Snake Tracks Update for 9-14-12 *AMAZING Rattlesnake Encounter*

20 Sep

Today I discovered Zoe stretched out on the leaf litter–she was on the move heading north possibly toward her hibernation location.

I found her only around 100 feet from the woodpile where Utsanati has spent lots of time over the last year! This means that she has moved over 1/2 mile over the last two weeks and successfully evaded the heavy equipment on the south side of the ridge. Because I find these snakes in the vicinity of the woodpile in the early spring and again in the late summer it makes me wonder if these snakes use this ridge line as sort of a highway when moving from feeding to wintering grounds–only time will tell.

Zoe had a hitchhiking red mite at the base of her rattle.  I do not know it it was simply getting a lift or if it was actually feeding on Zoe.  Here’s a photo.

When I approached Zoe her she was calm, quiet and never rattled and barely even moved so I decided to test her comfort zone and see what it would take to get her to rattle without touching her–boy was I in for a surprise! I could explain what happened in a very long paragraph but the best way for you to experience it is to watch the video below.

Here is a photo from just after I shot the video…

Watch the video to find out way Zoe is coiled so close to my foot!

If the video does not show up just follow this link.

I am still processing this amazing experience but I will tell you that this encounter has further strengthened my belief that Timber Rattlesnakes are timid, secretive, docile and non-threatening–unless you harass them or harm them. Then they can be dangerous and will use their venom in self defense and I can not blame them for that because I would do the same if I was in their shoes…er, scales.

Zoe was very close to human inhabited areas on September 14th so if you live near the woodpile I mentioned please be on the look out for her. I plan to re-locate her on the 20th and will report on her then.

I found Utsanati sheltering in the remote forest at the edge of the power line access way far from human habitation and activity areas.

When I found him he was in a resting coil under a Mountain Laurel shrub. He never rattled or moved.

What a beautiful creature!

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 to further educate you about their beauty, uniqueness and value to a healthy forest ecosystem. 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 to all of you who have donated to ENP!! Without you this important work would not happen.

Click HERE to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit Earthshine Mountain Lodge and have a wonderful educational retreat!


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