A few days ago, everybody at SMER (except Anne and I) saw a Speckled Rattlesnake Crotalus mitchellii on the backyard patio. The finder, Ryan Evans, named the snake Smuuv Evans.
This morning I was out in the garden fixing the feeder station. Moments later, I went up onto our balcony and immediately noticed a Speckled Rattlesnake in the garden below! Being the only person at home, I immediately sent out a txt warning to the others and began taking photos and video.
Speckled Rattlesnakes are not uncommon in the rocky mountainous areas of the coastal desert. They can get up to three feet in length and their color can range from gray to red with a faded diamond-like pattern. Their tail section has wider white than black stripes. This particular snake was unique in that it had a dark scar along its back.
Our walled garden has two gates and a door into our house. The snake seemed to have entered the open gate and gotten trapped inside. My movements on the balcony frightened the snake at one point, causing it to attempt to escape right into a corner of the garden. Eventually, after doing several laps in the garden, it found a gap big enough to pass out where it promptly caught a rat (likely an invasive Rattus norvegicus). The rat was only in its death throes for a moment or so, and then the snake dragged him to the top of a leaf pile and seemed to enlist gravity in getting the big animal down its throat.
Later in the day, after Anne, Amy, and Ryan were all back at SMER, somebody called out that the snake had returned to the backyard – off we all ran. There, laying next to the shed was our rattlesnake… but what happened to that interesting scar? There must be two rattlesnakes, and then we realized that we were seeing two rattlesnakes, somewhat entwined. Smuuv was one of them, and the other I named Scar. So now we have two rattlers in the yard… anyone know how to sex them?
Here are a few pictures of the situation, video will follow soon (I hope):