Since hitting the trails in Arizona roughly three years ago, I've come in contact with approximately 15 rattlesnakes, and several other varieties of snakes that have gone unidentified. The desert has a countless supply hazards for hikers and trail runners alike, perhaps that's the draw for us thrill seekers, a new adventure each time we leave the trailhead.
Living in Phoenix, we are fortunate enough to have mountains in the middle of the city, with numerous trail systems that can be reached just minutes from where ever you live. Yesterday would be my first run after the Zane Grey race, even though my legs aren't quite 100 percent, it felt great to be back on my feet. Crusing along about 4 miles in, the rush that instinctively follows the sound of a rattle alarmed my senses. Frozen in my tracks, I scanned the trail to see a Tiger Rattlesnake coiled in the shadow of a shrub waiting to ambush it's prey. I happen to notice my footprint in the dust just inches from it's head! Too close for comfort! Had I been going any slower, odds are I would've taken my first strike somewhere around the ankle. Here are the species I have seen thus far:
Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) - Phoenix Mountain Park
Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus) Photo taken on a hike in the Rincon Wilderness - Tucson, Arizona
Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) - Photo taken while hiking in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness - Tucson, Arizona
Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) - Arizona's largest and most deadly rattlesnake in the United States
Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) - Most toxic rattlesnake in the U.S. - Sighted near Canyon Lake, Arizona