Trip Details

Location: Isla Santa Catalinia, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Weather: High of 93

Herpers: Dāv Kaufman, Jeff LeClere and Jim Scharoschw

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jim Scharosch

The hurricane has put our trip to Isla Santa Catalina in jepoardy earlier this week. In fact, it had been cancelled at one point. We drove up to Loreto in hopes of better cruising (which didn't pan out) and also in hopes of salvaging the trip out to the island. Thankfully, we were able to make the trip happen.

We headed to the marina in Loreto to meet up with Manuel Torres who would be taking us out to the island. Manuel is a really nice guy, and he went way above and beyond to arrange the trip this time around. Let's just say that getting the permit to go to the island was a bit more of a job this year than it was last year.

We ended up out on the island late in the afternoon.

I spent a bit of time getting some lizard pics.

These are a Isla Santa Catalina Island Side Blotched Lizards (Uta squamata)

This guy caught a bug while I was watching him.

I also got to see the one lizard that I missed out on last year, the Santa Catalina Island Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus catalinensis).

This was a large adult that I saw from quite a distance away.

This is a juvenile.

Jeff and Dāv wandered around taking more lizard photos while I kicked back in the little bit of shade that was available and waited for sunset to go look for the snakes that reside here. About an hour before sunset, Jeff found me and told me that they had already found four rattlesnakes basking in the sun near the bushes they call home. I was surprised to hear that they were out in the sunlight, but also VERY happy that we were going to see snakes, especially with how bad our luck had been so far on this trip.

So there, in broad daylight, were Santa Catalina Island Rattlesnakes (Crotalus catalinensis)

I learned something new as well. These snakes will excavate a shallow "bowl" in front of the bushes that they hide in. The bowl fits the snake, and they will bask in that bowl as the sun begins to set. Below is a photo of a bowl that one of the snakes above had been basking in prior to moving back into the bush.

After dark we went out to try to find more snakes. We found three more snakes after dark.

This is the same snake as the snake in the first of the daytime photos above.

Late in the evening I found another snake coiled in it's excavated bowl near the bush.

We also saw a number of the Isla Santa Catalina Night Snakes (Hysiglena t. catalinae)

It was nice to have a successful night after so many bad cruising nights this trip. This island is a fun place to visit, and I hope to have a chance to go back again sometime.

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