Tag Archives: bane


Some people have wild parties for their birthday or go out for dinner, movie, and maybe see some music. Not my Jeff; it was a quiet night with the snakes for him.

We set out after work to check on our friend Bane (adult male Arizona black rattlesnake), who was last seen headed toward Secret Springs. At a bend in the nature trail we call snake corner, we encountered a western diamond-backed rattlesnake.

atrox close

Jeff actually walked right by him and I stepped right in front of him before I noticed him. The snake didn’t seem to care: he never rattled and of course didn’t strike, as that is their last line of defense.

atrox print

That is my footprint circled in red on the left (snake just off trail on the right).

We encountered another western diamond-backed cruising around Secret Springs, looking freshly shed.
atrox sun

jeff atrox

The birthday boy photographing the gorgeous snake.

And Bane was nearby in a swampy area, in one of those perfect hunting postures, in the mud, against a downed log.


After our snake walk it was time for homemade pizza, garden salad (from our garden at Muleshoe), and raw coconut lime pie. A delicious ending to a delightful birthday.

Especially of late, this blog appears to be mainly about me and my adventures with rattlesnakes. But none of this would be possible without my fantastic partner in crime, who is just as crazy about snakes and nature as I am (maybe even more so).

jeff gps

Jeff taking data, while balancing a GPS on his head


Bane, a creature of habit

Although Bane (adult male Arizona black rattlesnake) didn’t enter our radio-telemetry study until 5 August 2012, we first met him during last year’s Spring Snake Count. I had led a group of Snake Counters to Secret Springs, a warm-spring-fed pond that was formerly a cattle tank. One of the Snake Counters encountered Bane on the far side of the pond, where he was drinking.

Bane 2012

Bane, 20 May 2012

Since we began tracking Bane with radio-telemetry in August, he has not returned to Secret Springs. He spent most of this spring near the Nature Trail, making him the perfect snake to track with preserve visitors. Anyone who wanted to track a rattlesnake this spring April has met Bane.


Save the Frogs Day attendees checking out Bane, 27 April 2013.

Snake Count weekend was no different. We visited Bane two or three times with Snake Counters, who got to meet Muleshoe’s largest Arizona black rattlesnake. As usual, he was just off the Nature Trail on Friday and Saturday. Sunday afternoon (19 May), Bane’s signal was erratic, as if he was moving. And he was. He had crossed Hot Springs Wash and was cruising alongside the Nature Trail toward Secret Springs!

It’s May in Arizona, which means it’s hot and dry. Guess Bane is thirsty again 🙂


First, it rained last night! Not much (0.02 in), but since ANY rain in May is rare, even a tiny bit is exciting.

There are many reasons to love Bane (male Arizona black rattlesnake). When he was first sighted during last year’s Snake Count as he was drinking from Secret Springs, a behavior rarely seen in wild snakes (but see here). After measuring (he is the largest Arizona black we’ve seen at Muleshoe) and marking his rattle with beautiful orange paint, we sent him on his way. But a few months later when we were in the market for new snakes to put transmitters in, Bane came back to us.

We were sitting in Hot Springs Wash, watching and filming a couple black-tailed rattlesnakes in combat, when Bane cruised up alongside us. You might call Bane bold 🙂

Bane 20130501

This spring Bane was quickly out of his den and back to his old turf near the Nature Trail. He has been a great show and tell snake; any guest at Muleshoe who wants to track a rattlesnake gets to visit Bane. He is a short hike away, usually visible, and doesn’t seem terribly bothered by all the attention.


Save the Frogs Day participants visit Bane

Also, isn’t he gorgeous?

Bane 20130413

Would you like to meet Bane? Join us May 17-19 for Snake Count! Check out our Events page for more details (casitas are still available).

Changing of the guard

Wow, it has been awhile, but I won’t bore you with the details of why we’ve been absent. What’s important is that WE’RE BACK! We (and the snakes) had a busy summer and even though the snakes will be headed to their dens soon, we’ll have plenty of stories to share all winter long while they’re waiting for the spring.

When we started this project one year ago, we implanted radio transmitters with one-year batteries into seven rattlesnakes. So we made the somewhat difficult decision recently to remove those transmitters and give most of those guys a break. They deserve it, but we’ll miss them. We said goodbye to: Henry (male western diamond-backed rattlesnake), Stuart (male western diamond-backed rattlesnake), Boyett (male Arizona black rattlesnake), Glendy (male Arizona black rattlesnake), and Barney (male Arizona black rattlesnake).

Wait a minute, Barney? Who’s that? We lost Barney last October, but he appeared like magic this September, pretty much right where we originally encountered him. Where did he go? Who knows, but at least we know he’s OK.

We (OK, mostly me) couldn’t bear to let Jaydin (male black-tailed rattlesnake) go, so he is still with us.

Henry (male western diamond-backed rattlesnake) spends most of his time near the preserve headquarters, so we continue to see him pretty regularly:

Henry (male western diamond-backed rattlesnake) at the head of the Nature Trail, 5 October 2012 (Henry, bottom left; Jeff’s foot, top right).

Now let’s meet the new guys (and gals!!!).

female black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)
We can’t take credit for finding this beautiful girl, Jaydin led us to her. The full story deserves (and will get) its own blog post, but the short version is that Jaydin courted Persephone for about a week this summer. She is named for the Greek goddess Persephone, queen of the underworld.

male Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)
baneBane was originally encountered during Snake Count Spring 2012, when he was spotted drinking from Secret Springs. At that time we measured, marked (painted his rattle) him, and set him free. He re-entered our lives in August while we were sitting in the wash, recording data and taking photos of Jaydin. Along comes Bane, cruising through the leaves a few yards from where we sat; it’s almost like he volunteered for the study. Bane was named for the main villain in The Dark Knight Rises, which may seem a little odd given that we’re trying to improve rattlesnakes’ reputation. Bane certainly caused a lot of trouble for Gotham, but we appreciate his ‘for the people’ attitude and his soft side, which I won’t elaborate on in case you haven’t seen the movie (SEE IT!).

female Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)
catWe again hosted the field biology class from Bangor University this fall. Whilst discussing social rattlesnake behavior in the Commons, Cathy crawled onto the patio just outside the door (another volunteer?). She is named for one of the professors leading the class.

Help us name this snake!
female Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)
633Jeff came across this little lady while tracking Glendy in August. Like Glendy, she has a fondness for the mesquite forest and only recently traveled to Hot Springs Wash, probably on her way to her den. She was the first female Arizona black rattlesnake we found in Hot Springs and she is a young adult. Please help us name this snake! Email us your suggestions; we’ll pick the top 3-5 and have a poll on our facebook page to choose the winner!


Update: We have a winner! Luna was the name chosen by our facebook fans.