In the last few weeks, the genus Crotalus seems to be sliding its coils into my life with some regularity. This one was nestled in the short grass in front of the cabin that I’m staying in on St Catherine’s Island. A good reason to remember the flashlight at night.
The diamond markings (and face mask — like a raccoon) on this species (C. adamanteus) are quite different from the mottled colors of the timber rattlesnake (C. horridus). The diamondback lives in the coastal plain and prefers open piney woods, meadows and the edges of salt marshes. All these habitats are in decline, so the species is not doing well in most places. Extensive persecution doesn’t help. St Catherine’s Island is one exception: the animals are fairly common there. This one was relocated to an area away from heavy foot traffic.
beautiful…wondering what the function of the rattle is?
The most widely accepted explanation is that the rattle is a warning. Analogous to the stripes on a skunk, the high whine of an angry bee, or the bright colors on a stinging wasp.
Please entertain me, despite my reflexive spine shudder, by describing the relocation effort.
Island policy is that visitors may not mess with rattlesnakes, so I saw the snake being encouraged into the can with a large stick but no more. Then it took a trip to some uninhabited habitat. They have home ranges of many hundred acres, so it may be back…
That would wake you up, seeing that in a dark alley! Glad they are hanging on the island though. Did you notice less ticks in that area?
There are still plenty of ticks about, although not as many as in some years.
Gorgeous little eastern!