My, aren't we sensitive!
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This is a Western Diamondbacked Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). This widespread snake occurs across much of the southwestern United States and down into northern Mexico. Throughout much of its arid range, it is a very common animal.|
From this front view, you can see many of this snake's outlets to the world (thus my title). The eyes are obvious, although these snakes don't have very good vision when compared to a mammal or bird. The large openings below and slightly in front of the eye are loreal pits. These are heat sensitive pits that can detect changes in heat as small as 0.02°C (if I remember correctly). Slightly anterior to that and above are the two small "nostrils". Of course, the snake's sense of smell is derived mostly from its forked tongue.
Western Diamondbacks are snakes of many undeserved myths and legends. They aren't aggressive and will usually take cover if approached while out crawling. If they are coiled up under a bush, they will often sit quietly as a person passes by, hoping not to be seen. They are very cryptic when coiled up in the dappled shade of a desert bush. If an approaching person or animal gets too close, they will let loose their telltale rattle, with its characteristic SSSHHH sound. Even when approached closely, the usually don't strike unless physically disturbed.
They are, however, dangerously venomous and should be treated with care. This species produces quite a few snake bites in the US every year, but very few of those bites are fatal. Most of those bites involve people handling or trying to kill the snake, and many of the bites from this species involve alcohol - it isn't the snakes that were drinking at the time!
Unfortunately, these animals are rounded up in several states and brutally slaughtered by the thousands in annual "rattlesnake round-ups". These events aren't for the squeamish as the snakes are mishandled for thrills before being brutally decapitated and skinned to make trinkets. The show sponsors state that the purpose of the round ups is to keep the population down to protect livestock and people. However, that logic is fatally flawed - if it worked, you wouldn't have to do it year after year. And if it doesn't, aren't you just slaughtering these animals for no good purpose? I've always wondered if people would turn a similar blind eye to feral cat roundups, or rabbit roundups where the cute little mammals were similarly abused?
Off my soapbox now for a little photo info -
Taken at the San Antonio Zoo through glass.
KM 7D DSLR
Tamron SP AF 90mm Di macro lens
KM 3600 HS-D flash off camera (Wireless) with Stofen Omni-bounce diffuser
cropped slightly and levels adjusted
Luc, Shaver, TAZ, Dave, ellis49, Janice, Alex_Strugariu, esimsek has marked this note useful
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Great photo, I was wondering how close you had to get to take this. were you at risk?
- [2005-11-11 7:31]
What a impressive and interesting snake that you have well captured! I also appreciate the complementary note… Congratulations Chris and thanks for sharing.
- [2005-11-11 9:25]
Super closeup! Nice perspective! Great note also, as always!
Very good close-up with good POV and details.
Great and very informative note,
Very well done.
Très impréssionnante cette tête!
- [2006-01-08 5:03]
Wow! I think you have a great shot of the snake here Chris. And what interesting notes too. Excellent POV and the centredness looks good. Well shown, thank you
Very nice close-up!
I have one of these guys at home and he always lets me know when he is pissed :) every time I go near his cage.
Great shot with great details.
Hi Chris, great shot, beautiful POV!!! Merry X'mas, Luís.