Friday, October 15, 2010

Up close and personal with rattlesnakes

It may not make you feel comfortable about hiking here, but it's a fact that South Dakota has rattlesnakes. I still come across very few in all my travels, but they are definitely something to be aware of.

However, working with an experienced snake hunter can provide some great imagery. Pierre resident Ben Smith knows his stuff and that this time of year as the nights get cooler the snakes tend to congregate around prairie dog towns where they can go underground to keep warm. We found 13 one afternoon this week and he just reported in with 16 from yesterday.

My tips for rattlesnake photography? Work with an experienced snake handler, use a long lens (all these are shot with a 400mm), and be very careful where you walk. I almost stepped on a couple that were only as big as a pencil. The bigger ones are much easier to see and keep track of.

More snake photos are here.

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