Invisible Desert Wildlife

Invisible Desert Wildlife

Can you spot the rattlesnake in this picture?

What is a top safety tip for working in the Sonoran Desert? Watching out for reptiles!

My personal experience with reptiles includes many aquatic species such as pond slides and water snakes. All of the desert dwelling reptiles are completely new and interesting to me. From my experience working outdoors, here are three of the surprising reptiles I have encountered during my time in Arizona.

When working with buffelgrass beware of what is hidden within!

It is always important to make sure that when you are pulling buffelgrass that you must pull the whole root system out, to do that we use metal pick tools and wear gloves. In two cases, I have found reptiles hidden within the buffelgrass that I was about to tap into. The first instance occurred with a sneaky desert tortoise! Moved the majority of the plant out of the way and I was surprised to find a juvenile sleeping in the wedge!

The second reptile find was a two for one deal! As winter begins to set in, snakes tend to become less active, this means that it may be easier to accidentally sneak up to one. This is exactly how I was able to accidentally wake two Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes. As soon as I realized what I had just touched I instantly sprang back and told my crew lead, then I took a picture from a safe distance away and we informed everyone. That way everyone was aware of the area with the snakes so we could give them some space. I can now confirm that rattlesnakes are grumpy if you wake them up from their afternoon naps.

Sonoran Desert Tortoise hiding under Buffelgrass
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