This post is a part of the Reptile and Amphibian Blogging Network’s (RAmBlN) #HerpsAdapt event in honor of Darwin Day. RAmBlN is showcasing the remarkable evolutionary abilities of reptiles and amphibians by posting 1-2 blog posts per day 12-16 February. See the full list of posts on our website and follow us on Facebook and… Read More

Each spring, festivals are held throughout Texas in which thousands of rattlesnakes are kidnapped from their dens, kept without adequate food or water, tortured, and finally killed for entertainment and profit (find out more at If you have ever been out looking for snakes, or even spent time in rattlesnake habitat, you’ve probably noticed… Read More

The male combat “dance” of snakes – rattlesnakes among them – is an affair wherein the obvious isn’t the truth, and the truth is stranger than the obvious (Laurence Klauber, in Rattlesnakes, p. 703) When we think of combat, graphic images of violent competition come to mind: humans with swords or guns, sheep ramming their… Read More

Mother’s day is a much bigger deal than Father’s day. Why? Well, there’s just something extra special about mom (sorry Dad!). So, today’s post is about an under-appreciated group of moms (you guessed it), Arizona black rattlesnakes! Human moms – you think you have it tough? Rattlesnake maternal duties may only last a couple weeks,… Read More

When SocialSnakes started working at the Muleshoe Ranch Preserve in September 2011, we were interested in whether Arizona black rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerberus) den in groups here at the southern and low elevation end of their geographic range. They do! Last year we observed at least one Arizona black rattlesnake sharing a den at Muleshoe with… Read More

From the website “How can you cuddle without arms?” I was contacted a while ago by a student in the Animal Behavior class at Reed College. For this class, pairs of students design a website on an animal behavior of their choice and this student was working on social snake behavior. Check out their excellent… Read More

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,… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

Priscilla, Lois, and Arli spent their pregnancy together at a rookery from May through August, 2010. Arli moved away to a private nest shortly before giving birth. Priscilla & House, 1 September 2010 On 30 August 2010 we observed Priscilla (pregnant adult female) discouraging House (neonate / newborn) from potential exposure to a human predator.… Read More