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30 April 2009 @ 08:59 pm
The Panamint Rattlesnake  
I first thought it was a roadkill and I drove right by it. I then thought that such a beautiful creature shouldn't be left on the road - to be driven over by other travelers in a way that's unfit for the alpha reptile of the desert. I stopped my car and backed up and then got out to pick up a stick and as I walked towards the seemingly lifeless body, it moved! It was alive!! I wasn't sure if another car had gone over it before and disabled it, but I quickly ran back to the car and pulled out my camera. I saw another car approaching and I put on the emergency lights and signaled the car to stop to allow safe passage for this beautiful snake! I clicked a few quick shots and then pulled out my video camera. By that time, another car of tourists had stopped and they were all looking at it eagerly. While I videotaped the snake moving to safety, a couple of them got excited and wanted to hear the snake "rattle" and threw a stick at it. I told them that that wasn't the right way to treat wildlife and it was amazing how quickly they understood what they had done was wrong and were feeling bad for it! And soon the snake was out of our sights and had coiled up inside a bush! It is amazing how such a big snake had made itself so small! And after the other tourists had left, I moved on. Happy that I might have helped the snake in whatever little way I could. However, in less than 24 hours, I was to see another rattlesnake in a different part of the desert with a different outcome. A roadkill. It wasn't a baby Mojave or a Panamint like I thought it was, but it was a Sidewinder. I picked that one up from the road and let it rest for eternity beside the empty road...





Bad light. Bad shot. Documented my first live, wild rattlesnake though! :-)






The music...






Hidden in a bush







 
 
 
summer_jackelsummer_jackel on May 1st, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Oh! What a beautiful serpent!

Your 'bad light/bad shot' is still better than most of my photos...:P I love the tail.
Aparna: Myselfinspirethoughts on May 1st, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
Wow! Snake is so beautiful! Although I would have not gone closer to it...

I saw teh stick that was thrown..that was not a good thing to do.
kejnkejn on May 1st, 2009 08:37 am (UTC)
"why did the snake cross the road?"

bad joke. :) i'm glad you helped it to safety and taught some fellow humans a lesson.

i'm hoping to see (at least hear) some amphibians tonight, btw. about an hour's drive from here is a lovely place for tree frogs. and i'm taking my video camera with me!
Yathinyathin on May 1st, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
"why did the snake cross the road?"

to get to the chicken on the other side, of course!

Mel: Heronkendokamel on May 1st, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, very pretty!
ZuZusuzan_s on May 1st, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
Beautiful snake. It was really nice of you to stop and help him across the road.
Gaurav Poothiaoldpondfrog on May 2nd, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
Just curious: Are you at the end of the spectrum that value all life forms equally?
Also do you know if that whole notion about humans being the only animals that kill/taunt for the fun of it, true?
Yathinyathin on May 2nd, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
> Just curious: Are you at the end of the spectrum that value all life forms equally?

Nope. If I did, then I'd have to be worried about the millions of insects on the roads and the animals that make their way to our tables!


> Also do you know if that whole notion about humans being the only animals that kill/taunt for the fun of it, true?

Not true. There have been documented (video) events of animals killing for no reason at all. The most famous of those is a bunch of Orcas killing a young gray whale after a massive struggle and then moving on. The "rogue" elephant is another famous example - which just wants to kill/hurt people without provocation.
Gaurav Poothiaoldpondfrog on May 2nd, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
So your compassion for the snake is an intuitive response(no explanation needed) or based on ecological conservation or something else?

Wondering if spending this much time admiring animals has shaped your philosophy around "our place in the world" for lack of a less dramatic phrase :)
Yathinyathin on May 2nd, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
> So your compassion for the snake is an intuitive response(no explanation needed) or based on ecological conservation or something else?

Intuition, mostly. Since it was a national park, I thought the animals deserves a bit more than just be on the road to be driven over by passing vehicles. Of course, these creatures are threatened as well, but I thought it was dead at first.

Oh well, one thing you learn by traveling so much into the wilderness is the remarkable self-healing nature of wildlife and plants. Leave them alone and most of them will bounce back from the brink of even extinction! Anthropomorphism sometimes causes emotions to take over and that causes such situations! ;)
depontideponti on May 4th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
I *DO* like your "bad" photographs...and this is a truly amazing sighting, because we were told that these rattlesnakes are tough to spot. (This was in Arizona...we too saw only a dead one.)
(Anonymous) on March 19th, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
Panamint rattlesnake
I've been to Death Valley and nearby several times looking for this species of rattler to take pictures. Nice fine; I envy you. Great pictures. Can you tell me the approximate location and elevation where you saw this beautiful specimen? Thanks very much, Jim Finney, Salinas, CA.
(Anonymous) on March 19th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
Panamint rattlesnake
These are nice pictures despite what you think, (People are often their own harshest critic) and you have my congratulations and envy because I have been looking for them for years (to photograph) when visiting Death Valley and nearby environs. Can you tell me the approximate location and elevation where you saw this beautiful specimen? Thanks very much, Jim Finney, Salinas, CA
Yathinyathin on March 19th, 2011 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Panamint rattlesnake
Hi Jim,

I found this one on the Emigrant Canyon road, a few (~5-10) miles from highway 190. That's Jayhawker canyon? I'm not sure of the elevation but probably 1000 ft.?