SNAKE TRACKS

"UTSANATI'S TRACKS"

History: Timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) have historically been very rare on the mountain at Earthshine. Then, in June of 2011 I discovered and adult male Timber rattlesnake sheltering under debris several hundred yards from the lodge in an area where visitors do not go. I carefully captured Utsanati and consulted with my co-principle investigator Dr. Ron Davis and NCWRC Field Biologist Lori Williams and we determined that this snake would be a good choice for a study snake. In early August--after getting all of the required permits and paperwork in order--I assisted Veterinarian Dr. Lee Bolt with the implantation of a Holohil radio transmitter into the coelomic cavity of the snake. A video of the surgery can be viewed below.

After surgery Utsanati was given a recovery period of several days. He then ingested a large mouse I released him at the discovery location.

In honor of the Cherokee's reverence of the Timber rattlesnake we have given this snake the name: Utsanati--which means Rattlesnake in Cherokee.

Follow in Utsanati's tracks by reading the blog entries and watching the videos linked below. View Utsanati's last location on his tracking map in a new window by

clicking here.

UTSANATI'S TRACKING BLOG

As of 11/15/2011 all Tracking logs for the Snake Tracks and Turtle Tracks projects will now be posted on the Earthshine Nature Programs Blog

located here.

Tracking logs before 11/15/2011 are listed below.

Tracking Day 16. Date: October 30, 2011. Time 3:45pm. Weather--Clear, calm, DSLR 4. Utsanati has moved ~3' W of his day 15 location. Not visible, underground on hillside above hole above spring head. Take a look at the most recent Snake tracks video below.

Tracking Day 15. Date: October 24, 2011. Time 9:30am. Weather--O/C, clear, breezy, damp, overnight temps in low 20's over last few days. DSLR: 4. Utsanati has moved ~3' NE of his day 14 location. Not visible, underground on hillside above hole above spring head. Take a look at the most recent Snake tracks video below.

Tracking Day 14. Date: October 13, 2011. Time 5:15pm. Weather--O/C, light rain, calm. Utsanati has moved ~8' NE of his day 13 location. Not visible, underground on hillside above hole above spring head. Take a look at the most recent Snake tracks video below.

Tracking Day 13. Date: October 10, 2011. Time 2pm. Weather--O/C, light rain, temp not recorded. Utsanati has moved ~430' East of his day 12 location. Not visible, underground in hole above spring head. Take a look at the most recent Snake tracks video below.

Tracking Day 12. Date: October 03, 2011. Time 10:30am. Weather--Clear, breezy, cool. Utsanati has moved ~115' East of his day 11 location. Not visible, underground in "hill" of soil and rotting wood. Take a look at the most recent Snake tracks video below.

Tracking Day 11. Date: September 25, 2011. Time 3:30pm. Weather--P/C, calm, warm. Utsanati has moved ~80 feet south of his day 10 location. Sitting in a resting coil on the leaf litter. Take a look at a video of day 11 here.

Tracking Day 10. Date: September 16, 2011. Time 1:30pm. Weather--P/C, calm, cool. Utsanati has moved ~300 feet west of his day 9 location. Sitting in a resting coil on the leaf litter. Today Biologist Lori Williams helped me locate Utsanati. Take a look at a video of day 10 here.

Tracking Day 9. Date: September 09, 2011. Time 11:00 am. Weather--P/C, calm, warm and damp. Tropical Storm Lee brought several inches of rain to area over the last week. DSLR: 2. Location: Snake has moved ~.11 miles north of last location(see map). Snake sitting in a resting coil on the forest floor under the huckleberries in a small clearing in hardwood forest.

Tracking Day 8. Date: September 02, 2011. Time 1:00 pm. Weather--clear, calm, DSLR: 13. Location: Snake has moved ~150' SE of the woodpile. Sitting in a resting coil on the forest floor under the huckleberries. Looks great.

Check out a video of day 8 here:

Tracking Day 7. Date: August 30, 2011. Time 2:30 pm. Weather--clear, slight breeze, DSLR: 10. Location: same as on day 6.

Tracking Day 6. Date: August 25, 2011. Time 1:30 pm. Weather--clear, calm, warm, dry. DSLR: 5. Location: same as on day 5.

Tracking Day 5. Date: August 20, 2011. Time 1:45 pm. Weather--O/C, calm, showers DSLR: 0. Location: same as on day 4.

Check out a video of day 5 below:

Tracking Day 4. Date: August 16, 2011. Time 2:30 pm. Weather--clear, calm, DSLR: 2. Location: same as on day 3.

Tracking Day 3. Date: August 14, 2011. Time 6:00 pm. Weather--clear, breezy, DSLR: 0. Utsanati has made his way off of the property and almost 2 tenths of a mile through the forest and over the ridge and into an old woodpile near a residence on neighboring lands to the north. I found him coiled in a resting coil between two pieces of wood just under the tarp covering the woodpile. He was approximately 5 feet above ground level and his location was receiving a good amount of warming from the sun. My guess is that since he is recovering from surgery the woodpile offers great shelter and thermoregulatory properties, water pools in the depression and folds of the tarp and he probably also has a good assortment of rodents to choose from should he become hungry. See a photo of his position below.

Tracking Day 2. Date: August 12, 2011. Time 5:30 pm. Weather-thunder, rain earlier in day. Utsanati has moved out of brush pile and made his way ~415' to the northwest. I found him resting--outstretched on a pile of rocks (see the photo below) at the edge of a field.

Tracking Day 2. Date: August 12, 2011. Time 9 am. Weather: O/C, weather changing. Utsanati has been in the brush pile now for four (4) days.

Check out a video of days 1 and 2 here:

Release Day. After recovery Utsanati was released near his capture location. View a video of his release below.

Earthshine Nature Programs is a small, volunteer operated 501c3 non-profit charity. We are dedicated to the conservation of our native wildlife and the education of our visitors and viewers like you why our wildlife and wild places are so important to us all.

To contact Steve or for more information on our nature programs visit:

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