Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Monday, April 23, 2012

California Dreaming 2012

After wrapping up the Everglades Paddle trip, I flew from Fort Myers, Florida over to San Diego, California for a work conference.  I was there a few days and had a great time enjoying the conference, the weather and visiting some friends from college and my residency.  Of course, some hiking was accomplished when I was free!

A couple friends were brave enough to hit the hills with me and look for some snakes.  They were not disappointed although it took a few minutes to get going.

Budding herpers!
Our first ruber (Red diamond rattlesnake Crotalus ruber), basking in dappled sunlight.

We would end up seeing many more, and I think I saw 8 or 10 in a few short hours.  I actually got a little unnerved.  I flipped more than half of the animals under rocks, and many of the ruber were quite large.  Only one or two ever rattled at me, but there is something about flipping a large rattlesnake under fairly small rocks every few minutes.  You start to feel like the odds are against your continued safety.

I spent most of my time up in the rocks looking for rosy boas and ruber.  I was hoping for a southern pacific rattlesnake, but had heard that I was "fine" flipping up in the rocks and wouldn't come across them.  Approaching a nice rock pile, I got buzzed by two southern pacific rattlesnakes Crotalus helleri, from a decent distance away.  One of them bailed into the rocks as I approached, but the other held the ground and began striking wildly.  Now being alone, and this being my first experience with these guys, I was wary and a little taken aback from the atypical (of what I am used to) aggressiveness.  I also got a little more nervous about poking around in the rock piles!

Crappy picture, but the animal was a total spaz.

Fortunately, the ruber show continued.

I found the ruber to be very relaxed, unaggressive and content to be left alone.  I focused on just trying to bother them as little as possible and get some in situ pics.

And the last snake of the day, another ruber.  The rocks were pretty dry beneath and I wasn't able to flip my first boa this day.

I made another attempt at boas later, and spent hours slaving away in the heat.  Another half dozen ruber showed up.

Just as I was giving up, I spotted this basking under a rocky ledge. Ahh sweet success!

Rosy Boa Lichanura trivirgata

This was a great short trip, and I knocked off a few animals I had not seen before.  Can't wait to get out west again!



  1. Nice assortment of photos. Really dig those ruber, how big are they?

  2. You were unnerved, yet continued flipping?!? This is something a mother does not want to hear! Just when I started to relax a bit about your herping adventures..........