How viper behavior increases their effect on prey populations The sound of domestic cats fighting is probably familiar to most readers of this blog. Like most predators, cats defend their turf and the resources within. Prey is often scarce and starvation a real possibility, so it makes sense to fight for access to these resources.… Read More


In one week (9 December 2013) Social Snakes will join a group of bloggers to draw attention to ecosystem services provided by snakes. Social media has become an important tool in conducting effective science education and outreach and snakes have much to gain from this. Many reptiles and amphibians occur in large numbers in the… Read More


Have you ever watched a whiptail lizard run from you at lightning speed and wondered how anything ever manages to catch and eat them? Well, I’m about to tell you. On my way home from work, I noticed a western patch-nosed snake stretched out in the bare soil next to the walking path. She immediately… Read More


There’s been so much happening this summer, we haven’t had a chance to introduce our new guy, DoubleR. Since we got back Bane’s old and newly repaired transmitter (see here and here), we’ve been on the lookout for an appropriate candidate. Jeff had a few individuals in mind; big black-tailed rattlesnakes that we’ve seen near… Read More


Over the summer of 2013, SocialSnakes was blessed to be visited by many great people, including the author of this post, Jennifer Fill. We were honored to host Jennifer for part of her first annual trip to Arizona and introduce her to our neighbors which she had never seen before (western diamond-backed rattlesnakes, patch-nosed snakes,… Read More


Read part 1, when good transmitters go bad, here. Jeff returned shortly with Bane! He had moved, but luckily not far. We contacted the transmitter manufacturer, who graciously offered to repair the faulty transmitter and have it back to us in a week. While that is very fast turnaround, we didn’t want to keep Bane… Read More


Not a day goes by during snake season (~April – October) that we don’t run into a western diamond-backed rattlesnake at Muleshoe headquarters. Rattlesnakes are not territorial, so several overlap here, both males and females. Some even overwinter beneath one of our buildings… The star of this group is Henry, the very first snake in… Read More


A tiny, magical thing happened the other day. We saved a life. And by we, I mean all of us – the extended Muleshoe family. Back in May, we held our second annual Snake Count at Muleshoe. One of the great things about Muleshoe is its small, intimate space. Guests who weren’t here specifically for… Read More


The male combat “dance” of snakes – rattlesnakes among them – is an affair wherein the obvious isn’t the truth, and the 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… Read More


Jeff and I set out early 4 July to track Bane and Luna (male and female Arizona black rattlesnakes), who had both been sticking fairly close to the Nature Trail. Bane shed a few days before, and the rains had started, so we expected him to start mate-searching behavior soon. We tuned in Bane’s frequency… Read More