Friday, May 25, 2012

Suzio Repiort - Some Weird Molossus Shots

Howdy Herpers, 05/24/12

I've been slowly but surely digitizing some of my 35mm images. What's the point in doing that if I can't bore you all to tears with some of them?

I'm too lazy to go back to my notes, but I'm going to guess that it was in July of 2000 that the most unusual road cruising event I've ever witnessed occurred. We were in two cars. Gery Herrmann and Ralph Shepstone were in one, Mike Dloogatch, Steve Barten and I were in the other. As we were driving roads that were on the reservation, I insisted that we leave all our collecting equipment at home. Tribal laws are strange, and I didn't want us to get in trouble.

At one point in the evening, we pulled abreast of Gery and Ralph, who were busily jacking their car up whilst giggling like little school girls. We of course inquired if they had a flat tire, to which they sheepishly responded "no." It took a while to drag it out of them, but the short story is this:

They pulled along side a black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) to admire it. The snake darted toward the vehicle. As they had no tongs or hooks, they could only watch helplessly while the snake methodically crawled into the rim of their rear passenger tire. At the point that we arrived, the snake was not visible. But soon after, it shot out of the rim. Only Steve was quick enough with his camera to get the image of the snake coming out. Steve is one of the best photographers I know, but there was no time for anything fancy.

The first image in this report is all that Steve got--but I'm glad that he got that much!

How many of you have ever caught a rattlesnake with a tire?

Before I launch into the rest of images in this report, I want to ask you herptographers out there to participate in something I'm going to do with an upcoming Suizo Report. I want to gather images of molossus from all the various mountain ranges, and compare them. I'm looking for the prettiest, as well as the most dog ugly. In the end, we will decide where they are the most beautiful, and where they are not. But no matter WHAT they look like, they are still, in my opinion, ALWAYS a good find.

Now, to the pics:

Image 1: Already discussed, by Steve Barten.
Image 2: This scrawny, miserable looking molossus was found in Saguaro National Park West. It was found on 25 July, 1997--at the end of what at the time was the 2nd worst drought in weather history. (The droughts that followed this one in the Y2K century made the drought of '97 seem like kissing a pretty woman). The more I look at this image, the more I think this is a female snake that has dropped a litter. But as my notes indicate that it was blind in one eye, it could just be a snake that was in severe decline. The real reason I've slipped this one in is the color. Very weird for a low elevation molossus.
Image 3: Found in Sabino Canyon on 21 July, 1994, this one has the most pronounced atrox-like tail banding that I've ever seen. I'd LOVE to see anything like this from some of you.
Image 4: From Saguaro National Park West, found 16 July 2000. Note the posture of this snake--almost like it is constricting a prey item. The reason for the posture MAY be because it was infested with sand flies. Said flies seem to be absent in the image, so I'm guessing they all flew away during the photo session.
Image 5: By Dan Bell. No, we don't go around throwing rattlesnakes on prickly pear. We watched in amazement while this molossus crawl to the top of this prickly pear cactus THREE TIMES! It seemed to be hot on the trail of a prey item. It would crawl around the base of the cactus, go to the top, and come back down. We watched this for about an hour before growing bored of it and moving on. Snakes are amazingly patient hunters!
That's all for this one. Remember, I'm hoping to get some images from you that you are willing to share. Ugly, pretty, they are all VERY COOL rattlesnakes.

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

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