Buzzworms, as Ed Abbey called them, get a bad rap, yet these beautiful to some, horrific to others, cold-blooded creatures are essential blocks in the biologic pyramids, especially in the desert. With warmer weather upon us, don’t be surprised to see any number of exothermic animals basking in sunlight, sometimes right in the middle of the trail. Many times, however, these snakes will be coiled up in the shade right next to the trail. In either case, give these ancient animals space and allow them to move off the trail. Don’t molest them, and don’t tread on them. They’re crucial elements in the ecosystem and don’t view you as food. In fact, they just want to be left alone. Snakes won’t chase you, they won’t bite you, unless they feel threatened. If you’re curious, maintain a safe distance and watch them from 10′ away. Snakes like this can strike up to half the length of their bodies. Don’t underestimate the speed of their strike!
While in Sedona, we came across this stunning Blacktail Rattlesnake – Crotalus molossus – while riding Hiline. It was one of my favorite moments on the trip. Expect more Reportage from Sedona later this week!