nonvenomous snakes, 2010

December 15, 2010

2010 was the first season when I anticipated that decent photos I obtained in the field would be posted here on this blog.  I found several specimens each of some of the most easily seen snake species, and took photos of most despite these species’ familiarity.

*

great basin gophersnake, adult female, Onaqui Mtns

late April 2010, great basin gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), adult female, Onaqui Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

This adult gophersnake is the first one I have seen in Utah that had no brown on it.  All its spots were black rather than brown.  She was quite annoyed to be disturbed by me for photos on this sunny but cool day.  I found her in the partial shade of a big sagebrush shrub.  She retreated into a crevice in the limestone, after our photos.

*

striped whipsnake, adult female, Onaqui Mtns

late April 2010, striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), adult female, Onaqui Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

striped whipsnakes, adult pair, Confusion Mtns

early May 2010, striped whipsnakes (Masticophis taeniatus), adult pair interacting, Confusion Mtns, Millard Co, UT

This appeared to be a male-female pair.  The one that was smaller was chasing the bigger one, which responded by retreating–but with much less energy than adult striped whipsnakes routinely flee from me.  When the larger one climbed up into a utah juniper tree (Juniperus osteosperma), the smaller one was confused for several minutes but tongue-flicked energetically, and eventually followed up into the juniper and continued its pursuit.

*

Different photo of same specimen as the larger one above:

striped whipsnake, adult female, Confusion Mtns

early May 2010, striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), adult female, into juniper & escaping the male, Confusion Mtns, Millard Co, UT

This specimen seemed calm when I approached for some quick photos after it had climbed into this juniper.  Adult striped whipsnakes are never that calm on the ground when approached.  Because it knew it was in a tree it believed it was less visible–I presume.  Smooth greensakes are similar in being slower-moving, and therefore more easily photographed, up in trees than on the ground.

*

habitat of striped whipsnake pair, Confusion Mtns

early May 2010, habitat of striped whipsnakes (Masticophis taeniatus), interacting pair, Confusion Mtns, Millard Co, UT

*

great basin gophersnake, subadult, Confusion Mtns

late June 2010, great basin gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), subadult, Confusion Mtns, Millard Co, UT

While walking at night with a headlamp, I noticed this small gophersnake staring up at the bright moon.

*

rubber boa, adult male, Wasatch Mtns

early July 2010, rubber boa (Charina bottae), adult male, under rock, Wasatch Mtns, Wasatch Co, UT

Of the 3 rubber boas I have found under rocks, two were juveniles and this was my first adult male.  He was 39 grams, 38-cm-long; and the air temperature was 65F, and the substrate’s temperature under the boa’s rock was 67F.  I believe few adult boas are found under rocks as late as July; but it does happen.

*

striped whipsnake, adult, Deep Creek Mtns

late Aug 2010, striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), adult, Deep Creek Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I snapped this shot as the snake was moving quickly.  A second later its head was down a hole.  I only happened to have the camera ready because I was photographing a blue elderberry bush nearby.

*

striped whipsnake, neonate female, Deep Creek Mtns

late Aug 2010, striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), neonate female, Deep Creek Mtns, Juab Co, UT

In previous seasons I had never found a neonate striped whipsnake later in the same season it must have hatched.  But this season I found three of them, and photographed all three.  There were hatchling sideblotch, western fence and sagebrush lizards in the area I found this one.  She was under a rock on an overcast morning.

*

striped whipsnake, neonate male, Asphalt Ridge

early Sept 2010, striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), neonate male, Asphalt Ridge area, Uintah Co, UT

This one, found far eastward on the other side of Utah, was out moving in the early evening in a rocky area about 5,500 ft elevation that held sideblotch and sagebrush lizards.

*

Different photo of same specimen as above:

striped whipsnake, neonate male, Asphalt Ridge

early Sept 2010, striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), neonate male, Asphalt Ridge area, Uintah Co, UT

*

great basin gophersnake, subadult, S of Vernal

early Sept 2010, great basin gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), subadult, on dirt road, S of Vernal area, Uintah Co, UT

*

Some years, mid-October is too late and too chilly to bother looking for snakes in northern Utah.  But on one warm mid-October day, in a generally S-facing area of the Stansbury Mtns, I happened to find three snake species within a short time–the four specimens shown below.

great basin gophersnake, neonate, Stansbury Mtns

mid Oct 2010, great basin gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), neonate female, under metal, Stansbury Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

striped whipsnake, neonate female, Stansbury Mtns

mid Oct 2010, striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), neonate female, Stansbury Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

habitat of whipsnake & gophersnake, Stansbury Mtns

mid Oct 2010, habitat of striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus) and great basin gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), Stansbury Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

yellowbelly racer, adult female, Stansbury Mtns

mid Oct 2010, yellowbelly racer (Coluber constrictor mormon), adult female, Stansbury Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I had heard from friends that the dorsal coloration of Utah’s yellowbelly racers can sometimes be brown rather than the usual green-gray color; but I had not seen one of those brown ones until this specimen.  It was basking on talus.

*

great basin gophersnake, neonate, Stansbury Mtns

mid Oct 2010, great basin gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), neonate male, basking, Stansbury Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: