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.
- 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