Saturday, March 5, 2011

Roger Repps Suizo Report - Stuck Up atrox Part 2

Howdy Herpers,
My good friend Melissa Amarello, AKA  "Cerbermiss," has a most excellent website constructed around her work with Arizona Black Rattlesnakes. Like John Murphy, she has been quietly posting these Suizo Reports.
Dudes and dudesses, I'm getting syndicated.  It's about time! I've been told by many of you that I'm not doing these reports right. EWE want text under the pictures, because EWE get confused. Well, EYE like sending attachments, because they have the power of a real image behind them. Well, the way Melissa is doing it will no doubt please some of you. Which is to say, I AIN'T CHANGING WHAT EYE DO! In conjunction with her loving man Jeff Smith, and herptographer/naturalist extraordinare John Slone, Cerbermiss has built a killer website. The team is miles ahead of the competition (including me) when it comes to hands off documenting of snakes at the dens. Before you race ahead to my drivel, DO take the time to look at her stuff. To enjoy the "black velvet," click on the link below: Back to me, and the way I like doing things: There was a great deal of interest generated by a dead snake stuck in hole. This serves to demonstrate the level of this audience. Were they not fictional characters, we'd all be best friends with "Larry, my brother Darryl, and my other brother Darryl." Of all the comments to come in after the previous missive, I like "Sloner the Boner's" comment best: "Trapped to her death. Too bad she didn't have an arm to chew off. She might have been able to free herself, and get a book and movie deal out of it to boot!!!" John is a warped snake geek--I love it!

Getting back to the dead snake in the hole. As none of you will remember, we buried it on 13 February. And then, if I have the story right, SOMEBODY uncovered it on Friday, 25 February. This somebody
reports that she was a patient dead snake, as she was still there.  Then this somebody did NOT bury her again. So now, to bring us all up to speed, snake is alive on 9 February, snake is dead and buried on 13 February, snake is uncovered on 25 February, and left that way. (%^$$#@ i!t) What you don't know yet: fat, dumb and happy here shows up with digging implements on 27 February. Now, we'll rock with pictures.

Pic 1: Review. The last gasp of the snake, taken 13 Feb.

Pic 2: The stinky hole as found, surrounded by digging implements, 27 February. Note that the flat rock to the left of the hole is gone. (See pic 1).

Pic 3: The stinky hole close up. As the photo shows, no snake in the hole any more -- eh? Note the latticework of roots and flat rocks that forms around the tightest part of the opening. I could not claw into this hole with my bare hands--try as I did. The only tool that was effective was my rock hammer. It was obviously at this point in the hole where the snake got stuck. Most soil holes have a little ive--this one did not! Not even a millimeter.

My speculation is the snake entered some other hole, and tried to go out this one. Bad move! End of story.

It could be that the people who uncovered the snake on 25 February actually moved it then, but I don't really think that. My best guess is that one determined predator/scavenger sucked it out of that hole like a nasty noodle. Yummy............

Now, a few live scenes are in order.

Pic 4: a rerun from a previous report. February 2007, Hans-Werner Herrmann grabs a deep denning Gila Monster by the lips, and drags it out of the hole. See pic 5.

Pic 5: A new resident in the same Gila Hole as February 2007. This photo was taken on 13 February, 2011 when Brian Park and I checked the hole. It is roughly a 5 year old, ~100 mm MCL Tortoise. This Gila Hole started as a tortoise hole in 2005. Then, it became a Gila Hole. Now, it is back to being a tortoise hole.

Pic 6: Jeff Smith and I hit a slice of heaven on 25 February. The total score on herps encountered was staggering.
This tortoise clearly is not phased by the cholla spines that it is buried in.

Pic 7: The first basking atrox of the year for me. Note also the lack of respect for cholla on the part of the snake.

Pic 8: Lyresnake found by Jeff -- in a crevice where two chuckwallas were hanging together last year.

Pic 9: Image by my lovely wife Dianna. Taken from our driveway.  Safford Peak, NW Tucson Mountains, 27 February 2011.

The weather has since warmed up. Tomorrow will be the third day of 80 degrees. Mr. Smith is up and ready. I'll let you know what we find!

This here is roger repp, signing off from southern Arizona, where the turtles are strong, the snakes are handsome, and the lizards are WAY above average.

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