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  1. #1
    windrider
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    The Scorpion King...

    I've been meaning to post this for a while but a few months back I had a reptile and 'rachnid ride. The reptile was the very familiar Western Diamondback (I've seen enough snake threads on this forum to not feel the need of posting a pic) but the scorpion I am not so familiar with. The picture fails to do him justice because this sucker was big. When he ran across the trail in front of me I thought I was hallucinating and seeing a lobster. From the end of his pincers to where his tail curved was no less than 5.5 inches (insert your male measuring joke here.) I had no inclination to uncurl that tail and see how long he would actually stretch out.

    I have since done a interweb search and think he might be a Hadrurus arizonensis (Cenobite- is this in your area of expertise?) If it is H.a. the dude/ette eats lizards and snakes, i.e. it's a badass although the website said it is not especially venomous. I don't think he'd do well against the Diamondback from earlier in the ride but he was a mean looking bugger nonetheless. So if you're a mile or so south of the Rock Springs trailhead on the BCT and see this desert dweller, say hello for me.

    BRM
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Scorpion King...-scorpion-king....jpg  

    BRM

  2. #2
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    Wow we have Scorpions in our yard. I am glad that they are not this big lol...

  3. #3
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    Big is better.. you don't want to be stung by a small one.

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    The barking scorpions are the ones that'll get ya.

  5. #5
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    Arachnids are not my cup of tea but I have come across enough of them in the field to confirm that your net search was accurate. That is H.arizonensis, the Desert Hairy Scorpion.
    It's always cool to find a monster like that !
    If you want to see creepy, wait until you run into a really big Scolopendra arizonensis, the Arizona Giant Centipede. They are creepy when they get really big !

    I"ll have to dig up a video of one of the larger ones we found one night. I've handled the nastiest, most dangerous rattlesnakes and this thing had me acting like a little girl !

  6. #6
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    bark

  7. #7
    windrider
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    Barker-ite "Hellraiser?..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    Arachnids are not my cup of tea but I have come across enough of them in the field to confirm that your net search was accurate. That is H.arizonensis, the Desert Hairy Scorpion.
    It's always cool to find a monster like that !
    If you want to see creepy, wait until you run into a really big Scolopendra arizonensis, the Arizona Giant Centipede. They are creepy when they get really big !

    I"ll have to dig up a video of one of the larger ones we found one night. I've handled the nastiest, most dangerous rattlesnakes and this thing had me acting like a little girl !
    Cenobite,

    First, thanks for the reply. Second, what do you do that would shed more light on what "...in the field..." means? Your riding exploits here are documented but I can't seem to remember a connection to the reptile thing.

    As an aside- I'm more of a Heinlein-ite but if your ID here is a Clive thing, good on ya. Isaac and Robert A. carbon date me but I am a sci-fi fan. Their fiction is getting closer and closer to reality.

    Google-ing Scolopendra arizonensis now.

    BR
    Last edited by bigrigmig; 01-20-2011 at 08:12 PM. Reason: to end quotation
    BRM

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrigmig
    Cenobite,

    First, thanks for the reply. Second, what do you do that would shed more light on what "...in the field..." means? Your riding exploits here are documented but I can't seem to remember a connection to the reptile thing.

    As an aside- I'm more of a Heinlein-ite but if your ID here is a Clive thing, good on ya. Isaac and Robert A. carbon date me but I am a sci-fi fan. Their fiction is getting closer and closer to reality.

    Google-ing Scolopendra arizonensis now.

    BR
    I am a Clive Barker fan.
    What brought me here from IL is the wide variety of reptiles and more specifically, the 13 different sub species of rattlesnakes. Before I got into mountain biking, I would spend 3-4 nights a week and every weekend looking for, studying, documenting and photographing reptiles in AZ, CA, UT and MX.
    cerastes

    mx3

    Lutosus closeup

    Concolor #2

    In 2010, I focused more on mountain biking and didn't get out into the field much but I plan on starting back up in the spring.

  9. #9
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    Incredible photos, Cenobite39. I had an unexpected encounter with a monster yellow-and-orange centipede several years back in the Superstitions...the memory of it still has me wanting to shower in holy water.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrigmig
    I'm more of a Heinlein-ite
    He could very well be my all time favorite. You may also like Peter F. Hamilton- Fallen Dragon, another goodie IMO, although of a very different style (of course).
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  11. #11
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    I am a Clive Barker fan.
    Well now. That explains the handle. (if it wasn't already obvious)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride
    Well now. That explains the handle. (if it wasn't already obvious)
    Just did some quick googling. Obviously, some spend much time deciding on a screen names, while unfortunately, someone didn't.
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilaMonster
    Incredible photos, Cenobite39. I had an unexpected encounter with a monster yellow-and-orange centipede several years back in the Superstitions...the memory of it still has me wanting to shower in holy water.
    Thanks !
    Yeah, the Supes are where I saw my first Giant Centipede.
    We should probably post a snake warning on this thread !

    I have no problem getting close to rattlesnakes.
    Not even the nasty little prairie rattlesnakes that are found on the South Rim.


    And while up on the North Rim, I have even had a Great Basin Rattlesnake lick my lens before


    I let the mildly venomous Vine snake bite me to see what effects their venom has on humans. ( tingling hand and mild numbness )



    As VP of the Arizona Heretological Association, I used to do a lot of public educating at SoMo and NoMo Parks. These are the animals I would bring along to put in display cages.


    This is still one of my favorite reptiles.


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Just did some quick googling. Obviously, some spend much time deciding on a screen names, while unfortunately, someone didn't.
    Who's the unfortunate one??

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Just did some quick googling. Obviously, some spend much time deciding on a screen names, while unfortunately, someone didn't.
    I Googled my handle. Not sure what to make of it
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilaMonster
    Who's the unfortunate one??
    Me.
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Me.
    What's wrong with "Stumpy29er?" I can certainly think of worse.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride
    I Googled my handle. Not sure what to make of it
    Actually, I was referring to Cenobite and the Clive Barker Hell Raiser thing, interesting. Your handle also took some thinking. Mine didn't. I'm surprised I didn't pick DCluvr, being as that was the first AZ trail that I rode. I was only making a dig at myself, no offense meant toward anybody else.
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilaMonster
    What's wrong with "Stumpy29er?" I can certainly think of worse.
    Nothing really "wrong", just not creative like so many others. I don't even have the bike anymore, it was sacrificed to build another.
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Actually, I was referring to Cenobite and the Clive Barker Hell Raiser thing, interesting. Your handle also took some thinking. Mine didn't. I'm surprised I didn't pick DCluvr, being as that was the first AZ trail that I rode. I was only making a dig at myself, no offense meant toward anybody else.
    No offense taken at all, Stumpy. I'd wear that handle proudly--that will always be a great bike. I bet you'd never guess what my favorite desert critter is from my imaginative handle? Nice photo of one, Cenobite39.

  21. #21
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    Awesome pics Cenobite!
    JRA

  22. #22
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    Yes Cenobite, awesome. What's the white disk rubber banded to your camera?
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Actually, I was referring to Cenobite and the Clive Barker Hell Raiser thing, interesting. Your handle also took some thinking. Mine didn't. .

    Mine took no thinking. I was drinking at the time

    Cenobite: Way too close to that little Mohave Came across one of those green bad-boys during a solo night ride descent down Natty last spring/summer. That thing was smack in the middle of the trail and when I stopped and got off my bike it starting make a hellacious noise. I tucked my tail between my legs and gave a wide birth as I passed.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Yes Cenobite, awesome. What's the white disk rubber banded to your camera?
    That is a home made flash diffuser.

    Cenobite39 came from my HELLRAISER tattoo on my back that took 39 hours to complete.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride
    Mine took no thinking. I was drinking at the time

    Cenobite: Way too close to that little Mohave Came across one of those green bad-boys during a solo night ride descent down Natty last spring/summer. That thing was smack in the middle of the trail and when I stopped and got off my bike it starting make a hellacious noise. I tucked my tail between my legs and gave a wide birth as I passed.
    It is actually a prairie rattlesnake (C.viridis)
    They are pretty variable in color and the further east you go into their habitat, the greener they usually get.



    Here is a Mojave ( C. sutulatus )

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    That is a home made flash diffuser.

    Cenobite39 came from my HELLRAISER tattoo on my back that took 39 hours to complete.
    I can see where you'd not want to fire a flash off directly in a venomous snakes face. My pics are not as awesome as your snakes, but here's a refresher of a nice tarantula I came across on DC back in October.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Scorpion King...-dscn5072.jpg  

    The Scorpion King...-dscn5074.jpg  

    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    It is actually a prairie rattlesnake (C.viridis)
    They are pretty variable in color and the further east you go into their habitat, the greener they usually get.



    Here is a Mojave ( C. sutulatus )
    Maybe it's the lighting. I thought the Mohave had a green-ish tint, just like what I see in the first pic. No?

  28. #28
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    Ceno, your ready to strike Mojave picture is amazing. Very scary. I haven't come across a snake on the trail yet, and would rather not.
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride
    Maybe it's the lighting. I thought the Mohave had a green-ish tint, just like what I see in the first pic. No?
    Some do and some don't. They often look almost identical to the western diamondback. The two usually have different band patterns on their tails and different facial striping but the only definitive way to distinguish the 2 is the difference in head scalation.

    The animal you encountered on Natty was most likely a Black tailed Rattlesnake ( C. molossus ) They are often mistaken for Mojaves
    Here is one from Somo

    I'm sure there must be Mojaves up there, but I have never seen one.

  30. #30
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    You always hear about the Mojave but this is the snake that bites everyone in the Herpetology field. ( me included )

    Banded Rock Rattlesnake ( C. lepidus klauberi )

    DSC02435

    This photographer was shooting so close on these macro shots that I dared him to touch the snake while he was photographing it, which explains this picture.
    This same photographer was bitten by a lepidus later that year.
    Last edited by Cenobite39; 01-20-2011 at 10:37 PM.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    So, obviously you know snakes and are comfortable with them. Makes a big difference when compare to someone "normal" that is a little leery, if not downright afraid of them.

    But, I'm curious as to why you're not worried about the snake tagging your fingers? Do you know they'd be tempted to strike at the glass where they can probably see themselves?
    Seems to me they'd go for the heat signature since snakes are pretty good at detecting heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big0mike
    So, obviously you know snakes and are comfortable with them. Makes a big difference when compare to someone "normal" that is a little leery, if not downright afraid of them.

    But, I'm curious as to why you're not worried about the snake tagging your fingers? Do you know they'd be tempted to strike at the glass where they can probably see themselves?
    Seems to me they'd go for the heat signature since snakes are pretty good at detecting heat.
    It's all about being able to read the snake. From experience, you learn to recognize when a snake is going to be calm or aggressive. You learn to tell if it is in a defensive position and is just trying to warn you to leave it alone or if it is in an offensive position and is going to strike at you every chance it gets.
    Of course this is much like riding the waterfall. Just because you have done it 100 times, that doesn't mean you aren't going to crash the next time you go down it !

    You also learn how to use your camera as a barrier. I have had to clean venom off of my lens on many occasions.

  33. #33
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    Wasn't going to try to hang...

    I was fortunate to grow up with a father who taught me to respect and appreciate reptiles of all kinds. In East Texas it was the copperheads, coral snakes, cottonmouths, and timber rattlers that had me fascinated. I was also fortunate to catch, hold, and release all but what we called the timber rattler- maybe the Eastern Diamondback if I remember right. Me and a friend cornered a massive (thick) but not real long one and didn't even consider trying to capture it. It looked heavy- both literally and metaphorically.

    In my time in Az. I have have encountered many snake species. I have told my story here of four rattlers encountered in one morning ride on the BCT. Three years ago I caught what I believe was a Sonoran king snake whose constricting prowess would make a boa proud.

    When I started this thread I knew it couldn't hang with Ceno's reptile photo library because I've seen some of it before but I dig any time he posts more. The blank spot in my reptile encounters is the gila monster. You can be sure I'll be posting up when/if that happens.

    BRM
    BRM

  34. #34
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    not a tough one either...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Just did some quick googling. Obviously, some spend much time deciding on a screen names, while unfortunately, someone didn't.
    Don't sweat it Stumpy. My name aint Miguel (nick name for Michael) but I drove 18 wheelers for a while and it worked. I found out real quick that some people spend way too much time and thought on their "handle." Obscure references are sometimes just that.

    BRM
    BRM

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy29er
    Ceno, your ready to strike Mojave picture is amazing. Very scary. I haven't come across a snake on the trail yet, and would rather not.
    +2 on that pic!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    It's all about being able to read the snake. From experience, you learn to recognize when a snake is going to be calm or aggressive. You learn to tell if it is in a defensive position and is just trying to warn you to leave it alone or if it is in an offensive position and is going to strike at you every chance it gets.
    That's kinda what I figured...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    Of course this is much like riding the waterfall. Just because you have done it 100 times, that doesn't mean you aren't going to crash the next time you go down it!
    I'll stay off my front brake when I decide to tackle it...

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    It is actually a prairie rattlesnake (C.viridis)
    They are pretty variable in color and the further east you go into their habitat, the greener they usually get.



    Here is a Mojave ( C. sutulatus )

    C. scutulatus

    Cenobite is the guy I need to go ride with on a Herpotologist ride, for some photo ops.. I used to be a member of the Southwest Herpotologist society, once met Dr. Robin C Stebbins, and also met a Neurotoxin specialist Dr. Findlay Russell at USC Medical center, back in the 1970's.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    Thanks !
    Yeah, the Supes are where I saw my first Giant Centipede.
    I saw this badass out on Hawes last August. I tried to put my hand in the shot for perspective but he was too feisty!

    "Nobody ever told me not to try" - Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noelg
    I saw this badass out on Hawes last August. I tried to put my hand in the shot for perspective but he was too feisty!


    THAT'S the creepy one, right there ! I have seen some massive centipedes.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    .

    The animal you encountered on Natty was most likely a Black tailed Rattlesnake ( C. molossus ) They are often mistaken for Mojaves
    Here is one from Somo

    I'm sure there must be Mojaves up there, but I have never seen one.

    Very would could have been I suppose. The one I encountered was just much greener in color, again could be the lighting of the pic...or like you said, color variation among species.

  41. #41
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    Ceno:

    Can you ID this:



    Open sage country near Las Vegas. Super aggressive compared to most Rattlesnakes I have encountered.

    Perfect camouflage.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  42. #42
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    edit before you post...

    Greetings (al)Most Rad,

    Ride in this neighborhood long enough and you'll get air/ ride over a rattler sooner or later. In your case I expect that the rattlers will sense you coming from a mile a way and prepare for your appearance by getting out of your way. Any rattlesnake that manages to compose itself in your presence and curls up into a circle is merely expecting that its display is an obeisance to your eminence. Proper Arizona etiquette is to pet it by stroking it on the top side of its head.

    BRM
    Last edited by bigrigmig; 01-23-2011 at 08:49 AM.
    BRM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel
    Ceno:

    Can you ID this:



    Open sage country near Las Vegas. Super aggressive compared to most Rattlesnakes I have encountered.

    Perfect camouflage.
    Being cold blooded, temperature of the ground during the day has a big effect on their passiveness or aggressiveness. The rattlers I see that are most likely to stand their ground and not move off are Western Diamondbacks, which usually have a very prominent "coon tail" black and white banded tail. Short of counting scales on the head of that snake in the picture, or some prominent features on the side of the head and /or scales, it's a tough call. Could very well have been a Prairie Rattler C. viridus, a Great Basin sub species, but the greenish tinge is more in common with a Mojave Green C. scutulatus.

    Just a generalized guess, I will defer to Cenobite, since I'm not current on all the various sub sub species that exist by region or micro niche. A lot has changed in the details and minute identification features/scale counts since I was active almost 40 years ago, reading Dr. Laurence Klauber.
    Last edited by Boyonabyke; 01-22-2011 at 12:20 PM.

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    I'm wondering what the chances are of getting tagged in the leg as you scoot by one of these beasts either without noticing it or being caught off guard and unable to stop... Not something I'd look forward to when I'm AT LEAST 30 minutes away from anything BY BIKE. Walking would be even further.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrigmig
    Greetings (al)Most Rad,

    Ride in this neighborhood long enough and you'll get air/ ride over a rattler sooner or later. In your case I expect that the rattlers will sense you coming from a mile a way and prepare for your appearance by getting out of your way. Any rattlesnake that manages to compose itself in your presence and curls up into a circle is merely expecting that its display is a obeisance to your eminence. Proper Arizona etiquette is to pet it by stroking it on the top side of its head.

    BRM

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    Quote Originally Posted by big0mike
    I'm wondering what the chances are of getting tagged in the leg as you scoot by one of these beasts either without noticing it or being caught off guard and unable to stop... Not something I'd look forward to when I'm AT LEAST 30 minutes away from anything BY BIKE. Walking would be even further.
    That is the exact concern that floats around in the back of my brain, especially when I'm out on one of my more remote solo rides.
    The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel
    Ceno:

    Can you ID this:



    Open sage country near Las Vegas. Super aggressive compared to most Rattlesnakes I have encountered.

    Perfect camouflage.
    RandyBoy is 100% correct in that the only way to scientifically distinguish that snake from the Western Diamondback is to view the head scales between the snakes eyes.
    However since I am not a science geek ( I didn't even refer to the WDB as Crotalus atrox ) I can positively say that this snake is a Mojave.
    After you have seen enough of them, they are easily identifiable but the particular identifying factors form this photo would be the thin black tail bands, the facial striping and and the very distinct dorsal pattern.
    DSC08640

    Here is an un-cropped macro shot of the same snake. Not really smart getting this close to a mojave but it's all about reading the snake.

    DSC08641

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by big0mike
    I'm wondering what the chances are of getting tagged in the leg as you scoot by one of these beasts either without noticing it or being caught off guard and unable to stop... Not something I'd look forward to when I'm AT LEAST 30 minutes away from anything BY BIKE. Walking would be even further.
    The biggest danger would be riding over a snake that is large enough to turn and bite you as you are racing past it, unless the guy in front of you runs it over and then stops 15' past the snake causing you to slow down right on the snake. ( this happened to me last year )
    If the snake is not actually crossing the trail at the time, you probably won't even see it. Snakes are ambush predators and rely on their camouflage to survive.

    Speckled Rattlesnake ( C. mitchelli )
    camo

  49. #49
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    This thread rocks! Amazing shots Cenobite. Where do you find these vine snakes, my girlfriend thought it looked hilarious. I still wouldn't want to be bit by one.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    RandyBoy is 100% correct in that the only way to scientifically distinguish that snake from the Western Diamondback is to view the head scales between the snakes eyes.
    Thanks. This was in the afternoon on a normal temp October day, and two riders nearly (or possibly did) run over this snake before we realized it we were down trail out of strike range. Most snakes I have encountered rapidly retreat. This one aggressively held its ground when I went back for the photo.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

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