A Tale of Two Trash Snakes

In August, 2018, we were blessed by one of the most exciting and interesting wildlife observations in recent memory -– and it happened right outside our door! We did our best to film and photo document what we saw, and we are excited to bring the saga back to life in this series of posts. It’s our way of getting you by our side, virtually, for this summer highlight.

Why Trash Snakes?

We’re poking fun at those who refer to common species as trash (they’re not!) by referring to the stars of this story, Rock Rattlesnakes, as Trash Snakes. People travel from all over the world to see Rock Rattlesnakes in the sky islands of the southwestern United States — and yet here they are, sheltering and hunting under various pieces of trash in our yard. So while all snakes may love trash, no snakes are trash.

1. Daryl Saves

Well into our second summer, we didn’t have much hope left that we’d moved to serpent’s paradise. We had traded the city for the Gila National Forest with high hopes of snakes on our doorstep, but with each passing, snakeless day, we questioned whether our forested, northern

2. Carol Comes for Dinner

The bike ride was hard, and now I was hungry. I set up the solar oven outside our front entrance to preheat, and flopped onto the couch. Not 10 minutes had gone by when I returned outside with

3. Carol Stays for Seconds

The day Carol revealed herself to us, consuming a whiptail on our doorstep, she ended up on the far side of the garage, under an old metal sheet. As night fell, I cast a dim light under her

4. Daryl Prowls

The day Carol showed up, we checked under the truck bed liner to find Daryl still coiled in a hunting posture under its downhill edge. “There are two lepidus in the yard…” we would say to one another

5. Daryl Plays Catch-up

What would a downpour do to Carol’s scent trail? It’s already been a couple of days since she passed over the ground here – did Daryl miss his chance at love, at least for now? The ground is

6. Daryl Finds Carol!

After a late night of surveilling wild snakes, I get outside mid-morning on the off-chance I can find one of our subjects sunning in the damp vegetation. With all the difficulty we’ve had in keeping up with them

Daryl is stacked on top of Carol (Rock Rattlesnakes).
Daryl is stacked on top of Carol (Rock Rattlesnakes). Can you see her barely-visible pink body and rattle sticking out?