maternal care

World Snake Day 2015

July 16 is World Snake Day! While snakes are threatened by many of the same issues that affect all wildlife (habitat loss, climate change, and disease), negative attitudes toward snakes may be the biggest barrier to their conservation because it often impedes efforts to address other threats. So do your part by spreading positive messages …

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Zona returns

We were only able to pay a quick visit to our favorite rattlesnake nest sites in 2013, but it was a very productive trip. As always, we were greeted by familiar faces, one in particular a delightful surprise. In most snakes, we’re missing some basic information: How long do they live? How old are they …

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s day is a much bigger deal than Father’s day. Why? Well, there’s just something extra special about mom (sorry Dad!). So, today’s post is about an under-appreciated group of moms (you guessed it), Arizona black rattlesnakes! Human moms – you think you have it tough? Rattlesnake maternal duties may only last a couple weeks, …

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Removing the blinders

“Fear of the dangers of anthropomorphism has caused ethologists to neglect many interesting phenomena, and it has become apparent that they could afford a little disciplined indulgence.” (Hinde 1982) “To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and …

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Survivors

It is always a little sad to say goodbye to the 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 a safe place to spend the winter. That’s a tall order …

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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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Alice

Memorial Day Weekend 2010. Alice is a big, beautiful, dark female Arizona black rattlesnake with mustard yellow scales outlining each dorsal blotch. We first encountered her ~20 meters from a known rattlesnake den. Several of our party walked right by before we discovered her, coiled at an opening beneath a boulder, without her rattling or …

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