When I commented: "too bad that you are so afraid of them" He replied - "Oh, I'm fine with snakes, they take care of the darn packrats - but you know, the wife..."
No photos of those calamities here, for sure.
But some of my own older photos also bug me in hindsight: they show the snake in an impressive pose, reminding of a cobra ready to strike. The one above I have used over and over. Those photos portray our Western Diamondback as something he really isn't: aggressive and dangerous.
|Frodo and Tana barking from the right, Cody and Bilbo (not visible) from the left, Leika, the wolf, is to smart to get involved|
Our male dogs' hysterical reaction to snakes forces us to capture and move some snakes that make a straight line for the row of dog beds on our patio. I used to take pictures - hoping to use them for identification of repeat appearances. Even with more reliable methods (paint marks on the base of the rattle) we found very few. Experienced herpers tell me that snakes have a strong aversion to human smell and remember and avoid locations of traumatic experiences. I still believe that moving them about 500 m north simply offsets the route of their annual east west migration across our property enough to make them miss the patio. Anyway, those pics are purely utilitarian.
|Tiger Rattlesnake wrangled into photogenic loops|
There are very good photos taken in displays terraria where snakes have been kept successfully for years. These exhibits do a great service by safely introducing the public to the beauty of snake and hopefully convince the visitors that the reptiles are worth their respect and protection. The photos portray usually calm, content snakes as well as the artistry of the terrarium designer but there should be no pretense that we are seeing a natural setting.
By far my favorites are the photos of undisturbed snakes in their natural habitat (or what the snakes claim as their habitat, like nice cool patios). They are sometimes awkward because of the snake's elongate body shape and they often have to be shot through shrubbery and brush. But they provide information beyond just the fact that a certain snake species was seen by the photographer. They tell of the snake's behavior and preferences and of the photographer's patients and observation skills - and often - luck.
|A resting Diamondback that I found because a covey of quail kept pointing at him|
|This one rested at night close to my black light. I passed him again and again before he gave his rattle a warning little shake that I first mistook for the call of a Desert Clicker Grasshopper. Notice the dilated pupils.|
|A Mojave Rattler on the 'south forty' of our property - we left her there with some trepidation because she seemed ready to soon produce more little Mojaves with possible neurotoxin loads|
In this position the are less photogenic, but the shot shows that the photographer didn't disturb the snake's normal behavior.
|Bathing rattler, Photo by Jimmi S.|
|Christopher James Vincent's photo of Cartman, a Western Diamondback Rattler swallowing a Mourning Dove|
This photo of competing male rattlers was posted years ago to the photo gallery of the AZ Star. I down loaded it to my computer long before I started posting on the internet, writing a blog or thinking much about copyright. So if you should be the photographer - I went through the whole wildlife section of the gallery without finding your name - please contact me!
|Rattlers mating by Axel Elfner|
|Portrait by Margie Wrye|
|Black-tail Rattler (35 mm lens, uncropped)|
And then of course there are all the shots that I missed because I had no camera at hand: the one and only Tiger Rattle Snake in our back yard, the one time we saw a Diamondback swallow a Sonoran Desert Toad, the time when our Husky Tana seemed mesmerized by dancing male Rattlers in Tucson Mountain Park...
Those are always the best ones - in my mind at least.
|Painted rock by me|