|Harvest Moonrise 2011|
For about 2 weeks, I've been watching this large rattlesnake hang out around a vacated gopher hole in the orchard. On hot mornings, the snake exposed only one coil at the entrance of its hole. On cool and bright mornings, most of its body would be just outside the threshold soaking up the maximum amount of sun. It didn't seem to be going anywhere and I couldn't make up my mind about moving it, so I just watched instead. I talked to a local man who moves snakes for people and he suggested that perhaps it was shedding. On a large snake, it can take 2 weeks to shed its skin and part of that time, the snake will have a cloudy scale over its eyes which makes it vulnerable to predators, so the snake will often stay close to safe shelter. The first day I saw this snake, it had the typical dusty appearance of a rattlesnake, but recently its scales seemed shiny.