April Showers Bring May Flowers; June Showers Bring…

Saturday afternoon started clouding up and thunderheads formed. I was still skeptical that it would rain, but the clouds and light breeze felt really nice regardless. Then, around 2:30pm, it happened.

As I mentioned in my last post, we are in the midst of the hottest, driest part of the year in Arizona. Temperatures keep rising (over 110F in some parts of Arizona today) and the relief of the monsoon is a long way off. Or is it?

Normally a desert rattlesnake would take advantage of a little storm like this to get a drink. But Henry (male western diamond-backed rattlesnake) has been hanging around the “twin lakes” and hunting in that crater for about a week, so he’s had plenty of chances to quench his thirst.

  • Rocky, sandy area with a distinct crater left by a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
  • Rocky, sandy area with a distinct crater left by a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, circled in red

Henry wasn’t the only one enjoying the weird weather. Even before the storm arrived, the humidity was up, which seemed to bring out the reptiles. This little girl was hanging out behind our house, maybe hoping for a drink?

Regal Horned Lizard
Regal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma solare)

And a little later we spotted a very large Sonoran Whipsnake ‘periscoping’ through the footbridge leading to the visitor’s center:

Sonoran Whipsnake periscoping through a wooden foot bridge
Sonoran Whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus)

Literally minutes after the first drops of rain hit the ground, we saw a Ring-necked Snake crawling into our yard:

Ring-necked Snake
Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)

After the rain stopped, Porter (female Western Black-tailed Rattlesnake) crossed the road toward the visitor’s center. She went up the stairs to a part of the building used for storage, smelling intently before coiling up on top of a wall. We set up some cameras on her and walked away.

Porter (female Western Black-tailed Rattlesnake) under surveillance.

That evening was cool and humid. It felt like perfect snake weather to Jeff and me, so we took a short hike in a nearby canyon. We were rewarded with this adorable little lady:

Female Arizona Black Rattlesnake
Female Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)

While there wasn’t enough rain to measure, the spike in humidity encouraged snakes to come out. Like me, the animals also appear to be ready for the monsoon to begin.

If you enjoyed this snake story