Friday, October 9, 2015

Readers Write In: Western Vipers to Identify?


I live in southeast Texas, and often encounter snakes on my walks. Some I can identify, but many leave me wondering. If I may, I'd like to send you two pictures and ask for your help in identifying them. I am particularly taken with the one who has the smiley face on the back of his head. Thank you very much.

Cathy N.

Location: Aguirre Springs Rec Area, Organ Mountains, east of Las Cruces. About 5000' MSL.
September 9. Notice rattles intact. Length estimated at about 30"-34"

My guess is Black tailed. Surprised by the definite green cast to coloration which I have not seen before in various rattlesnakes in this area. However, lots of green vegetation at this time of year on the east slopes of the Organs (monsoon season, as they call it here)

Jim B.
New Mexico

What Are These Snakes?

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 point of these posts.

-This is not a pop quiz, any kind of research is encouraged and I hope you will engage with other commenters to try to figure these snakes out. I will eventually chime in with my thoughts.

-Assume 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. Don't hate, educate.

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