Thursday, June 11, 2015

Readers Write In: A Lawnmower Casualty and a Possible Rattlesnake Sighting. What are They?!

This is a snake that I ran over last evening with my mower. It appears to have a triangular shaped head. We found it still alive this morning when we let the chickens out (actually the chickens found it). We live 5 miles west of Cloverdale, IN.

I’ve showed the pic and asked others, and checked google images. But still not sure.

Thanks in advance,

Randy A.
Cloverdale, Indiana

Hi David,

I ran across this large (I'm going to say 4 foot, but I might be overestimating) snake while hiking "The Enchantments" near Leavenworth, WA (eastern side of the Cascades). It was around 2000' elevation on a warm, relatively open slope. 

The tail section looks banded like a rattle, but didn't appear loose enough to actually rattle. The snake did not exhibit any coiling or rattling behavior and at the time I really didn't think it was a rattlesnake, possibly just because I've never seen one before. It had been sunning itself on the edge of the trail and shifted off into the rocks at my approach. I tried a couple of interactive snake ID pages on the web and I'm now thinking it really was a rattlesnake. Arguing for - its size and very distinct head, much wider than body. Arguing against - the rather muted pattern (although the pattern gets more distinct towards the rear). Looking at a range map for the western rattlesnake, I don't think I was quite in its "core" zone but I was in its peripheral zone.

Greg W.

Would you be able to tell me what kind of snake this is. we are in north central Indiana.


Readers: What Are These Animals?

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the goal of these posts.

-You can safely assume that I know what kind of snake is in the picture, I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed.

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