CSC -Project Noah: Dealing with the heat!
It is hot throughout much of the US and like many of our spotters, many of our snakes are taking refuge from the heat. Some species go into aestivation. This is similar to hibernation except this occurs during times of heat and dryness. The animal enters into a state of dormancy where it has a lowered metabolic rate thus conserving energy. Once environmental conditions improve, the snakes become active again.
Other snakes may change their activity patterns going from a primarily crepuscular lifestyle to a nocturnal lifestyle. And some species like coachwhips and racers just embrace the heat…it seems the hotter, the better!
It is also the time when male rattlesnakes go on the search for females. Males are full of raging hormones at this time and are biologically driven to find females. They may wander far and wide and cross into areas they would not normally enter following the pheromones of the females. The males can be somewhat aggressive in their single-minded pursuit, and animals that would normally retreat at other times of the year, are often not inclined to suffer any intrusions or delays that alter their attempt to find a mate. So please be extra alert and careful when you are out in rattlesnake habitat now and give these guys a break!
This week finds our Project Noah-CSC SNakes of the United States mission at 2457 spottings, upping our total over the past few weeks by over 160 snakes. We now have 939 PN users, an addition of 84 new spotters.
Our spotting of the week is this gorgeous Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus ornatus) by FrankPortillo.