sociality

Arizona black rattlesnake aggregations exhibit hallmarks of sociality

This summer we presented our preliminary findings on social snake behavior at the World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, British Columbia. Because our presentation was so well received (we won the Herpetologists’ League Graduate Research Award!), we decided to adapt it for the blog. Enjoy! And we’d love to hear your feedback below, by email, …

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Sharing

Ever since we saw Roger Repp’s talk at the Tucson Herpetological Society, Burrow Buddies — or Not?, we’ve been fascinated by different reptile species sharing shelter sites. Multiple species often share the same overwintering site; we shared this fun example here back in April: At one of our new dens at Muleshoe Ranch, we have …

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Rattlesnake sociality exists, it’s complex, and likely occurs in multiple species

Drs. Rulon W. Clark, William S. Brown, Randy Stechert, and Harry W. Greene [1] found cryptic sociality in timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus). Timber rattlesnakes use communal winter dens and pregnant females aggregate together at rookeries to gestate their young. Clark and colleagues collected DNA samples from rattlesnakes to examine relatedness within these aggregations. While all …

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A Rattlesnake Helper?

Priscilla, Lois, and Arli (Arizona Black Rattlesnakes) spent their pregnancy together at a rookery from May through August, 2010. Arli moved away to a private nest shortly before giving birth, while Priscilla and Lois stayed at the rookery. On 30 August 2010 we observed Priscilla (pregnant adult female) discouraging House (neonate / newborn) from potential …

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Bandshell

Halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, a crumbling granite hillside gives way to a cactus-studded alluvial plain. Small, sandy washes break up this landscape and facilitate the growth of desert trees. Here, the western diamondbacked rattlesnake flourishes during times of plenty and, in leaner times, retreats to refuges to idle until conditions improve. In February of …

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Are aggregations of Arizona black rattlesnakes stable and complex social groups?

In 2010, we initiated a study of social behavior in Arizona black rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerberus) at sites where they aggregate. Here is a preview of our videos. Surveillance and timelapse videos taken at Arizona black rattlesnake hibernacula. Timelapse videos created with the PlantCam by Wingscapes and Adobe® After Effects® CS4 software. This first short video …

Are aggregations of Arizona black rattlesnakes stable and complex social groups? Read More »