Muleshoe

Birthday!

Some people have wild parties for their birthday or go out for dinner, movie, and maybe see some music. Not my Jeff; it was a quiet night with the snakes for him. We set out after work to check on our friend Bane (adult male Arizona black rattlesnake), who was last seen headed toward Secret …

Birthday! Read More »

Nature’s trash collectors

Guess I’m just a sucker for unlikeables 🙂 Back in high school and the early part of my college career, I volunteered at Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky and fell in love with vultures. We called them nature’s garbage men (and women) because they have the important, but very un-glamourous job, of cleaning up after everyone …

Nature’s trash collectors Read More »

Bane, a creature of habit

Although Bane (adult male Arizona black rattlesnake) didn’t enter our radio-telemetry study until 5 August 2012, we first met him during last year’s Spring Snake Count. I had led a group of Snake Counters to Secret Springs, a warm-spring-fed pond that was formerly a cattle tank. One of the Snake Counters encountered Bane on the …

Bane, a creature of habit Read More »

Countdown to Snake Count: 1…

Snake Count is here! I’ll end this week’s roundup of snakes with the snake that started my obsession with rattlesnakes, black-tailed rattlesnakes (Crotalus molossus, hereafter blacktails). Many, many years ago, I attended the International Herpetological Symposium just for fun, as the only reptiles I worked with at the time were of the feathered variety. I …

Countdown to Snake Count: 1… Read More »

Countdown to Snake Count: 2…

I’ve already dedicated a post to gophersnakes and how I adore them, but since we’re almost certain to see one this weekend, they deserve another mention. Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer), or a close relative (bullsnakes, pine snakes), are found nearly throughout the United States. They can be very large (up to 6 feet in length!), but …

Countdown to Snake Count: 2… Read More »

Countdown to Snake Count: 3…

By far the most commonly seen snakes at Muleshoe headquarters, and most places where they live, are western diamond-backed rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox, hereafter diamondbacks). They are wide-ranging, found in a variety of habitats, and eat pretty much anything that fits in their mouth. They also don’t seem to mind humans moving into their space; several …

Countdown to Snake Count: 3… Read More »

The return of FiveLong

I ran into an old friend yesterday on my way to close the gate 🙂 There’s a large, warm water puddle on the driveway just in front of the visitor center where lowland leopard frogs and Gila topminnow breed. Birds catch insects over the water and prints indicate that coati and raccoon forage there at …

The return of FiveLong Read More »

A bold lizard

This is an ornate tree lizard (Urosaurus ornatus). They are small and usually common, so often overlooked by lizard enthusiasts. However, they are beautiful, curious, and quite entertaining to watch. And like Bane, they are bold. Neither Lula (our beloved female pit bull mix) nor the lizard would have allowed me to stage this photo …

A bold lizard Read More »