The test of an adventure is that when you are in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something is wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure. -Thornton Wilder

The nice thing about being confused is you get a chance to notice things a lot better than if you knew where you were going.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lizards and Snakes

You may recall heat was an issue while at Anza Borrego. It is embarrassing for me to write that for I've never done so before. I like it hot, not cold. But as I wrote earlier, a 30+ degree change in a span of two days was a bit much. We sat in camp one midday, in the shade, taking it easy. The two of us would take pictures of anything that came within range of our shady retreat. Here is a lizard that came by.
No, I still hadn't put my camera settings back as they should be, thus the brownish tint.

Some time later my wife said "Is that a snake at the base of that bush?" I got up to investigate and sure enough it was, and it was a Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli) to boot. He had been there all day long completely at ease with us so nearby. Even when I came in to photograph him he didn't mind. And there he remained for the rest of the day only to have left sometime during the evening for he was gone the following morning. Incidentally, that evening Sinbad didn't get to take his evening walk.
How do you explain why not to a cat?
Another picture taken with my point & click which gives a more truer color.
And look at that rattle. I count 13 buttons. This is not a sign of it's age though. Rattlesnakes may shed their skin several times a year producing a new button each time. The muscles in the rattlesnake's tail that create the shake are among the fastest known twitching upwards to 50 times per second.

Here is a video which gives you a good idea as to where he was in relation to us. My wife was sitting at the end of the picnic table when she noticed him. Sorry about the shake but I had zoomed in to the max and was hand-holding the camera. I didn't want to get too close and disturb him. I didn't know at the time that he would be placid.

17 comments:

  1. Wow you have some strange visitors around. We don't see these in the wild, only in a zoo. Nice photos.

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  2. Sorry John, but I preferred your wifes post.... NO SNAKES!

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  3. ha ha. the gig is up. (wanda's comment). :)

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  4. Very handsome lizard and excellent snake! Must be the year of 13-button rattlers.... Did you see any bighorn sheep?

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  5. Fantastic to see..and thanks for the video clip..it really was close to the camper.

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  6. wow, that snake would have freaked me out. I love the color of its skin. the lizard is really cool too. I'm wondering if those rattlesnakes are poisonous - those found in the Midwest are. I'm off to check that out.
    happy day to you and Sinbad.

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  7. I am still shivering at the thought of how close you were! Wonderful photos and video though...so I will just be amazed at your audacity!

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  8. The lizard I could definitely deal with but the rattler . . . NO!!! I've never seen a rattler in the wild and pray that I never do.

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  9. Oh how I hate snakes. Cute lizard though.

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  10. Hi there - splendid snake - pretty much showing "if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone!"

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

    PS: probably saw my last snake for a while a couple of weeks ago - called a Black Snake - about a 1m long (that not a mile for you non-metric folk!!)

    SM

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  11. This is excellent! Wonderful photos... looks like you may have gotten a little closer to the rattler than you should have! I also enjoyed the video. Only seen one rattler in the wild recently (about a year ago). Not many snakes this year, because of the low rainfall I suspect.

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  12. Oh, I just love reptiles, John. The lizard is great and the skin of the snake is wonderful. So glad the day was hot or else you would not have caught these beauties.

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  13. Interesting how the rattler draped itself over the top of those branches almost as a way to cool its underside. It didn't appear to flinch or move its eyes or heat-sensing pits at all, so I don't think it was too alarmed by your presence.

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  14. I've been thoroughly enjoying your desert posts John, but here you've gone beyond the call of duty. Good idea keeping Sinbad in.

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  15. Fascinating... but prefer seeing it from behind a computer screen. Not sure I would have been comfortable going to sleep! :)

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