The return of FiveLong

I ran into an old friend yesterday on my way to close the gate 🙂

There’s a large, warm water puddle on the driveway just in front of the visitor center where lowland leopard frogs and Gila topminnow breed. Birds catch insects over the water and prints indicate that coati and raccoon forage there at night. Rattlesnakes, especially western diamond-backeds, hunt along the edges.

FiveLong, June 2012

We’ve heard tales of a large rattlesnake called Henry (that may or may not be our Henry) that hunted here for years and was well known among preserve guests and staff. But mostly Jeff and I have seen FiveLong, a female western diamond-backed rattlesnake, here.

She first appeared last year mid-June, at the start of our foot trail around the puddle. We saw her nearly everyday for a month or so, then she disappeared.

Yesterday (9 May) there was a rattlesnake coiled at the start of our foot trail for the first time in months and sure enough, it was FiveLong.

5long 2013
FiveLong, May 2013

Can you tell how she got her name?

I was a little worried that FiveLong’s favored hunting spot would worry our guests at the preserve. Not a problem! They assured me that “in May in Arizona, you EXPECT to see rattlesnakes!” And late this afternoon FiveLong moved to the opposite side of the puddle, well away from our foot trail. What a good snake 🙂

Snake Count is only a week away! Get the details on our event page.