Sunday, May 27, 2007

Snakes in Burnet, TX

I spent a couple of days in the hill country in a small town, Burnet, TX, which is about an hour’s drive northwest of Austin. The terrain here consists mainly of dry, rocky scrub with the only green coming mainly from ashe junipers and flowering cactus. The perfect place to find a western diamondback rattlesnake(Crotalus atrox), which was the main draw that attracted me here. I’ve seen these guys on Discovery Channel and in National Geographic, but never right in front of me. Throughout its history the rattlesnake has been feared by all due to its menacing appearance- coiled up like a taut spring, rattle abuzz, and fangs ready to envenomate any aggressor that comes its way. We came across one while my friends were working on one of their deer feeders. It was coiled up under a juniper tree and to get a better look we had to force it out into the open. Well it didn’t like this and showed it by rearing up in the typical rattlesnake strike position. Its rattle shook and gave off a sound that once you hear it, you’ll never forget it. The diamondback’s coloration and diamond-like pattern allows it to blend in well against the rocky, desert floor, making the search for one harder and scarier. Most have no idea one is nearby until its rattle alerts you of its presence. I also have a short video that can be viewed here. It’s a bit shaky towards the end, understandably so- I was only about five foot from it.

While there I also caught two Texas rat snakes. One was 3 1/2 foot long it was a beauty! It was lying stretched out along the edge of a dirt road we were traveling on. When I apporached it I fully expected it to bolt, but it remained still until I picked it up. To view other pictures from this trip go here and click on the Burnet, TX set.

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