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 Post subject: Death Valley Herping end of February 2017: Please advise
PostPosted: January 11th, 2017, 11:32 am 

Joined: December 24th, 2016, 8:06 am
Posts: 3
Hello,

I am a lifelong enthusiast of herps but having grown up in Cleveland have had limited opportunities. My wife and I are taking a weeklong car camping trip Feb. 26-March 5 and I would love to find a sidewinder and any other native snakes -- my interest in photographing them on the spot and not even capturing/holding them -- only a photo. My questions are: 1) Am I too early? and if not, 2) Where might I best look/drive?

Many thanks, Geoff


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley Herping end of February 2017: Please advise
PostPosted: January 11th, 2017, 12:31 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
Posts: 1065
February can be hit or miss, depending on the weather. If its warm and sunny you should see lizards out and possibly snakes. Keep mind that in the National Park, there is a strict hands off policy, so its good you're going to follow that.

Try to stay as low in Death Valley as possible. The elevation gradient there is amazing. Not something you'll see in Cleveland. The sand dunes are good places to track sidewinders. Sidewinders are regularly seen around Furnace Creek campground in the winter. The paved park roads can be good for road cruising. The speed limits are pretty high but the roads are paved which is good. You're window for night driving is apt to be very short in February.

Death Valley is one of my favorite places. Post some pics!


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley Herping end of February 2017: Please advise
PostPosted: January 11th, 2017, 12:36 pm 

Joined: December 24th, 2016, 8:06 am
Posts: 3
Thank you for that quick reply Brian. I'll plan to spend at least a full day around Furnace Creek poking around. If I get any decent pix I'll be sure to post. Would you expect a number of other snake species in the vicinity of Furnace Creek as well -- if they've emerged by then I mean.


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley Herping end of February 2017: Please advise
PostPosted: January 11th, 2017, 12:43 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
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Sidewinders are probably one of the more common snake species in Death Valley. You might also see gophers, glossy's, leaf-nosed, patch nosed, shovel nosed, and Panamint rattlers. It can be a tricky place to find snakes but they are there. Some interesting amphibian diversity around Furnace Creek as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley Herping end of February 2017: Please advise
PostPosted: January 11th, 2017, 12:59 pm 

Joined: December 24th, 2016, 8:06 am
Posts: 3
Thank you again Bryan (sp!). Very helpful. If we have a week for our trip and we really would like to maximize the chance of seeing snakes, is Furnace Creek area the place to concentrate or might there be other, similarly low elevation areas to kick around? What about a place to camp that might be a good herp location?


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley Herping end of February 2017: Please advise
PostPosted: January 11th, 2017, 2:24 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
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Furnace Creek would be a good place to camp. Its below sea level and has some mesquite and dunes. There are other folks there that might spot snakes for you. The other dunes I was thinking of are the Mesquite Flat dunes. Lots of photographers in that area. I always thought it would be cool to find sidewinder tracks and follow them to the snake.


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