Catron County, New Mexico has about 400 miles of paved road, and we're planning to walk every mile of it ... eventually ...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sssnake Season

Today's scheduled walk has been preempted by despised but necessary housecleaning. However, I forgot to give you the latest wildlife report. On walk of 4/9, two Gambel's Quail were spotted just north of Alma. And between Pleasanton and Glenwood, three roadkills - a large but somewhat flattened horny toad, and two smallish snakes, one probably a bullsnake, the other a little red racer, neither of them venomous.

Snakes, of course, are coldblooded, and are never seen around here in the winter. They appear in the spring and seek out warm sunny places where they can soak up as much heat as possible. Large flat rocks are good for this, and so, apparently, is asphalt. The hotter they are, the faster they move, but until they really warm up, they're sluggish and can't always get off the road quickly enough to avoid being flattened. So, in the spring and late fall, you see a lot of snakes basking in the heat of the road, and quite a few get run over by cars. Also in the spring and late fall is when more snakebites occur - the snakes, if they can't get out of sight, will hold their ground and try to defend themselves, and you may not notice them until you're too close.

According to Cynthia, you can tell which snakes are venomous by the shape of the tail and the head. In Catron County, there is only one you have to worry about - the western diamondback rattlesnake. Our walking gear for the next few weeks will include a pistol loaded with snakeshot, just in case we run into one of those.


  • At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Spike said…

    "According to Cynthia, you can tell which snakes are venomous by the shape of the tail and the head."

    I'd be too busy running away to do and ID :)


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