Crotalus tigris — Tiger Rattlesnake
My buddy Roger Repp is carrying out long-term studies on Gila Monsters, Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes, and Tiger Rattlesnakes. He uses radio telemetry to locate animals with implanted transmitters, whereupon he notes their location, temperature, behavior, etc. I first got to tag along on one of these sessions in May, at which time one of the Gila monsters and a couple of the diamondbacks were cooperative enough to be out and about when we went looking. The tigers were not so photogenic at that time; we looked for two gravid females, "Gracie" and "Kim", both of whom were nestled deep in some rock crevices. By contorting my body and staring at just the right angle, I could barely see about an inch of Kim's flank. Gracie was completely underground at the time. That glimpse of Kim was my first wild Crotalus tigris sighting, but such a weak one that I didn't list it here.
In August I joined Roger again. Since my last visit, both Kim and Gracie had given birth and were now spending a lot more time on the surface. The first one pictured here is Kim; Gracie is the shy one hiding her head.
On my final morning in the Tucson area for this trip, I took one last early morning hike in beautiful Sabino Canyon, where I spotted this rather plain Crotalus tigris lurking beside a small trail, perhaps one used by appetizing rodents. This was the first Tiger Rattlesnake that I personally discovered, so it was a nice end to a great trip.
Roger Repp (Herp King of Southern Arizona, where the turtles are strong, the snakes are handsome, and the lizards are all above average) and I were out on his study plot radio-tracking Black-tailed Rattlesnakes when this Tiger Rattlesnake appeared in our flashlight beams just a few feet ahead of us.
Two of the three Tiger Rattlesnakes I saw on a particular road in the first forty-five minutes after dusk.
We had three or four cars full of herpers cruising a few roads at night, so we would often see one another pulled over, photographing some recently discovered snake. Our car didn't see any Tiger Rattlesnakes on the road, but we came across these two that other carfuls of herpers had already located.
- Bartlett, R. D., Tennant, A. 2000. Snakes of North America, Western Region
- Brennan, T. C. and Holycross, A. T. 2006. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Ernst, C. H., Ernst, E. M. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada
- Stebbins, R. C. 2003. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition