Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Fixed Videography From Spring 2012

By Danielduff84

These timber rattlesnakes are dull, have a patina of dirt from being underground all winter, and one, as you will see, is deep in the blue of ecdysis, all signs of freshly emerged spring rattlesnakes.

Something that has always impressed me is how quickly the snakes re-surface from underground after I have set out the camera equipment. None of the fixed video I have taken is much more than a half hour to fifty minutes in length. This means the snakes are re-emerging after just a few minutes of my leaving the scene.

The response at the end is typical of when I return to gather my equipment. Whenever possible, they pull their coils inward in such a way that allows them to retreat with the head poised close to the more vulnerable tail. This allows for easy defense against anything that might try to grab the snake by the tail. I simply use a snake hook to gather my camera, and then leave to allow the snake to settle back down.

This video is only a brief glimpse into the complex life that a timber rattlesnake leads, but in these tiny moments a great deal about how they interact with their biotic and abiotic surroundings can be inferred. With these technologies, we are learning things that were once obscured to and even dismissed by the herpetological pioneers Klauber and Kauffeld.

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