22 October 2013

Rattlesnake Research

Devil's Backbone Open Space is a beautiful park outside of Loveland, CO.  This past weekend Em and I did some rattlesnake research on a restricted area of the park.  There is some proposals of putting in a new trail system so we were sent out there as volunteers to see if rattlesnake hibernaculum were present.

The whole project started when a rattlesnake gave a rattle behind the metal bunker doors seen below as park managers were scoping out the area.

We hit the area over the course of two days with almost 6 hours of monitoring.  We were looking for rattlesnakes and possible dens.

We didn't find any rattlesnakes but we found plenty of potential hibernacula spots between rocks and boulders like the ones seen below.

Even though we were a little disappointed in the lack of snake sightings, it was a great way to see some uncharted territory at one of our nearby parks.  

Plus, who doesn't love bushwhacking through waist high scrub hills looking for snakes? The best part, they gave us some nice snake guards that not only protected us from the spines of all the plants but they were pretty comfortable as well.

Devil's Backbone is considered a hogback geologic formation.  It is seen throughout Colorado but each one is unique and different in shape and size.  Prehistoric fossils have been found in this area including an elephant with 5 foot long tusks.

If you're ever in the Fort Collins/Loveland, CO area you should definitely give this park a try.  It's multi-use and allows dogs.  Who knows, if you come in a couple of years you may hike the new trails that we helped research.

Thanks Emily for being a great rattlesnake research partner.  Next time, I hope we see at least one snake!

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