Mother Nature is the artist. I just collect the memories…

Cruising for Snakes

I went out last night for a short snake cruise, hoping to scare up some Sidewinders and Panamints, but alas, the rattlers didn’t want to come out and play with me.  I did find a couple of other snakes, though…

California Kingsnake--Lampropeltis getula californiae

This king was absolutely gorgeous!  He was about 4-4 1/2 feet in length, very healthy and crisply colored with jet black and pure white bands.  This is a true “Desert Phase” California Kingsnake.  Quintessential in color, size, and attitude, but he did settle down and stop trying to bite for long enough to get a few pictures…

Further down the road I found this guy…

Great Basin Gophersnake--Pituophis catenifer deserticola

I have found and played with a ton of Great Basin Gophersnakes over the years.  This species is always fun to find, because you never know what kind of attitude they are going to have.  Some are incredibly calm, content to be picked up, held, and moved out of the road, and others…well…not so much.  This was one of the most defensive Gophersnakes I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering.  He was medium size, about 3 1/2 feet in length, but he was absolutely FULL of piss and hatred for me.  He was easily one of the loudest hissers I’ve ever encountered, and he struck at me more times than I could possibly count.  Not little strikes…2/3 body length, almost aerial, lunges towards me, the flashlight, the camera…anything that moved in front of him.  Of course, he was determined to convince me that he was gonna kill me, but that’s what I like to see.  If a snake is that angry at me, it means he will treat every other human he encounters the same way.  When this dude reaches 6 feet or more in length, he will be one helluva snake to deal with.  Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to meet him at that point.  Think he’ll remember me? 😉

Here’s another shot of the same Gophersnake.  Notice the similarity of pose and attitude?  He didn’t stop for a second…

Even after picking him up, moving him across the road in his intended direction of travel, and calmly setting him down inches from the cover of sagebrush, he had his sights on me.  What a great little snake!

Thanks for taking the time to look!


4 responses

  1. Rifqi

    Nice ones, always liked snakes, can’t understand why so many dislike them.

    June 27, 2011 at 4:23 am

    • Fear of the unknown. I do a lot of local education shows with snakes and you would really be surprised at how many people think every snake is highly venomous and dangerous enough to kill you. They simply don’t realize that 90% or better of all snake species are completely harmless. They also don’t realize that most venomous snakes aren’t going to kill you dead with a single bite. Even the hottest snakes take time…enough time for you to get medical treatment and be OK, in most cases. More people die every year from hantavirus than from snake bites…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      June 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm

  2. Aw what a great gophersnake. I’ve never seen one, but they look so full of personality. and that king snake; wow. gorgeous.

    People are always surprised when I profess love for the “creepies” – bats, snakes, spiders and pretty much every other reptile or amphibian. Contrary to their opinions, I think they’re the ones who are nutty. Holding onto some atavistic fear of well, basically nothing. Even the poisonous among those creatures would rather not have to deal with you. Women especially I find ridiculous, but whatever. I’m glad you are out there fighting the good fight.

    July 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm

  3. toddmichaelcox

    Good stuff. That gophersnake is a handsome devil, and obviously ungrateful, like most road-saved serpents… which is part of their charm, of course. Nice pictures, and good message. Keep up the good work.


    PS: If you’re on Facebook, consider joining the group I started a while back:

    September 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm

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