Reptoman

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   Jan 31

Western Massasauga


Coiled and posed, a western massasauga on the defensive.
Although the various massasaugas, be they eastern, western, or desert, that I have encountered have moved away at reasonable speed, none, until my recent meeting with western massasaugas, Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus, in Kansas, had I thought of as “speedy.” But those Kansas examples have definitely altered my (and Jake’s) impression of this taxon. The reactions of these snakes, even when approached slowly and carefully, was a headlong dart from the coiled basking position in the grassy center of the road to the safety of the edging rocks. Seemingly with the alacrity usually associated with a basking racer, the crotalines were, if not out of mind, at least out of sight. But we finally managed to find one that, more relaxed than the others, allowed us the hoped for photo ops.
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