Puerco Mountains Report #6


Roger Repp's Puerco Mountains Report

Howdy Herpers,

First off, I'd like to welcome my friends Urs from Switzerland, Freek from Holland, and Adrian from Mexico. Yup--we're going international with the Puerco reports now. (Grin) I'll still try to remember all you "little people" in my life.

All right, Hans-Werner Herrmann (AKA Herman the German) joined me again on Sunday, 20 April to do a dust off operation on tracking the remaining snakes on our plot. There were just 3--all atrox. We also wanted to see what the two blacktail rattlesnakes were up to. With only ten animals under our watch, it is nice to be able to hit the animals on back-to-back days, just to see what changes in a short time duration.

AliAliThe first animal tracked was female Crotalus atrox #102 (FCA102), better known as "Ali." Ali exited from her den in mid-March, hung around within a hundred meters or so of that site, and then HAULED ASS about a kilometer to the east. She emerged from hibernation looking dreadfully thin--she has given birth two years in a row. Today, she looked like she might have choked down a plot biscuit or two during the past week. She was found snuggled comfortably against some prickly pear.


DoublenicklesDoublenicklesNext we went after diamondback male CA55 (MCA55), aka "Doublenickles." We found him on the move. He froze motionless while I took data, then moved on and covered about ten meters of ground before we left him. I've included a picture of him, even though I know an atrox stretched straight out makes a difficult photo subject.KatieKatie

From our boy 55, we headed off to the rolling bajada and arroyo land that is utilized by female diamondback CA61, "Katie." Like Ali, this year Katie emerged from hibernation a little on the lean side--despite the fact that she did not have kids last year. I haven't weighed her, but I can see that she is starting to put on the mass a little. I saw her mating in March, so if she can start putting on the feed, she'll likely be pregnant this year.

Following that adventure, we drove over to the north side of our hill. Need I remind you of the picture in the last report that showed a photo of Herman the German pointing out a Tiger and a Black-tailed Rattlesnake that were a few meters apart?

Blacktail CM9Blacktail CM9After the rapture of seeing a tiger rattlesnake and a blacktail within spitting distance of each other, we tracked down the last snake of the night--male Crotalus molossus #9, MCM9. Unlike MCM10, who was hanging around on the hill, CM9 has been down in the wash of late. He hangs out exclusively in what I call "stick middens."

These stick middens are usually at the base of tall ironwood or velvet mesquite trees; they are mounds of sticks that the industrious Pack Rats create. In the photo, note that CM9 is actually looking in an entrance into the midden; he is about 300mm above the wash island soil, on the midden itself. (I wish he'd shed that damn green dot off his head. He's REALLY a dandy snake, and our efforts to morph him into an unmarried Hindu lady does NOTHING for his image.)

On our way out, we were treated to two sidewinders--only one of which was SidewinderSidewinderphotographed. We are seeing explosive numbers of sidewinders in this size class this year. At last count, I'm up to 15 now. I expect more this weekend!

Here's wishing you all a good weekend--full of fun, friends, and herps.

Best to all, roger