rattlesnakes, 2011-2012

December 28, 2012

Across these two seasons, these are rattlesnakes I saw in situations where photos were easy.  All these are great basin rattlesnakes, Crotalus lutosus, seen in the western half of Utah.

great basin rattler, adult (a), Washington Co

mid April 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), large adult basking in dusklight (a), under slab as found, Babylon Rd area, SE of Leeds, Washington Co, UT

*

Different shot of same specimen above:

great basin rattler, adult (b), Washington Co

mid April 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), adult basking in dusklight, (b) out from under slab, Babylon Rd area, SE of Leeds, Washington Co, UT

This old adult down below 3,400 ft elevation shared its habitat with desert tortoises, banded geckoes and chuckwallas, and perhaps also gila monsters and sidewinder rattlers.  Such habitat constitutes the lower-elevation end of this rattler species’ utilized habitat.  In Utah this rattler species spans up through ~8,000 ft elevation where the habitat is far different than this specimen’s lower & hotter desert habitat.  Most snake species have narrower habitat requirements than the great basin rattler.

*

great basin rattler, adult, Sheeprock Mtns

early May 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), large adult warming under board, Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

Unlike some other states in the western USA, few snakes in Utah are found underneath “artificial cover”.  But I found the large & sleepy adult in the photo above under this board:

habitat of great basin rattler, adult, Sheeprock Mtns

early May 2011, habitat of great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus) adult under board, Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

great basin rattler, adult (a), Southern House Range

mid May 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), adult in grass (a), as found, Southern House Range, Millard Co, UT

*

Different shot of same specimen above:

great basin rattler, adult (b), Southern House Range

mid May 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), adult in grass (b), unobscured on limestone, Southern House Range, Millard Co, UT

*

great basin rattler, small adult, Confusion Range

late May 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), small adult in dry wash, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

*

habitat of great basin rattler, small adult, Confusion Range

late May 2011, habitat of great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), small adult in dry wash, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

*

habitat of great basin rattler, adult under cliffrose, Oquirrh Mtns

early June 2011, habitat of great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), adult under cliffrose, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

Here, I found a large adult resting in the dappled shade of this shrub.

*

great basin rattler, adult under cliffrose (a), Oquirrh Mtns

early June 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), adult under cliffrose (a), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

Different shot of same specimen above:

great basin rattler, adult under cliffrose (b), Oquirrh Mtns

early June 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), adult under cliffrose (b), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

great basin rattler, small adult in ambush (a), Oquirrh Mtns

early June 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), small adult in ambush position (a), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I consider this photo above the best one of this post.  Maybe someone more knowledgeable about rattlesnakes can offer a better opinion, but I think this motionless position that I recorded may be an example of its “ambush position”–when a rattler coils on a rodent’s trail and waits, head cocked to strike.  There have probably been situations where I only noticed a rattler after my presence had disturbed it out of its ambush position.  But this one I noticed from a distance and was able to obtain this photo before my presence caused it to shift position.

*

Different shot of same specimen above:

great basin rattler, small adult in ambush (b), Oquirrh Mtns

early June 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), small adult in ambush position (b), disturbed & close-up, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

habitat of great basin rattler, whitish adult, Fish Springs Range

mid June 2011, habitat of great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus) whitish adult, foothills of Fish Springs Range, Juab Co, UT

*

great basin rattler, whitish adult, Fish Springs Range

mid June 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), whitish adult, foothills of Fish Springs Range, Juab Co, UT

*

great basin rattler, neonate at dusk, Oquirrh Mtns

early July 2011, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), neonate at dusk, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I noticed this little snake (that I’d guess was the previous fall’s newborn) as it moved slowly at dusk on rocky slope.

*

great basin rattler, small adult (a), Oquirrh Mtns

early July 2012, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), small adult basking in morning sun (a), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

*

Different shot of same specimen above:

great basin rattler, small adult (b), Oquirrh Mtns

early July 2012, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), small adult basking in morning sun (b), retreated into talus, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I suspect this small adult was a mature female that had been coiled & basking in the full sun during mid morning because it had developing embryos inside that it was warming.  It did not seem to have a noticeable meal (a “food bolus”) inside.  But its posterior, shown in the first photo above, seemed thickened a bit.  What do you think?

This adult was an example of a very calm, unperturbed rattler, as some can be.  I did not notice her until my nearness began to disturb her out of her coil.  She never rattled, and simply moved slowly into the shelter of this nearby talus.  There, she did not hide as deeply as she could have, but remained watching, as shown.

*

great basin rattler, neonate (a), Confusion Range

early Sept 2012, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), neonate in afternoon shade (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

*

Different shot of same specimen above:

great basin rattler, neonate (b), Confusion Range

early Sept 2012, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), neonate in afternoon shade (b), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

There, now you can see this baby rattler.  My nearness has not yet caused it to shift position.

*

Different shot of same specimen above:

great basin rattler, neonate (b), Confusion Range

early Sept 2012, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), neonate in afternoon shade (c), retreated under rock, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

My photography eventually caused this baby rattler to retreat under the nearby rock, but I was pleased with this shot of it peeking out.

*

great basin rattler, subadult, nighttime, Oquirrh Mtns

late Sept 2012, great basin rattler (Crotalus lutosus), subadult warming on paved road, nighttime, W Oquirrh 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: