Behavior

Arizona black rattlesnake aggregations exhibit hallmarks of sociality

This summer we presented our preliminary findings on social snake behavior at the World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, British Columbia. Because our presentation was so well received (we won the Herpetologists’ League Graduate Research Award!), we decided to adapt it for the blog. Enjoy! And we’d love to hear your feedback below, by email, …

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Sharing

Ever since we saw Roger Repp’s talk at the Tucson Herpetological Society, Burrow Buddies — or Not?, we’ve been fascinated by different reptile species sharing shelter sites. Multiple species often share the same overwintering site; we shared this fun example here back in April: At one of our new dens at Muleshoe Ranch, we have …

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Teardrop & TIE Fighter

Awhile back we dedicated an entire post to the lucky or skillful young rattlesnakes that survived their first winter. In this population neonate (newborn) rattlesnakes have less than a month to find their first meal and locate a safe place to spend the winter. Of course it helps when your mom gives birth a couple …

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Rattlesnake sociality exists, it’s complex, and likely occurs in multiple species

Drs. Rulon W. Clark, William S. Brown, Randy Stechert, and Harry W. Greene [1] found cryptic sociality in timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus). Timber rattlesnakes use communal winter dens and pregnant females aggregate together at rookeries to gestate their young. Clark and colleagues collected DNA samples from rattlesnakes to examine relatedness within these aggregations. While all …

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Survivors

Arizona Black Rattlesnake babies that survived their first winter. It is always a little sad to say goodbye to the Arizona Black Rattlesnake families at the end of the nesting season. It’s a difficult time for the neonates (newborns); in this population they have less than a month to find their first meal and locate …

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Sigma vs. the Squirrel

Squirrels and rattlesnakes have a complicated relationship. Some squirrels have developed resistance to rattlesnake venom so that an adult squirrel can survive a rattlesnake bite. Juvenile squirrels cannot, so they are often still prey to rattlesnakes. Because of their resistance, adult squirrels will confront rattlesnakes that wander near their colonies and sometimes even kill them! …

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