Eastern Blacktailed Rattlesnake

Crotalus ornatus
Hallowell, 1854
Val Verde Co., Texas. May 23, 1997.

It was after midnight, and we were fifty or more feet off the ground, clambering around on narrow ledges on an outcrop of weathered stone. The air had cooled off, but the rocks were still warm from the previous day’s sun, and were now thermally radiating objects, bleeding heat into the air. This was a bit of craziness – one slip in the dark, and someone could be seriously injured. Then Steve flashed his light on a large flat rock near the top, and there was a small blacktail, coiled and soaking up heat from the rock! A large bulge in mid-body indicated a recent meal, another reason for the snake to remain on a warm surface.

The snake pictured here was a little easier to photograph, having been rescued from certain death under the wheels of an ice cream truck. That tale is told in the Return to the Trans-Pecos herp journal.

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here.

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