Friends of Big Bend is spending the day with colleagues across the state who are dedicated to the protection of the land, water and creatures of Texas. Thanks to everyone who has made a workplace giving donation to Friends of Big Bend through EarthShare of Texas! All of these great groups appreciate your support! ... See MoreSee Less
Here are some photos of the four* dominant rattlesnake species in the Big Bend region. Rattlesnakes are severely misunderstood, elegant animals. They are a very important and beautiful part of the Big Bend ecosystem, but are usually not treated as such. The rattlesnakes of this area are as variable as the Chihuahuan Desert landscape itself, with certain species preferring certain types of habitat and have adapted traits such as color and pattern to help them survive in that specific habitat. While rattlesnakes are indeed venomous, they are not vicious or aggressive and are unlikely to bite "just because." All animals, even humans, when approached in a menacing way are likely to defend themselves! Is it all that surprising that if you advance on a cornered animal that they will defend themselves in the best way they know how? Only a small percentage of rattlesnake encounters end in a bite, and in none of those bites was the snake the instigator. Now that doesn't necessarily mean the person bitten was consciously prodding the snake into biting. For instance, a person steps over a log or rock and steps directly into the resting coil of a rattlesnake and gets bitten. Who is at fault? In this instance, the rattlesnake is just as surprised as you are, so is anyone actually at fault? It is up to the hiker to maintain a constant awareness of his/her surroundings, knowing that they are hiking in an area that has rattlesnakes and be constantly on the lookout! A simple check before stepping could have avoided this ill-fated encounter. Most rattlesnakes will rattle and warn you of their presence (how very considerate of them), but there are some instances where they may not actually rattle. Rattlesnakes are ambush hunters and may sit in one place for months at a time waiting for a mouse, lizard, bird, rabbit, etc to stroll by. If you want to understand why this can influence a rattlesnake not to rattle, have a look at this incredible video.
This encounter with the bear was best avoided by the hunter remaining silent and knowing that his camouflage and de-scenting would likely leave him unnoticed and unharmed. Had he not stayed silent and still, not only could the bear have attacked him (not necessarily likely) but his entire hunt could have been jeopardized, scaring off potential game. Same thing goes with a rattlesnake. They rely on their excellent camouflage to keep them hidden and will avoid giving away their position if the situation is right.
Just remember, you're visiting their home! They're not going to stop you from being there, but they have their space and you have yours. Be safe hiking!
*There are two other species of rattlesnakes in the area, but are unlikely to be encountered in Big Bend. These are the Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) and Desert Massasauga (Sistrurus tergeminus edwardsii). (4 photos) ... See MoreSee Less
Big Bend Series #4Grey Fox The Grey Fox is a common small predator throughout Big Bend Park. A mostly nocturnal animal, the fox is commonly seen along park roads at night. Its diet of juniper berries, fruit, acorns, insects, birds and small mammals make the Big Bend its ideal habitat. One of Big Bend's most delightful denizens - curled up and watchful.
"Foxy Lady" by Bob Coffee
Bronze/Edition - 100
Size - 2 1/2" x 4" x 4"
Finish - Verdigris
Cost - $225
Shipping - $15
Tax - $
Contact Arlene Griffis at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase.