SocialSnakes

Spring storm

This has been a strange spring here at the rattlesnake dens. It has either been unusually hot or like this: 14 April 2012 Last year, we saw a gradual increase in social basking behavior, followed by snakes dispersing for their summer hunting grounds. That process has been halted and restarted twice this year already! But, …

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Just for fun!

I’m hoping to have some current stuff to post soon, as the snake activity is really picking up right now, but I haven’t had a chance to go through our photos and videos yet. So, here’s a little something from last year, just for fun! A cold storm brought some much needed precipitation (a mix …

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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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Surprise neighbor

Back in November, we told you about a new snake den in the Galiuro Mountains (Scenes from a new den). We have been monitoring that den with our timelapse cameras ever since. After a relatively quiet winter, activity is really picking up around here. Based on our fall observations, we knew that western diamond-backed rattlesnakes …

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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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Drinking

Drinking is a behavior rarely seen in wild snakes. In fact, some would say that snakes don’t need to drink. While it is rare to see this behavior, snakes do drink and likely need water in addition to what they acquire from their food. How important drinking is to snakes became very clear to me …

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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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Podcast on social rattlesnake behavior

If you’d like to take a break from reading, but not rattlesnake behavior, check this out:The Reptile Living Room: Rattlesnake Behavior with Dr. Rulon Clark This is a great interview with my friend Rulon Clark about his research, including social behavior of timber rattlesnakes. Dr. Clark is now a professor at San Diego State University, …

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