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Sorry to startle you with the pictures of a Prairie Rattlesnake as the first animal on this page, but they are out there and one needs to be alert while hiking in the area.  They don't always rattle (this one didn't).  I hope to get pictures of turkey, quail, elk, coyote, black bear, songbirds, owls and hawks in the coming months. Since most animals spend much of their time staying out of view or moving quickley from place to place and photography isn't my primary interest, it may take a while to fill this page.

Black Sheep Mesa & Ramah Area Fauna




Above - A Pit Viper Family (Crotalidae) Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis) coiled waiting for lunch to come by.  Note the typical triangular shaped head.  Average mature length in this area seems to be about 2 1/2 ft, but this species has been documented to grow well over 50 inches long.  A rule of thumb is that they can only strike from 1/3 to 1/2 of their body length in pretty much any direction, but if you step on one, they are definately close enough to bit your ankle!
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Above - Note typical diagonal light colored stripe under the eye and darker oval mottled pattern on the body. At the tail this becomes alternating dark and light bands.This one was a light tan color, but they may be much darker.  In grassy prairies, I have seen greenish-grey ones.
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Above - Note how well camoflaged this Prairie rattler is among the sand, pine needles and oak leaves.  When I see them, I usually just walk around them.  Their niche in the scheme of things is to control the rodent population.  I am happy to let them do it.  Besides, unnecessarily messing with a rattlesnake is the most common reason for getting bit. Additionally, they can strike and inject venom by reflex action hours after they appear to be dead.  During the hot summer they are usually active at night, while they are frequently out during the day in the spring and fall.
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Site last modified :Sunday, April 19, 2009
Copyright 1997, 2000 by: Earth Spirit Therapies
Page last modified:Sunday, April 19, 2009