[Tweeters] Off-Topic - Finding Rattlesnakes reply

Scott R a y mryakima at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 14:23:49 PDT 2009

Hi Ted and Tweeters,

"Herping" as reptile hunting is called, is my second love, after birding.

I have found it interesting to be out with a group of the very sharpest and
most experienced birders, birders who would rarely miss a single bird, yet
who are oblivious to a snake crossing the road in plain sight in front of
their vehicles, sometimes even rolling right over the animal.

Although rattlesnakes are often encountered by accident in many places in
eastern Washington, one of the easiest ways to find them is to slowly cruise
a lightly-traveled paved road through rocky terrain in on a warm evening
between dusk and 11pm or so. The temperature should be above 60F. They are
also often found in the late afternoon before dusk.

Two of my favorite roads are:

Manastash Road (near Ellensburg) between the narrowing mouth of Manastash
Canyon and the end of the pavement. May through the end of summer, with May
and June being the best. This road is also productive for Rubber Boas and
Great Basin Gopher Snakes.

Vantage Highway between Vantage and the windmill farm west of town. Also
good for Gopher Snakes and Night Snake.

Success will be enhanced if the search is done during moonless and low-wind
periods with high humidity (cloudy or the period just after some rain). Late
May and early June.

North Fork Ahtanum Road (west of Yakima) between Tampico and the end of the
pavement is another productive road.

Cruise at about 20 mph using high beams, looking carefully at everything you
see on the roadway. You may need to make several passes back and forth to
be successful.
This technique will also produce Poorwills in on Manastash Road and other

The unpaved Crab Creek Road (Grant County) east of Beverly along the north
slope of Saddle Mountain can be productive during a hot afternoon after the
sun has set below the ridge. Also good for Yellow-bellied Racer, Gopher

I would be happy to hear of your trials and successes! I would especially
like to hear from anyone who has seen (in WA) the most elusive of
Washington's herps, the Striped Whipsnake. Seeing this one would complete
my list of reptiles in WA.

Scott R a y
Yakima, WA
mryakima at gmail dot com

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 12:14 PM, Ted Kenefick <tgkenefick at msn.com> wrote:

> Hello Tweeters,


> I have a bit of a "Bucket List" item to (safely!) photograph a Western

> Rattlesnake in Washington State this summer. In all my years of birding in

> Eastern Washington, I have never seen one. I have a general idea of habitat

> and some notion of decent locations as well but would really appreciate any

> and all suggestions as to good, reliable locations. What are the best

> conditions, time of day as well?


> I am on Tweeters digest so it would be most appreciated if you could reply

> directly to my email address. With the many varied interests of Tweeters

> members, perhaps this would be of interest to the entire group so maybe Cc

> to the entire group would be in order?


> Thanks so much in advance.


> Cheers and Good Birding,

> Ted Kenefick

> Seattle

> tgkenefick at msn.com


> _______________________________________________

> Tweeters mailing list

> Tweeters at u.washington.edu

> http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/tweeters



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