While out hiking, keep your eyes open for rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes have woken up in the Winter Creek, as well as in other canyons around Chantry Flats. As the spring days continue to lengthen and temperatures rise, reptiles of all kinds are coming out of their seasonal slumber. From subterranean dens to sun bathed rocky hillsides and canyon bottoms, these creatures are back among the mammals, birds, insects and fish.
I encountered this Southern Pacific rattlesnake (crotalus helleri) while out on the Lower Winter Creek Trail this last Saturday. Rattlesnakes are naturally secretive and will avoid human encounters if given the chance. They are good mousers, helping to keep the rodent population at a tolerable level. Like all living creatures, they need to be respected and protected from harm. The creature in this photo had just signaled her alarm, giving me a quick wake-up to give some distance. This is one reason why it’s a good idea to not have ear-buds in your ears while hiking or running, drowning out nature’s communications.