Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Suzio Report, April 2012

What ho, Herpers! 04/18/12

Things are finally starting to pick up out in paradise. The monsters are up and motoring about, as are the atrox and molossus. The only sluggos on our plot are the tiger rattlesnakes, which have been walled up and mostly invisible since December. But as one of the images below demonstrates, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for their lardasses.

I think we can just rock with pics from here on out.

Image 1; One of two of our new Gila Monsters following a rodent trail. This one is female HS 19, "Birgitta." She was found on 4 March by the U of A herp class. She has thus far had a favorable home range, hanging out close to where we normally park. She has been surface active with every visit we've made since her release.

Image 2; Our female blacktail, CM 10, "Susan."
This image was taken on 7 April, and it is the most of her that I've seen since she went into hibernation last fall. While the snake looks obvious in this image, it was one of the more difficult "where's Waldo" events this year. The Peach and I went round and round the massive prickly pear she was under. We thought she was underground, but could not find a single hole under that prickly pear. Had we found a hole, we probably would have done the write up and missed the visual.

While on the subject of "Susan," on 15 April, I tracked her to the point to where she was not visible, under a flat rock roughly 10mm thick by 200mm square. As there were labyrinths of tunnels all around this small, flat nothing piece of shale, I thought said nothing piece of shale was poised as a cover over a chamber beneath it. So, Mr. Wideawake here hooked his fingers under the shale, giving poor Susan a 3 stooges eye-poke in the process. Her snout had been right where I put my fingers when flipping the rock! How a one meter long snake could fit under such a tiny cover object is amazing. And why I didn't get hammered in the process is equally amazing. We both got a good scare out of it, she rattled, and so did I.

All this inspired Hans-Werner to say "Dot vas very schtoopid, Roger!"

Image 3; This is the first in situ shot taken of our newest male blacktail, CM 12. He was captured on 25 March by Typing Boy here. His mass is 983 grams, his SVL is 1200mm.

In other words, he is over four feet long if we include the tail and rattle. This shot was taken at his capture spot, a day after his release. This is one DANDY of a snake!

Image 4, By Hans-Werner. Herrmann; Here is another shot that reveals the heft of CM #12. This lunker male has yet to get a name. We will either wait until he earns one, or a cash donor gives us enough to name him.
Image 5; This is female CA 133. This one also has yet to earn a name, but "Slone's Bitch" is the one we've been using lately. She hibernated at the top of the SW portion of the Suizo Range proper. It has been one hell of an effort to track her this winter. Thankfully, on 15 April, she was found all the way at the bottom of the hill. Slone's Bitch had six kids last year, and is the one that I showed courting with a male in my last report. One last tidbit. She was coiled in 100% sun when discovered. She warmed up 5 degrees C during the processing time alone!
Image 6; This is another unnamed female atrox, CA #87. She gave birth to 12 kids last year, and was being dogged by a large male since last October. Look at the heft on her! She could drop back-to-back years for us.

Image 7; Here we see CA #121, "Tracy." She overwintered in AD6--and did not move out until after 7 April this year. I feared her dead, and was glad to see her alive. She is a bit on the thin side. She has given birth for 2 consecutive years, and that can take its toll on a girl.

Image 8; Well, what do you know? A sign of life from a tiger rattlesnake! This is CT # 11, "Steven" If you look carefully at what little you can see, you might guess that he has fed. That is my guess as well. Steven is the first of 3 tigers to move from his hibernaculum.
Image 9 and 10: These are both HedgeHogs blooming. As you will note in image 9, these gorgeous little cacti are the only plant still throwing out a lot of color.
That's all that is fit to spit. Until next time, your remain you, and I'll remain roger

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