Behavior

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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A Rattlesnake Helper?

Priscilla, Lois, and Arli (Arizona Black Rattlesnakes) spent their pregnancy together at a rookery from May through August, 2010. Arli moved away to a private nest shortly before giving birth, while Priscilla and Lois stayed at the rookery. On 30 August 2010 we observed Priscilla (pregnant adult female) discouraging House (neonate / newborn) from potential …

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Pretty in Pink

28 April:  Molly basks briefly before leaving the security of the den to fulfill what is on every rattlesnake’s mind: the first meal of the year. It’s been over seven months since they’ve last had a chance to eat, so they’re probably quite hungry. Molly comes out first and coils on the left. The snake …

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Bandshell

Halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, a crumbling granite hillside gives way to a cactus-studded alluvial plain. Small, sandy washes break up this landscape and facilitate the growth of desert trees. Here, the western diamondbacked rattlesnake flourishes during times of plenty and, in leaner times, retreats to refuges to idle until conditions improve. In February of …

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Alice

Memorial Day Weekend 2010. Alice is a big, beautiful, dark female Arizona black rattlesnake with mustard yellow scales outlining each dorsal blotch. We first encountered her ~20 meters from a known rattlesnake den. Several of our party walked right by before we discovered her, coiled at an opening beneath a boulder, without her rattling or …

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Are aggregations of Arizona black rattlesnakes stable and complex social groups?

In 2010, we initiated a study of social behavior in Arizona black rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerberus) at sites where they aggregate. Here is a preview of our videos. Surveillance and timelapse videos taken at Arizona black rattlesnake hibernacula. Timelapse videos created with the PlantCam by Wingscapes and Adobe® After Effects® CS4 software. This first short video …

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