Snake Tracks Update for 7-20-12

2 Aug

I apologize that this post is a bit late. This was due to technical difficulties beyond my control. Unfortunately, due to these issues I have not been able to locate Utsanati and Zoe as often as I would have liked over the last few weeks.

On July 20th I started my snake hunt rather late in the day. Finding Zoe was a bit difficult because of a bouncing transmitter signal. I finally located her only a few hundred feet to the southeast from the collapsed barn where I had found her sheltering on the previous locate day. She was coiled in a resting coil under a small Mountain Laurel shrub at the edge of the forest/field. She looked very plump. It is possible that she had recently eaten a large meal but also possible that she is gravid (pregnant). Only time will tell.

I then drove around the mountain to look for Utsanati. When I arrived at my parking spot the clouds opened up and the poured the rain for about 15 minuets while I waited it out. By the time the rain ended it was getting quite dark but I needed to find Utsanati so I headed into the dark, wet forest. Utsanati’s signal was leading me toward his last winter’s hibernation site…but he was not there. I trekked over the steep north side of the mountain through dense rain-soaked undergrowth and slick moss covered logs. Finally, I located Utsanati in the power-line access way that bisects the north slope. He was coiled under some low growing vegetation in a resting coil. He had moved a great distance over the last few days and seemed to be doing well.  I believe that he was in the access-way because it offers plenty of sun during the day for thermo-regulation and excellent cover for reptiles and rodents because of the piles of cut limbs and saplings left by the power companies pruning foray back in the spring.

After locating Utsanati I had an interesting trip up the mountain through the saturated dark forest and when I finally arrived back at my truck it was close to 10pm and I was exhausted but glad to know that both snakes were doing well.

For all the details of this snake hunt take a look at the video below. Keep in mind that it is the extended version of my trek. I wanted to show you some of what it takes to keep track of these snakes in their native habitat. Also keep in mind that I am not paid to do this research–this is a volunteer project that I am undertaking to learn all that I can about these amazing animals and to further educate you about their beauty, uniqueness and value to a healthy forest ecosystem.

Watch the video below for details and vision of the last locate day for Zoe and Utsanati.

If you would like to support the Snake Tracks Timber Rattlesnake wildlife conservation, research, and education project and/or Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate using this link. Receipts available upon request. THANK YOU!!

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