILL TOGETHER. Normally this time of year, blacktails are making fairly frequent long movements. But Porter has kept DoubleR close to home: in front of the Visitor Center, around the hot springs, and most recently around the casitas. A couple times Porter has gotten away from DoubleR for a day or so, but they haven’t been separate for longer than that.

How long will this go on? We don’t know. What’s the longest you’ve heard of a pair of rattlesnakes courting?

Here is a short video of the love-birds, or should we say love-snakes?