At the dig I went to this summer there was the common-to-the-US-West risk of rattlesnakes. In contrast to the many other time when I was warned there might be some around, this time some were! Finally!
more pics below the fold
this one was medium sized, with a well-audible rattle.
and on its way to a far removed field……. there is all that talk about the “Code of the West” and killing them, but in fact all people there who are in some sort of way interested in nature only pretend to kill rattlesnakes (when they talk to their neighbours), and carry them off to a remote location instead. This one went into a bucket, and then off to BLM land not too far away.
A few days later there was another one. Much smaller, and although it tried hard to make noise, there simple was no rattle yet. Too small a rattle, too few layers of dried skin available. Here it is, superimposed on a sauropod coracoid.
This one crept around some exposed bones, some of the jacketed already, and everybody rushed to get photos. The tour included a drop off a pedestalled bone about as high as the snake was long:
Later, it hid under a rock and waited to be shovelled into a bucket and taken to safety, too.
If I had to guess, I’d say both are Western Diamondbacks (Crotalus atrox) – but if you know better, please let me know in comments!
Cary Woodruff says these are Crotalus viridis