A peak into the beauty and wonder of the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix

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Gophersnake, I think

Tiger Rattlesnake

This is rattlesnake number 10 for the year, and what a beauty. This one was close to the one below, and just a little smaller. They had the same uncommon coloring, potentially siblings.

Tiger Rattlesnake

This one is a little larger than the one above. It is the same color, which is very light compared to most speckled in the park. They are usually darker, with orange/brown as the 'light' color. This one, like the one above and below, were just sitting quietly, coiled, waiting for something to happen in the night.

Great Western Diamondback

Rattler number 8 was a relaxed one. She (?) just sat there while being photographed, then moved under a bush.

Great Western Diamondback

Here is rattler number 7 for the year. He(?) was rather touchy, starting to rattle before I was even close, about 15 feet away. Thankfully he did, otherwise it is likely I would have walked right by.

It is interesting how enjoyable each snake encounter is.

Longnose, about 14 inches.

This little guy(?) was really pretty. Those rings made me think that he was a Kingsnake, like I saw a few nights earlier. But I was told by my expert friend that it is indeed a longnose. I hadn't held a wild snake before, and a little one like this is a great way to try it out.

Great Western Diamondback

Here she(?) is, number 6 for the year. This beautiful specimen was out looking for munchies in the area of the Nighthawk chicks. I followed her around for a while, and then she was gone.

At one point I was close and could hear her body sliding over the rocks. It sounded pretty rough, and it impressed upon me the toughness and brilliant of design of their bodies.

Speckled Rattlesnake 

Here is the 5th rattler of the year. She (?) was very cozy with this rock, which just happened to match up well with her natural colors. We hung out for about 15 minutes, till she decided it was time to go.

There is something powerful about these creatures, and I can really feel it when I get such an opportunity. Having the pleasure of spending time with these beauties has shifted my perspective, from one of fear and repelling to one of honor, respect, and awe.

Tiger Rattlesnake 

Rattlesnake number 4 for the year. This gal (?) was in the middle of the trail when I happened along. She was quick to get clear of those pounding human feet. I loved watching as she slid along the branches of the bush...such effortless looking movement. 

Speckled Rattlesnake  

This was the touchiest rattler that I have ever encountered. She (?) started rattling fully when I was about 12 feet away, and really let me have it most of the time I spent with her. She was just off of the trail, enough so that I was able to scoot past without getting too close.

She was a medium small size, about 3.5 feet long, with a small head.

I captured some good video and audio of this encounter, which I will add below. I especially like the video I got because of the way she sometimes rattles slowly, almost like wagging her finger at me. 

Speckled Rattlesnake rattling at night

This is a video clip of the snake above. This is the first time I tried making a video at night using only my headlamp for illumination. Though I am pleased with the way it turned out, I think I will look for a brighter light. 

Great Western Diamondback  May 4, 2009  8 am

Well, what do you know. About 10 hours after my first rattlesnake sighting of the new year, another finds its way to my path. This one is an adult, about 5 feet long, contrasting the youngster below. She (?) didn't rattle a single time, though she did pull herself into a coil. After about 12 minutes of photographing her, she slid off into a bush, completely invisible. Makes you wonder how many are out there in the bushes that we never see, that never rattle at us.


Great Western Diamondback, coiling video

Here is a video of the rattlesnake shown above. I love watching her coil, how her tail follows everything inside and underneath, then continues to fill up all the space inside, which seems to go on and on and on before it is full. The elegance and grace with which these creatures move is almost mystical, mesmerizing. It is interesting to note that as she coils, her rattle is buried underneath her body, not up and ready to rattle. It is like she was telling us that it was ok to hang out with her for a while, that she was glad to have us take photos of her.

Thank you.


tiny Speckled Rattlesnake      
May 3, 2009   10 pm

Aaaah, finally, the first rattlesnake of the year. Even though I have been expecting this for some time, it still surprised me when it happened last night. Just after I left the dirt for the asphalt of the parking lot, a rattling sound. I looked down and this young rattlesnake, about 15 inches long, was moving swiftly across the blacktop, over the curb and onto the dirt. He (?) rattled was a most quiet little rattling as he was moving. Fortunately he hung out for about 30 minutes by the curb, seemingly glad to let me capture his image. Then he worked his way on into the night, which I love to watch.

Thanks for sharing this time with me you beautiful reptilian masterpiece.



Western Diamondback Rattlesnake   10-30-08, 9am

This is one of the most beautiful creatures that I have ever seen. We were very surprised to see her, as it was very late in the season. She was rather sluggish, looking well ready for her winter hibernation. We got to hang out with her for about an hour before we moved on.

I feel such a sense of peace and tranquility after such an experience.









Speckled Rattlesnake      
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What a great face. The slit in the eye is so sharp and straight and distinct, powerful. When I encountered this creature, I was walking along the trail and heard a very short but distinct sound. A rattle had been rattled, about as short and soft as could be heard. As subtle as it way, it still had that powerful and immediate effect on my body and soul. Few sounds can command such immediate respect and attention. I looked down and saw him, parked under a bush. He just wanted to let me know that he was there so I don't happen too closely.

I love how nicely his skin colors blend in with the surrounding rocks.





all images on this page copyright 2008 Joe Phillips 

All Images on this page were captured in Squaw Peak Park

 Email address wildcatelsol(at)