Scenes from a new den

We were recently told about a new social rattlesnake den in the Galiuro Mountains. We hiked in to check it out, saw one western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), and decided to set up one of our timelapse cameras. The video below is from the first two days of our monitoring, and we were a little surprised at all the activity:

That video is a little long and it’s easy to miss all the visitors, so here are stills of all the reptiles we spotted.



This is a juvenile Sonoran whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus). The closely related striped whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus) often shares dens with Arizona black rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerberus; see Are aggregations of Arizona black rattlesnakes stable and complex social groups?).



A gila monster (Heloderma suspectum)! It is not unusual for Gila monsters to share dens with western diamond-backed rattlesnakes and Sonoran Desert Tortoises (Gopherus morafkai). However, this Gila checks out the den only to turn around and leave. Could it be looking for a date? It’s awfully late in the year for Gilas to be out and about.



Patch-nosed snake (Salvadora spp.) This is not a snake we have yet seen in any of our other dens. In this video, the patch-nosed appears to be checking the den out before moving on. Future videos may show if this snake continues to use the den.

There were a couple feathered reptiles here too (birds). Did we miss anyone? Who else will show up at the new den? Stay tuned…