Mojave Rattlesnake

Environmental topics about Death Valley
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ahamacav
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Mojave Rattlesnake

Post by ahamacav » Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:20 am

How weird, it seems that the Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) doesn't occur in DVNP. I'm thinking that the Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii stephensi) fills the void.

Anybody got the poop on this?
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Post by ahamacav » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:38 am

Know dnam little about this junk. Just noticed that scutulatus isn't on some park lists where mitchellii stephensi is.

Range maps show they are absent from the park- like, I guess it would be considered a biological indicator species of the mojave?

I'm thinking that the available habit is too narrow between the extremes in elevation- maybe the Panamint rattlesnake evolved from crotalus to accomodate similar conditions?

Sidewinder is crotalus also? That would take care of lower elevations/sand dune habitats and wider range.

Wonder if the Great Basin has a crotalus counterpart to these?

Fascinating stuff, exciting. Will have to look it up sometime I suppose.
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Post by David_Bricker » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:30 pm

Well, knowing absolutely zero about these critters, other than which end to avoid, does the species you asking about include the Mohave Red? Becuase I have photographed a baby one (I think it was a Mohave Red) at Darwin Falls. I suppose the upper falls are technically out of the park boundaries, but I was close.

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Post by ahamacav » Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:59 pm

David_Bricker wrote:Well, knowing absolutely zero about these critters, other than which end to avoid, does the species you asking about include the Mohave Red? Becuase I have photographed a baby one (I think it was a Mohave Red) at Darwin Falls. I suppose the upper falls are technically out of the park boundaries, but I was close.

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I think the Mohave red is the Panamint Rattlesnake, a slang name the same as Mojave green is the Mojave rattlesnake and also a slang.

It looks like the Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)ranges east of the Sierra Nevada and north of maybe Eureka dunes. I wish there were more information available from the state of Nevada so I could see how far south, or what Crotalus lives east of the park. That and these maps are so little-teeny-tiny with no reference to known points like cities. Like the reference to Baker and Ridgecrest helps (thanks, GWK) to put approximate boundaries in an understandable perspective.
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Post by Scott » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:11 pm

Interesting. I've been calling every non-sidewinder I see in the park a Panamint Red. But Californiaherpes.com
http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/p ... escription

is fairly vague about the range boundaries of the Mojave Red. I'll have to bone up on the difference and look sharper. Who knows?

Image

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Post by ahamacav » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:40 pm

That's one of resources I've been looking at.
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Post by ahamacav » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:05 pm

David_Bricker wrote:...I have photographed a baby one (I think it was a Mohave Red) at Darwin Falls. I...
You got it posted somewhere? I'd like to see it.
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Post by David_Bricker » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:11 pm

Well, the critter I called a Mohave Red looks quite a bit different than the one Scott just posted. Maybe because it was a baby? Of course, since I don't know much about them, I may be way off. For a sense of scale, this guy was about 12-14" long. You'll have to take my word for it. I wasn't about to put my foot next to it for size comparison.

Image

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Post by ahamacav » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:29 pm

That is cool! I can see the similar pattern between this and the calherps photos. The head is crotalus definately. I don't see too many snakes. Mostly when I do it's out at Joshua Tree NP. I always figured it was a blessing, but the last year or two that I've become interested in this junk it seems more of a curse. I've spoke to a couple herpotologists about this (almost sounds like a skin disease huh? :) ). Anyway, it'd be interesting to see a study on how people walk and the vibrations snakes feel. I've noticed some folks have an easy time walking into snakes, and some, especially groups, have a terrible time finding them.

Thanks for posting that. The DF area is special.
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Post by Scott » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:42 pm

The pic I posted is a Panamint, so far as I know, not a Mojave. But my point is that I don't really know the difference, for sure.

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Post by ahamacav » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:38 am

Scott wrote:The pic I posted is a Panamint, so far as I know, not a Mojave. But my point is that I don't really know the difference, for sure.
From what I understand, crotalus is rattlesnake. crotalus scutulatus is the Mojave rattlesnake (mis-named Mojave green); Panamint is crotalus mitchellii stephensi (mis-named Mojave red); Mojave Desert sidewinder is crotalus cerastes cerastes.

I was surprised (initially), from the list that the Mojave rattlesnake wasn't on the public park list. However, I can see that they wouldn't be generally throughout the park, maybe north of Owl Hole spring at the southwestern corner. Looks likewise for the Great Basin Rattlesnake, but at the north of and maybe east of the park.

So back to square one. The crotalus found generally throughout the main body of the park is the sidewinder (sand habitats?), but in the rocky higher elevations and foothills it is the Panamint Rattlesnake. Edge crotalus would include the Mojave rattlesnake, Great Basin rattlesnake (crotalus oreganus lutosus), and to screw things up a bit more, the Northern Pacific rattlesnake (crotalus oreganus oreganus)appears to range into the northwestern boundaries of the park (Inyo/White/Saline?).

Danm.

Maybe I should have settled for, nope, no Mojave Greens here.
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Post by RL » Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:54 pm

RE:
I wish there were more information available from the state of Nevada

Nevada hosts 7 venomous critters! Found some good solid info here:

http://www.alongtheway.org/rattlesnakes/venomous.html
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Post by ahamacav » Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:30 am

David_Bricker wrote:Well, knowing absolutely zero about these critters, other than which end to avoid, does the species you asking about include the Mohave Red? Becuase I have photographed a baby one (I think it was a Mohave Red) at Darwin Falls. I suppose the upper falls are technically out of the park boundaries, but I was close.

David Bricker / SYR
Looks like this kinda caused a bit of a ruckus on the other forum. Anyway, is that the area called China Gardens- or is that up further toward Darwin?
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Post by ahamacav » Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:31 am

RL wrote:RE:
I wish there were more information available from the state of Nevada

Nevada hosts 7 venomous critters! Found some good solid info here:

http://www.alongtheway.org/rattlesnakes/venomous.html
Thanks RL! Great link.
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Post by David_Bricker » Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:48 am

ahamacav wrote:
Looks like this kinda caused a bit of a ruckus on the other forum. Anyway, is that the area called China Gardens- or is that up further toward Darwin?
China Gardens is essentially the "headwaters" of Darwin Creek/Falls, and you're right, is up the hill. You can drive to China Gardens, by following the old toll road past the parking area for Darwin Falls. At China Gardens, there is a pond, which contains a large number of Koi, obviously not native!

I shot the picture of the snake just above the third falls (the really tall one). We had just climbed past the third falls, and the snake was sunning itself on a big rock we were about to step down on.

I suppose it is possible to hike down the falls from China Gardens, though I certainly haven't looked into that at all.

Yeah, the ruckus was based on the difficulty of hiking/rock scrambling past the first falls to get to the upper ones. A trip not necessarily for the faint of heart.

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