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 Post subject: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 9th, 2011, 8:55 am 

Joined: August 10th, 2010, 10:25 am
Posts: 76
Location: southwest US - NM
Had to post as it was weird, but made sense. Here in central NM, near my place, the weekend of Jan 29th it got warm, in 60's. I stuffed my face at the matanza that weekend but didnt get out to hike much around any hiberniculum. Now I wish I had. My neighbor called me this past friday and said that the morning of Feb 2nd he opened his door to find a YOY rattlesnake frozen on his dogs bedpad on the patio. Its a ground level cement patio. The snow had fallen overnight, and had blown onto the covered porch where it then lay over the now frozen snake. Im guessing the snake had crawled out from under the home, or maybe a flower pot onto the west facing porch to sun and then did not get back down in hiberniculum for the super cold days that came on Monday- Thursday.

He saved the snake in a jar, I have not been over yet to look at it, Im guessing sistrurus or virdis, as they are the most common around my place. Atrox have been seen on occasion, and I doubt a molossus would be out as far as me from the mountain in the winter.

Just thought I would let everyone know as Im tired of the unusually cold winter here so far, as Im sure those in this chapter are too.. So far January is the only month I have not found a snake in to date. Anyone else from central NM seen anything?

-N-


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 9th, 2011, 9:06 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:05 am
Posts: 1022
Location: Albuquerque
Bill Degenhardt would probably be interested in the specimen if you get it.

Josh


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 9th, 2011, 9:25 am 

Joined: August 10th, 2010, 10:25 am
Posts: 76
Location: southwest US - NM
Unfortunately, it was frozen and is still frozen, so it will most likely turn to mush upon thaw being so small (Im guessing). I use ethanol for tissues on DOR's I have found RC'ing, I have close friend who does molecular systematics work. I save DOR tissue samples I find throughout the year for when he comes to visit.
Im hoping to go see it this weekend, he's just down the road, but just havent had time to stop by.

-N-


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2011, 6:26 pm 

Joined: August 10th, 2010, 10:25 am
Posts: 76
Location: southwest US - NM
Went and saw the specimen yesterday, it was a Sistrurus.. . YOY, I wonder how many are lost each winter due to poor choices and jumping the gun when it comes to coming out of hibernation for good?.

Looked around today at some dens which are more soil based in composition, as opposed to deep seated rock. Unable to visit a den in a rock situation, Either way no luck.

-N-


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2011, 8:04 pm 

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
Posts: 709
nhherp wrote:
Went and saw the specimen yesterday, it was a Sistrurus.. . YOY, I wonder how many are lost each winter due to poor choices and jumping the gun when it comes to coming out of hibernation for good?.


That's pretty interesting. I always wonder about snakes emerging too soon as well. In some species overwinter mortality is the main source of mortality. With the bigger rattlesnakes, they seem to sometimes delay emergence (sit out the first couple warm spells) until conditions are more stable.


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 14th, 2011, 5:45 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
Quote:
With the bigger rattlesnakes, they seem to sometimes delay emergence (sit out the first couple warm spells) until conditions are more stable.

Not surprising and probably required to live long and prosper. We had a weekend that hit 70 a few weeks ago...followed by subzero temps that Monday and Tuesday. While that's extreme, most areas I've lived in can have similar variances during the early spring; one day will be 60 or 70, two days later you don't even hit freezing.


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 14th, 2011, 7:25 am 

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
Posts: 709
Crotalus lutosus will emerge, disperse, then survive through snowstorms and single digit temperatures away from the hibernaucula. But these conditions aren't unusual for April and May in the Great Basin. It seems like the snakes in areas with more cover around the dens are more likely to disperse early.


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 14th, 2011, 1:19 pm 
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Joined: October 29th, 2010, 6:06 am
Posts: 275
Location: Denver, CO
Here is a dead racer that got caught out in the cold in East Texas last week. Photo curitosy of my field crews down there working in the cold and snow.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Report of siting.
PostPosted: February 14th, 2011, 3:37 pm 

Joined: August 10th, 2010, 10:25 am
Posts: 76
Location: southwest US - NM
Quote:
Crotalus lutosus will emerge, disperse, then survive through snowstorms and single digit temperatures away from the hibernaucula. But these conditions aren't unusual for April and May in the Great Basin. It seems like the snakes in areas with more cover around the dens are more likely to disperse early.


I would imagine that Sistrurus here do the same, a layer of snow will insulate rather well if they are down even just 2/3 inches below groundlevel would probably be enough to survive. However, on the week in discussion the temps went from a 60F high on Saturday/ Sunday to a DTH 28F/NTL -9 on Tuesday. The snake was found on Wednesday morning?? Im still guessing it had taken refuge under a flower planter along the house wall and decided to find warmer refuge to late...

Sistrurus, to my knowledge or experience, are not communal here or anywhere in their range. My viridis are also rather lonely in their denning habits, using sagebrush burrows and the many abandoned gopher/prairie dog and fox holes scattered about my desert. A distinct difference from the large dens of their farther north representations. Atrox and molossus I have found in communal areas, and I do know of one den with a decent mixed population of atrox and viridis.

- N -


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