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August 2005

Terry Farrell - Ecology of Pygmy Rattlesnakes
All photos of rattlesnakes: Peter May, Stetson University.  Photos of Terry Farrell: Mike Monlezun.
Terry Farrell, a professor at Stetson University in Deland, was our guest speaker for August.  HE gave a very informative and entertaining presentation on the ecology of pygmy rattlesnakes.  This was based on many years of field work done at Stetson.  He and his students are often referred to as the "Pig Team."  He covered everything starting with birth, through growth, daily life, and then old age and death.

Some of the older and more experienced members had somewhat of a decent idea about the natural history of these common rattlesnake, but Terry exposed even the most knowledgeable of us to some interesting finds.  The one that impressed myself the most was the fact that there is some degree of social (maybe even maternal) behavior with this species.  Experiments showed that the mothers and newborn young actually sought out each other.  This is an awesome discovery, since we are taught that snakes do not exhibit maternal behaviors.  He stated that this behavior lasted for only about 5 days and that after the babies shed their skin for the first time, they dispersed.

Visit their website Pygmy Rattlesnake Homepage

Next month: Patti Bartlett - Sea Snakes


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