Rattlesnake Report for 5/28/12

30 May

Today when i went to look for Zoe I was unable to get a signal in any direction. I walked deeper into the forest and still no signal. I drove to the end of the road–no signal. I began to think she had either moved out of range or been carried off by a predator such as a hawk or owl. i decided to search for Utsanati’s signal to see if he had moved closer to Zoe and when I input his frequency into the receiver his signal was as if he was sitting right next to me! I panned the antenna around just to be sure and yes–he was right in front of me in the very same woodpile that he visited in the late summer of 2011. He had come back to the woodpile for what purpose–rodents, thermoregulation, shelter–or all of the above. Whatever the purpose I quickly got some video and data and left him alone in all his glory. I am amazed that in one week he has moved so far. He trekked from the top of the mountain above Earthshine to the woodpile–moving most likely along the edge of the forest as he did last year after his transmitter implantation surgery. The movements of Timber rattlesnakes will never cease to amaze me. Due to Utsanati’s presence in the woodpile his danger level is a 5. If you live in the area of the woodpile please use caution when walking/working near brush and thick vegetation especially from dusk to dawn when Timber rattlesnakes are most active.

I had found Utsanati but where was Zoe? I drove to the top of the mountain above the lodge to try to get to the highest point to search for Zoe’s signal–no signal. I drove down the trail in the woods below where she was previously located–no signal. I decided to slowly drive around the side of the mountain where she had last been located and venture up every road and driveway until I found her signal…it worked! The third trail I went up went through a field of tall grass and near the end of the field I picked up her signal quite strongly! I drove down a rough trail and through an overgrown field to where the road ran out near the edge of the forest. When I exited the vehicle I could hear a waterfall somewhere nearby. I searched the thick bushes and followed her signal to an area of overgrown vines, wild rose and blackberry brambles where I found her resting in a coil in the warm sun under some tall grass. She had ants biting at her and was twitching the get them to leave her alone. I also noticed that she had an injury or dry skin spot on her left side a few inches back from her head. Maybe she had encountered a predator in her travels? I was unable to investigate it farther because she moved off into the tangle of vines in response to my presence and the ants. She had traveled over 1/2 a mile in one week! She had passed through very hazardous terrain for a rattlesnake–farms, roads, trails, predators, dogs and humans were all obstacles in her way–but somehow she managed to survive. Where is she going? Only time will tell.

Watch the video of my search today for Utsanati and Zoe.

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One Response to “Rattlesnake Report for 5/28/12”

  1. Amy Lord 05/30/2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Hi Steve;I enjoyed the open house.Love the vidios-hows the opossums? luv Amy

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