Wildlife (Posted 12 May 2012, 12:17am)
33.7444, -116.7102

A lizzard enjoying the sun.

Considering how dry and inhospitable the landscape has seemed so far we have seen a surprising amount of wildlife. Most of it is fast moving and hard to photograph.

There are frequent rustles in the bushes which at first I imagined might be snakes but now know are almost always lizards. The snakes make much less noise! There are also various birds (including the striking blue jay), jack rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels.

There seem to be two types of snakes. The garden snake is thinner and not deadly. We have seen about 5 of these slithering silently off the trail so far, ranging from about 30cm to a metre. The other kind of snake is of course the dreaded rattle snake!

The rattle snake count is now up to 4 although a couple of them we only heard rattling at us. I had a full view of one a couple of days ago when I walked around a corner on the trail. It was late afternoon and there glowing in the orange light was a massive rattle snake! It would have made a great photo but my body was already in reverse. The snake slowly retreated into the rocks, loudly rattling even after I was back around the corner. When Marcus joined me we carefully walked past, setting off the rattling again.

If bitten by a rattle snake the consensus seems to be to try and remain calm. This is because a high blood pressure would speed the spread of venom through the body. That sounds easier said than done though! Whoever was not bitten would then run for help/cell phone reception and call in the helicopter. Luckily the snakes rattle before striking and you would need to be aggressive or extremely unlucky to actually get bitten.

As the terrain changes so will the wildlife, and soon bears will be a reality and we will need to hang our food in the trees...

'Just' a garden snake.


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