Surprise neighbor

New den

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 (Crotalus atrox), gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum), Sonoran whipsnakes (Coluber bilineatus), and patch-nosed snakes (Salvadora spp.) visit this den. So we weren’t surprised to see this large guy exiting the den on 29 March:

The rattlesnakes have been pretty active at the den’s entrance for the past few weeks, so we knew there were a couple male and female diamond-backeds inside. What we did not expect to see was this handsome fellow:

Yeah, that’s an Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus). The other Arizona black rattlesnakes we’re monitoring here are just emerging from their dens and none have moved away yet, so its highly unlikely this guy just showed up at this spot. He probably shared this den with the western diamond-backeds all winter. These species are not often found together and this may be the first observation of the two sharing a den. PLEASE let us know if we’re wrong about that – hey, you can use our new facebook commenting feature below!

New den
Not your classic Arizona black rattlesnake den 🙂