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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: June 7th, 2012, 12:24 pm 
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Location: Los Angeles County
Nice Paul, Congrats.. :beer:

Fundad


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 1:05 pm 
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Location: SW USA
Nice one, what are your thoughts on their presence in the U.S.? I know Grismer has found them in northerly parts (Guadalupe) etc...but how come nobody has found one in the U.S.??? Certainly not for a lack of effort, do you think they are a native to the U.S.?


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: July 31st, 2013, 2:19 pm 
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Figured a response would have appeared by now so I will answer my inquiry - Baja ratsnakes do not exist in California and probably never did. There have been too many resource folks and herpers in the area over the years to miss a big colubrid like a Baja rat....knowing how it was placed on the SSC list makes the listing even more disturbing IMO....


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: September 24th, 2014, 11:19 am 
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Not everyone would agree with you. Here is what Don Casabel mentioned on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5074


Quote:
I am aware of at least two or three spots just south of the US border where Bogertophis have been found, and apparently there is at least one north of the border where they occur (this explains the mountain springs record). Now the likely scenario is that while the Bogies are IN that canyon, they do not inhabit the surrounding areas (unsuitable), and even though those areas are HEAVILY HERPED (Mountain Springs) only one specimen has turned up (1984 specimen, likely a cruiser going from one pop to find another).


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: June 24th, 2016, 3:18 pm 
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Hi jonathon
Well everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it would be just that - an opinion.

If bajas were a native species they would have found another by now, and that is my proof: no Dors, no live specimens, and none found immediately adjacent to the border in over 30 years. the area where they would be is easily accessed and commonly visited by herpers, resource agencies, border patrol, hikers, and a myriad of other visitors and still no bajas.

Now if there is a relict population in California, and it is known about by somebody, than it is a shame they have taken the very selfish and ignorant route of keeping it a secret. The species is only an ssc which carries little to no legal protection according to cdfw but at the least a developer would have to mitigate for impacts and perform focused surveys if they were a verified native to California. At present a D8 can flatten the habitat and species without any repercussion. So who is actually winning in this situation; baja rat snakes - nope, cdfw - nope, recreational herpers or citizen scientists - nope. It will be developers who come out on top.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: June 27th, 2016, 6:05 pm 
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Hey Lateralis - I've been down to one of the canyons south of I-8 where Baja rat snakes might exist. It's definitely not "commonly visited by herpers", at least not at night during the prime months of the year. It's a dangerous and somewhat inaccesible place where only hardcore herpers dare to go at night.
Also, the area doesn't seem to be in any danger of development. Some acreage at Mountain Springs is up for sale, but no one seems interested in buying it, since the signs are old and falling over. Almost all of the potential rat snake habitat is part of the Jacumba Wilderness Area, where no vehicles are allowed (besides Border Patrol) - not even mountain bikes. Possibly the best canyon for rat snakes is about a 6 mile hike, one way.
I think it would require a well planned, multi-day backpacking trip, with a half dozen or more experienced herpers, during prime weather conditions, to have a good chance of finding a rat snake in CA.
Want to do it with me someday??

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: August 14th, 2016, 7:10 pm 

Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 7:35 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Long Beach, CA
They are down there. It's been verified recently. Info forth coming. Lot's of red tape.

PL


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: October 15th, 2016, 9:53 pm 

Joined: December 14th, 2015, 4:56 pm
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Any news on this ^?


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: October 20th, 2016, 4:52 pm 

Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 7:35 pm
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Not at this time. I'm not sure when.

PL


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: November 23rd, 2016, 11:06 am 
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Hey Surfinherp,
Im up for that and only live an hour or so away from Mtn Spring, shoot me a pm. I have a buddy in AZ who might join us; we have been discussing a trip down there for awhile. There are at least 6 palm oasis in the area that warrant a look, the remaining canyons etc...may be worthwhile but I believe the 6 spots I have in mind are where the snakes will be found, IF THEY EXIST IN CA.

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They are down there. It's been verified recently. Info forth coming. Lot's of red tape.


Paul when you say "down there" are you saying SoCal or northern Baja? What red tape? You submit a CNDDB form and you are done. Now that they are no longer an SSC one should be able to collect a voucher specimen, or at the very least photo document the animal. Anyone with a captive specimen can create a hoax though...and it would be hard/impossible to refute.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: November 23rd, 2016, 4:18 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
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Quote:
You submit a CNDDB form and you are done. Now that they are no longer an SSC one should be able to collect a voucher specimen, or at the very least photo document the animal. Anyone with a captive specimen can create a hoax though...and it would be hard/impossible to refute.


Good points. This is a tough situation for "one guys says", it brings several others to mind. Every additional person you added to an actual encounter event would make for a much harder conspiracy to maintain - additional witnesses would add a lot of credibility to what would be, in all brutal candor, a seriously doubted claim. Even if it was true. A crew might even want to have some kind of internal security protocol - before leaving the trucks empty your gear together to verify "no contraband", and once in-country, operate in 2-man teams so nobody has any solo time to unbag a previously-planted specimen. Just sayin'.

I would be interested in such a trip, if you all like. What would you consider prime weather? Or backing up a bit - the prime season? Seems like either spring (April-May) or shortly post-hatching (Aug-Sept), but the latter would be pretty brutal on the human body (particularly if we discovered the extreme drought has left no surface water available for pumping...that would be a vastly better thing to discover with DTHs in the 80's than in the 110's). And, despite being hypothetically better due to more animals (if any...) available for detection, hatchling season might not offer great visual-searching conditions if the animals are all hidden. (I assume every palm frond and smallish rock in sight would be flipped, but...is that even a worthwhile survey method for this animal???) Alternatively, I guess one could just hope to mount a short-notice mission during or right after any lucky monsoon dumps that area received. But that's a tough thing to plan on. And, I personally haven't had consistent good success herping after flash floods. Sometimes yeah, sometimes...big skunk.

What do you 3 guys think?

FWIW - I really don't think they are north of the border. But I'd be willing to put in some time looking. I like that country, I like a challenge, and I don't think much back-country effort has been put in. And hell, the bycatch alone would be a blast.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 2nd, 2016, 8:49 pm 
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I like it.
From what I can tell on recent GE imagery there are two ways to access what appears to be some sweet patches of habitat and connecting canyons. These areas are all due south of the spot where the DOR was taken.
It would be a trek to get into but not impossible and only the committed should undertake the venture. Another issue could involve private lands or study areas, I don't know the land status south of mountain springs but my GIS at work will provide it; if the region is included within our service area.

Here are some thoughts in regards to planning:
Approach this effort using good science and document as much as possible. Photos, good field notes etc, should be compiled by each team member and then distilled down to a solid report and biological inventory with pictures, maps, figures and so on after the trip is done.

Depending upon # of teams, send one to Guadalupe canyon with a couple of 8x10 color pictures of juvenile and mature rosaliae and perform interviews with locals.


1. Multiple teams of at least 2 people
2. Hunt both the spring and fall weather permitting
3. Attempt spur of the moment monsoon trips whenever possible

There's a thousand other things to consider and include in planning but I need to go eat.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 2nd, 2016, 11:40 pm 
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Location: San Diego, CA
I'm still down for a CA ratsnake search. Glad at least a couple of guys want to do it too!

I've been discussing the search with a few other experienced herpers and have gotten some good info, but I'll only share that privately.

In my opinion, the optimum time to plan a trip would be during the last two weeks of May. That's when the marine layer tends to move farthest inland, making the desert-edge extra humid. We would mainly be night herping.
I'm pessimistic about all other times of year. That said, I still might venture out there once or twice if rare conditions present an opportunity.

Looking ahead at the calendar and solunar table, it's likely that Mon. 5/22/17 could be a prime night. I've saved that date in my Calendar and am planning to get out to the habitat for at least that one night, hopefully two if I can swing it. I'll try to convince a couple of other local guys to join me. I bet NatureNate, Chrispherp, and Jeff Lemm would be interested.

I'm OK with keeping good fieldnotes and recording some data. The main goal for me though, is just to confirm the species presence in CA. Once we do that, then I imagine more detailed population studies would be initiated later on. If it turns out that they've already been confirmed, well then that's great - I still want to try to add one to my life list. I also want to search for switaki, rosies, Baja collared lizards, and maybe even Baja coachwhips in that area.


I'll keep working to round up a crew of experienced, trustworthy herpers between now and May...


Jeff


Last edited by SurfinHerp on December 3rd, 2016, 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 3rd, 2016, 11:18 am 
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Joined: December 7th, 2011, 9:14 pm
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Location: Upland, California
im in on that trip for sure !! it might not be a bad idea to take some firearms with us as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 3rd, 2016, 11:25 am 
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Cool Matt. Guns are welcome while searching that area. Like usual, I will contact the local Border Patrol and let them know what we're doing there.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 3rd, 2016, 8:25 pm 

Joined: December 14th, 2015, 4:56 pm
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I know for what it's worth I'm new to the forum / this conversation but I'd definitely be interested to do a trip down there!
-Jeremy


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 5th, 2016, 12:02 pm 
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Sounds like some interest is building BUT my suggestions were for a focused bogey search. Anything else is a bonus. Regarding notes - if this effort is going to be documented properly then notes must be taken and disseminated to be of value and that means a good write up. I have gotten two pms stating the snakes are there but various reasons why they were not vouchered. We need to avoid this kind of thing to be taken seriously - functioning cameras etc need to be in play however since rosaliae have been dropped to "watch list" status and are no longer an ssc we should be able to bag one - I will look into this further.

Guns?
Well I probably won't bring one, it's not that dangerous and it is more weight to lug around but carry at will, it won't bother me if I am there.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 6th, 2016, 5:58 pm 

Joined: December 14th, 2015, 4:56 pm
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lateralis wrote:
Sounds like some interest is building BUT my suggestions were for a focused bogey search. Anything else is a bonus. Regarding notes - if this effort is going to be documented properly then notes must be taken and disseminated to be of value and that means a good write up. I have gotten two pms stating the snakes are there but various reasons why they were not vouchered. We need to avoid this kind of thing to be taken seriously - functioning cameras etc need to be in play however since rosaliae have been dropped to "watch list" status and are no longer an ssc we should be able to bag one - I will look into this further.

Guns?
Well I probably won't bring one, it's not that dangerous and it is more weight to lug around but carry at will, it won't bother me if I am there.



Probably true, yet I think that whole area is quite under-explored and there might be a lot of awesome other animals we'll see. Should also be in range for switaki, right? One from that area would be an interesting find.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 6th, 2016, 7:02 pm 
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Here's a list of people interested in the ratsnake search so far:
myself (Jeff N.)
lateralis
Jimi G.
Matt G.
Jeremy W.
Daniel S.

That's a good start. A few more guys would be good.


How do you guys feel about searching during the second half of May?? Like I said earlier, I'm planning to go there on May 22nd when the solunar table seems ideal.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 7th, 2016, 10:28 pm 

Joined: July 2nd, 2013, 9:29 am
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Location: California
I got it on my calendar Jeff.

Daniel S.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 8th, 2016, 9:39 pm 
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Quote:
Here's a list of people interested in the ratsnake search so far:
myself (Jeff N.)
lateralis
Jimi G.
Matt G.
Jeremy W.
Daniel S.

That's a good start. A few more guys would be good.


How do you guys feel about searching during the second half of May?? Like I said earlier, I'm planning to go there on May 22nd when the solunar table seems ideal.


I am glad there is serious interest in this endeavor, it was my intention to plant a seed and see what the result would be. I currently have some spring trips in the mill already and thus my participation is going to have to be a tentative "yes" for now surfinherp. You boys go ahead and figure it out. I'll keep tabs on the thread but otherwise expect you or someone else to pm me and keep me posted on a final date/time as I would like to attend if it fits into my schedule.
Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: December 8th, 2016, 10:15 pm 

Joined: December 14th, 2015, 4:56 pm
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I'll be busy early May with testing and schoolwork, but late May and mid-late June are good for me. I should be able to make it down there a couple weekends.
-Jeremy


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: January 6th, 2017, 11:23 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:40 am
Posts: 116
Location: The field or the Bar
Back in 2010 my buddy and I tried 2 different days to get down into Pinto Canyon. One day we came pretty close, we were just over a mile from being in the canyon but turned back as it was getting cold-(wrong time of year for all night hunting) we carried guns, a BP agent even hiked with us for a hour at one point and told us he doesn't recommend hiking the area without a firearm. On one of the attempts we came across a group of approx. 24 illegals, we just passed each other. When we got back to the truck later that evening BP was waiting. We had to hand them one of our boots, as they had a mold of a boot print they were searching for, all in all we had a lot of fun trying, but no switaki or rat snakes seen. I did flip a BP sensor under a rock, not long after we were contacted by an agent on foot. All of them did try to detour us, or tell us it's not a good idea to hike that far down but technically they can not stop you if you want to do it. The rat snake is a species I've loved chasing over the last 10 years-(saw my first in '07) and really think they make it across the imaginary line. They've been found so close, it's tough for me to think they don't. Good luck to any who do try, I know I'll be back again when I think the conditions are right.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: January 6th, 2017, 11:25 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:40 am
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Location: The field or the Bar
Jeremy Wright, switaki have been found in the area.


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: January 8th, 2017, 11:37 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
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It's great seeing the interest in this mission. I will block out the 5/22 time span - most convenient timing would be to depart Utah Thurs 5/19 after work. It's about 12 hours to Ocotillo/Mtn Springs, I can be there around noon Friday 5/20. Alternatively, I could come down later, and return to work mid-week. Luna's third quarter is 5/18, I feel that anything from there on to the new moon 5/25 would be good, and about equally so.

Of course you local guys can track the weather and provide a heads-up to the group if you see something worth moving on - if vernal 2017 seems to be heating up & drying out earlier than expected, or if you get a late dump, or a good marine layer intrusion - whatever moves you. Personally, I'm inclined to lean towards moisture, over moon phase, as being a major determinant of surface activity. Even with some moon, in rocky canyons there's always lots of nocturnal cliff-shade, dark cracks etc. OTOH if there is some springflow, atmospheric moisture would be far less important. I expect the drought has impacted surface water...it might be hideous back up in there. Though I understand this winter has been decent so far.

I think a bigger group would provide a lot of security, as well as improve the chances of finding what we're after. I might also be able to recruit another guy - somebody tough and reliable - to come with. He's known to FHF, and many folks have met him.

I agree about firearms mostly being "dead weight", and would rather not drag one around in the field (though I'd have one under my pillow if I was sleeping out there - what's the idea on that? I'm assuming multiple night hunts, where & how are you guys thinking of sleeping?). I also am not uncomfortable in the presence of weapons, assuming the bearer is not impaired or an idiot, of course.

I'm 100% in agreement with the desirability of good record-keeping, and with the suggested steps for compiling something credible and useful. And with keeping the focus on bogeys, and simply enjoying any bycatch but not targeting/diverting to other stuff and not wasting any prime search time taking fancy pictures or otherwise ogling the bycatch. Get some 100% unambiguous voucher shots and a point fix, take some field notes, and move on. If it's something fabulous, bag it ("temporary detention") if legal. Again, personally I don't believe Bogertophis are there, but I think we can make a useful contribution by looking for them, and also by adding some bycatch records in an under-surveyed area. And I would love to be proven wrong about the bogeys. This might be the biggest herpetological expedition into these spots, ever. And it might not be repeated for a long time.

Slight aside - anybody know if CDFG or USGS is collecting negative data ("we looked, and did not find") yet?

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Santa Rosalia Rat Snake (Baja Rat)
PostPosted: January 9th, 2017, 9:48 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:57 pm
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Location: Davis/Santa Cruz
Hi guys,
Though i'm quite a ways away, I've always been fascinated with the possibilty of Baja rats in CA and spent a lot of time on google earth looking at those canyons. Don't think I'll be free for long enough during the prime time to get down there with you guys, but I'll follow this thread and if something changes, may try to join. Main reason i'm responding though is to put out the possibility of Eridiphas while out there as well. I'm sure some of you have read that old long post on possible US records, but at one point, Don Cascabel, who seems to be a very credible herper, wrote
Quote:
On another note, I would like to add another snake to the list, for California. Eridiphas slevini has apparently been found in extreme northern Baja (in press) and now joins Bogertophis to be a very likely candidate to show up in the mesic palm canyons along the eastern edges of the Peninsular Ranges. If anyone is actually interested in looking for these in S. Cal., I have pin-pointed two canyons that should have both species. You would have to hike in and night hike several nights to try and get them. If I still lived in the US, I would totally go for these.

I've never seen any follow up publication of this range extension, which would be on the magnitude of 250 miles or something, but if it's legit, then they probably would make it a little further, just like the rat snakes. Might be worth it to take a close look, and vouchers of all night snakes out there too so you don't miss anything.
-Elliot


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