Well, despite some late winter cold, things are starting to move here in AR/OK.
As luck would have it, a friend told me about this spot he and his buddy had discovered while riding motorcycles. He said basically there was this little bluff area where you could look off and see some huge rattlesnakes. Well, I have to be honest, we as herpers get these fantastic stories a lot and they rarely pan out...so I was not super optimistic. Turns out I was wrong. Dead wrong! We got access to this property and hiked about 3/4 a mile to this nondescript little canyon...but it did have an open canopy, a lot of talus and a southwest exposure. We'd been there about 2 minutes when I noticed a big atrox curled up at the base of a large rock. Soon after, we spotted another one. Needless to say, I will not doubt these guys again!
There are 2 snakes in this pic, but you can only see one. The other is up against that big flat rock in the center/top 1/3rd of the picture.
My buddy's friend trying to point out the one by the rock. Funny how herper's eyes are so attuned to the shape of a coiled snake.
Snake #1 (although I actually spotted it second)
Snake #2 (spotted first) Its pretty well hidden, but in the very center of the picture up against that rock.
Snake #1 as I approached.
Snake #1 with my friends in the background.
This one finally noticed me and came to life! Poor guy had a horrible injury on the left side of his face...looks like it'll probably survive, but it won't win any beauty contests. At first I was afraid it was the reptile fungus...but after close examination of some photos, its definitely an injury.
AR/OK Atrox habitat.
We usually find coachwhips co-habitating in the same areas as atrox, but This guy was a beat up old racer.
Certainly won't win any beauty contests either!
After checking the entire slope, as I worked my way back 'ol scarface had made his way back towards me. See it?
A little closer...
Right up against the bluff I noticed a huge, wallowed out circle. Theres only one thing that makes a spot like this. I never found the creator, but I promise it will be a 6 ft snake. This circular area is hard to discern, but it was easily 30-35" in diameter.
So, as I am gathering my camera gear to head out...I get that feeling that something is watching me!
This one was right around 60" and thick.
He didn't care for my picture taking and went all atroxy on me...
After I sent him on his way, I noticed 2 more heads staring out of the rocks at me. One had already crawled back into the crevice by the time I got my camera back out...
After this, we went to another den site that I visit every spring, but only found this guy. I apologize for the blurry pic, but I had about a 8 inch gab to get my camera into to snap this and was relying on my autofocus and hoping the snake hadn't decided to move forward!
Looks like spring has sprung!
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That looks like some great habitat there! Nice pics, especially the big fellow that showed up last. I notice a lot of coachwhips hanging out around timber densites in southeast Kansas...
Thanks for sharing! I recently moved to Oklahoma from Alberta and am excited for the herp diversity. Found my first snakes of the year today too, a smooth earth snake, brown snake and a plains garter. Can't wait to finally find an atrox!