Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

Here is an example of the color variations of our Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. The light brown specimen was found in the open part of the Bear Canyon Trailhead Park. It seemed to prefer a fairly open area. The one with the dark spots was sighted off the highway very close to the Yakima Training Center. This snake and several others were seen in an area more densely populated by weeds and brushes.

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

Our overdue warmer weather is bringing out some of my favorite animals near one of my favorite WA cities – Yakima. Off of highway 12 is a state park called the Bear Canyon Trailhead. In addition to hiking along a trail of amazing landscape, you can find a variety of fascinating animals. The two that I usually find are the Western Fence Lizard and the Northwestern Pacific Rattlesnake. Warmer weather, of course, is the primary influence for sightings, but sometimes thing happen that you don’t expect. I was driving back from Oregon the other day and the temperature was 57 degrees with intense wind. But the sun was shining so I decided to stop. After wandering around for a while I did not see anything so I decided to head back to my car. Then, just in case and maybe, maybe, maybe, I wandered a little more. And much to my delight this Northern Pacific Rattlesnake crawled out in front of me. I’ve run into venomous snakes throughout America and other parts of the world, but none of them are as easy to deal with as our Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. They are well known for their non-aggressive behavior and this one followed that reputation. He was less than twelve inches away from my foot and easily could have bitten me, but all he did was crawl quickly away and hide under a big rock. Perhaps the low temperature had something to do with that but the other ones I encountered in much warmer weather reacted in very similar manner. No, that does not mean you should not be careful around them. Keep an eye on the ground when you hike around the dryer parts of this state. Stepping on one might just ruin their day yours. If you do find one expect it to crawl quickly away and begin rattling a warning for you to stay away. If you excessively agitate these reptiles, however, they will react like their cousins and bite you. So don’t do that.

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