December and January were pretty quiet here at the ranch; as you can see from the above photo, the weather has not exactly been snakey. OK, it only snowed a couple times and melted pretty quickly, but it has still been too cold for snake activity. Even Jaydin (adult male black-tailed rattlesnake) finally settled into …

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

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 individuals from the same den were not related, (…read more)


November was a month of lost snakes, found snakes, and Jaydin’s (our male black-tailed rattlesnake) wild ride. View from Boyett’s den Henry (male western diamond-backed rattlesnake) disappeared for the first couple weeks of November. How do you lose a giant rattlesnake? Easy: when you first have trouble locating him, climb the steepest hills nearby assuming …

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October draws to a close

I’ve always thought of October as the end of the snake season. Snakes settle into their dens and we check on them less frequently because they are no longer making long movements. But, if you ignore snakes over the winter, you’ll miss out on some really cool behavior, like this: A poor quality video of …

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Stop Roundups!

Sorry for the interuption from our regularly scheduled program, but this is important. Enjoy our blog posts? Like snakes? Then consider signing this petition to stop the unnecessary and cruel rattlesnake slaughter: Ask Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife To End Rattlesnake Roundups

16 October 2011

The week began with a visit from our dear friend Roger Repp, who wanted to check out our new study site and track some of the snakes. We had barely started our hike down Hot Springs Wash when we came across a very healthy looking Sonoran whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus). As is typical with this species, …

16 October 2011 Read More »

First week

A Sonoran whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus) at Muleshoe Ranch. Our first week of tracking was pretty uneventful.  We release snakes as soon as possible after their transmitter implantation surgery so that they can recover in their habitat. So typically the first week or so is pretty slow; the snakes lay low while recovering and don’t make …

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Off with a bang!

We arrived at Muleshoe Ranch at ~13:45 to meet with the manager and finalize plans for our new project. We are hoping to find 10 rattlesnakes in the next couple weeks: two western diamond-backed (Crotalus atrox), two black-tailed (C. molossus), and six Arizona blacks (C. cerberus). We got the grand tour of the ranch, including …

Off with a bang! Read More »