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Re: Snakes in Yosemite

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Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 04:35PM
Hey everyone,

I've been noodling around with the idea of hiking to Fern Ledge. The only problem? I hear that the first part of the trail is a hang out for snakes. And that has me concerned.

For those of you with extensive off-trail experience, have you encountered snakes before in Yosemite? What do you do to avoid them?

Thanks!
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 04:54PM
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yosemitenut
Hey everyone,

I've been noodling around with the idea of hiking to Fern Ledge. The only problem? I hear that the first part of the trail is a hang out for snakes. And that has me concerned.

For those of you with extensive off-trail experience, have you encountered snakes before in Yosemite? What do you do to avoid them?

Thanks!
The rattlesnakes in Yosemite are very mildly tempered. You would probably have to actually step on one before getting bit. I've put my foot down within a foot of one several times and all I got was some buzzing and a fleeing snake. Most often they will ignore you.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 07:57PM
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mrcondron
The rattlesnakes in Yosemite are very mildly tempered. You would probably have to actually step on one before getting bit. I've put my foot down within a foot of one several times and all I got was some buzzing and a fleeing snake. Most often they will ignore you.

I've seen quite a few rattlesnakes and they generally go the other way when you come. My buddy's dog even stepped on one before I could pull him back (it was in the Emigrant, not Yosemite) and surprisingly enough the snake didn't even rattle. As long as you're not trying to grab or annoy them, you'll be fine.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 04:58PM
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yosemitenut
I've been noodling around with the idea of hiking to Fern Ledge. The only problem? I hear that the first part of the trail is a hang out for snakes. And that has me concerned.
Why would you assume that?
Quote

For those of you with extensive off-trail experience, have you encountered snakes before in Yosemite? What do you do to avoid them?
Don't worry. They can tell you are coming and they want to avoid you. If you do happen to come across one, admire it from a distance since they are beautiful amazing critters, then walk around it about 3 or 4 feet away. Trust me, the snake does not want to deal with humans. They will do what they can to get away. I'm more afraid of the humans on the trail then the snakes.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 06:36PM
Not trying to assume anything. A number of the trip accounts I've read mention seeing snakes basking on the sunny ledge after the talus field.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 09:15PM
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yosemitenut
Not trying to assume anything. A number of the trip accounts I've read mention seeing snakes basking on the sunny ledge after the talus field.
OK then, that's a good place to look for them. The rattlesnake is the only snake in the park that can cause you any harm. The only people that I've heard of in the 9 years I've been working there that have been bit by a rattlesnake were people that were messing with the snake. If you don't try to pick one up, you'll be safe.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/16/2012 09:17PM by Dave.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 05:26PM
What Old Dude and Old Dave said.

Just gorgeous creatures.

You may want to read this thread... talks about rattlers quite a bit bit with some nice pictures to boot:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,46091,46549#msg-46549

Have fun



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 07:06PM


Regal Ringneck, Indian Canyon
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 08:14PM
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QITNL


Regal Ringneck, Indian Canyon

That is a beautiful snake!
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 09:22PM
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QITNL
Regal Ringneck, Indian Canyon
Did you know that snake has venom? It does. It has rear "fangs" and eats other snakes. It's venom isn't strong enough to effect humans even if it was able to bite you and penetrate the skin.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 09:27PM
Don't worry. It's just a photo. And those aren't my hands.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 17, 2012 08:59AM
Oh, good. I was wondering how you took that picture while holding the snake in both hands.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
April 16, 2012 08:49PM
that is a cool looking snake.

Ive seen rattlers in the area of the fern ledge more than a few times. A friend of mine was by a rattler in little yos valley years ago
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 01:55PM
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 02:43PM
I love snakes, but I've never seen one in the Park. In Henry Coe, Los Padres, Rancho SA, Big Basin, etc, I've seen my share. Including ones with full stomachs - it's quite fascinating to watch them slowly slither away. They don't even know you're there. Even if they did, they couldn't care less. In general, they are fairly harmless and want nothing to do with humans. The ones on trail during summer are fun too, when they come out to "cool off" in the early evenings after hot days.

Fern Ledge: no thanks. How wide is it up there, and how close to the fall (how far left away from the ferns) can you get? Easier when it's drier, of course. It looks precarious up there, at best.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 04:17PM
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Ohnivy-Drak
I love snakes, but I've never seen one in the Park.

Coming down Snow Creek one was sitting invisible in the middle of the trail. My boot hit about an inch from his head. He rattled; I teleported.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 04:24PM
I've never seen one in Yosemite either, but I've seen a bunch in the Bay Area hills/Diablo range. The closest encounter I've had was a Grand Canyon Pink rattlesnake not far from Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon. I was listening to music while hiking at the time and was rudely, though thankfully, interrupted by the rattling. To borrow eek's expression, I too "teleported".



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2012 04:24PM by edg.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 04:34PM
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edg
I've never seen one in Yosemite either

Try the Pate Valley. Saw a lot of them there.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 04:57PM
Went through Pate last September and didn't see any. Guess I was just unlucky (or unobservant).
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 07:45PM
Saw three rattlesnakes in Hetch Hetchy last year. 2 were laying right on the trail to Rancheria Falls and 1 slithered right in front of me as I was coming down the Beehive trail. They weren't bothered by me.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 05, 2012 08:52PM
We use to see them swimming in the river about 1/2mile up stream from mirror meadow every summer, asked the rangers at the nature center what kind of snakes they were and they said rattlers.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 06:39AM
You might see snakes anywhere. They have been seen in the Sierra up to 11,000 feet. But they are like any animal, they go where they want, and if you see them you are fortunate - take a picture and don't go close.

Rattlers most like lower elevations and water - most of the ones I have noticed have been near creeks or rivers in brushy canyons. But I bet there are a few up high, chasing pika...
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 09:00AM
I have seen 3 rattlesnakes in Yosemite...in 40 years. I saw 3 this May in my backyard! So yes, they are there..I wouldn't worry too much about them, though. Generally they will give you a warning when you get too close for their comfort and you can avoid them.
There are also Pacific Gopher snakes in Yosemite...they kinda look like rattlers...like this guy, seen in the rocky shelf above May Lake camp. These guys are non-poisonous.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 05:17PM
There's a reason why you see mice and other rodent up high.
Unless you find a Rattlesnake with fur on it... I'll give you 100 bucks if you see one above 10K.
Heck, make it 9K.
How many Rattlesnakes have been seen in Tuolumne Meadows?

The internet: where mis-information spreads like wildfire



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 10:32PM
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chick-on
There's a reason why you see mice and other rodent up high.
Unless you find a Rattlesnake with fur on it... I'll give you 100 bucks if you see one above 10K.
Heck, make it 9K.
How many Rattlesnakes have been seen in Tuolumne Meadows?

The internet: where mis-information spreads like wildfire

Care to lower that to slightly over 8000'?
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 11:19PM
Does it have to be alive and indigenous?
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 07:38AM
Do you shop at WalMart?

tongue sticking out smiley



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 11:30AM
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chick-on
Do you shop at WalMart?

tongue sticking out smiley

Haha. I took a break on top of Morraine Ridge and saw one moving slowly up there. I was pretty surprised to see one at that elevation.

If you're looking to see one, I usually always see one or two goin out of the hetchy trailhead. Also, every time I've been in that boggy section slightly east of Flintstone Camp in Cherry Canyon there's always been a den of them.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 06:19AM
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chick-on
There's a reason why you see mice and other rodent up high.
Unless you find a Rattlesnake with fur on it... I'll give you 100 bucks if you see one above 10K.
Heck, make it 9K.
How many Rattlesnakes have been seen in Tuolumne Meadows?

The internet: where mis-information spreads like wildfire

The highest rattlesnake *documented* was in a book about them. It was spotted on Sallie Keyes Peak. The book has nothing to do with the internet. It was, however, written by biologists.

A friend of mine saw a nearly-black rattler in high granite slab. Wish I had the picture still.

Does the presence of mice in Little Yosemite Valley mean there are no rattlers there? I've seen a lot of mice around at night. I've seen a lot of rattlers during the day....



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2012 06:24AM by AlmostThere.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 06:49AM
"Charles M. Bogert has advised me of a northern Pacific rattler killed above Sally Keyes Lake, Fresno County, in the Sierra at 11000 feet. The lake is at elevation 10175, and several nearby peaks exceed 12000 feet."

Rattlesnakes
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 07:08PM
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AlmostThere
"Charles M. Bogert has advised me of a northern Pacific rattler killed above Sally Keyes Lake, Fresno County, in the Sierra at 11000 feet. The lake is at elevation 10175, and several nearby peaks exceed 12000 feet."
Why did they kill it? There is no reason to kill snakes. Just walk away.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 07:37AM
It means there's a ridiculous number of people there who are pigs.

The point was you will see a whole lot more rodent up high than you will down low.

OK, I will concede on the ratts up high. But the main point is that you just
will not see any up there unless you really go looking for them. That is almost
assured. Until global warming kicks in more. It's just too darn cold all the time.
Maybe further south. But not much in Yosemite. Never seen any around
Smedberg/Neall/Rodgers, etc.... been there many many times.

The actual main point was that there is some hysteria about the critters
and the chance of one biting you is close to nill. Drives me bananas.



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 07:41AM
P.S. Benjamin Franklin has a really good quote...



Picasa Pictures
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 07:44AM
I don't shop at Walmart often but I did have to look up "indigenous" to spell it correctly winking smiley
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 05:08PM
There is a lot of hysteria, none of it shared by me.

I saw more rattlesnakes in my backyard when I was 5-10 years old than I have ever seen hiking. I have stepped on one. They are not prone to chasing you down and biting you - they go the other way, if you don't do something stupid like pick one up or poke it with sticks.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 05:11PM
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AlmostThere
or poke it with sticks.

Had to do that one time. The blasted snake just wouldn't get off the trail and there was no way to go around. Gave him some nudges and eventually he slowly slithered off.
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 08, 2012 06:28AM
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eeek
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AlmostThere
or poke it with sticks.

Had to do that one time. The blasted snake just wouldn't get off the trail and there was no way to go around. Gave him some nudges and eventually he slowly slithered off.

I use really long (extended trekking pole) sticks when that has to happen - like in Muir Gorge where the big dude was spread out across the trail and we wanted to get by him.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 08, 2012 10:16AM
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AlmostThere
Quote
eeek
Quote
AlmostThere
or poke it with sticks.

Had to do that one time. The blasted snake just wouldn't get off the trail and there was no way to go around. Gave him some nudges and eventually he slowly slithered off.

I use really long (extended trekking pole) sticks when that has to happen - like in Muir Gorge where the big dude was spread out across the trail and we wanted to get by him.

Long is a requirement for sticks used this way. winking smiley
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 08:05AM
Have seen several in Yosemite Valley because I ramble in places few others do. Likely to find them on the north side of the valley above the trail at the foot of The Rockslides as well as bears and get a dose of poison oak. Outside of the valley in the park have seen them as high as Vernon Lake. Very predictable where and what time of day and season one is likely to come across them above the valley much like the rest of the Sierra. Outside the park have come across them twice a bit above 8k. Even in the Eastern Sierra at 8.3k at the dogleg south on McGee Creek. Like mountain lions, they see us at close distance far more than we ever notice them.



http://www.davidsenesac.com
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 09:38AM
Yes, the boulder field going up to Fern Ledge - Sunnyside Bench trail- just off the main trail is a rattlesnake hangout, but as already mentioned, they're mild. I took my then nine year old daughter up that trail last summer, and she stopped to tie her shoe on one of the boulders and heard a rattle. I walked up to her and about 18" below her under the rocks was a juvenile rattler. He wasn't agressive in the least, and even let me take a few photos before it slowly moved on. The only other time I've ever seen a rattler in Yosemite was about twenty-two years ago whan hiking Hetch Hetchy. I remember a rocky section of trail next to the lake where there were literally dozens of rattlers out sunning themselves. They seemed content as long as you left them alone. Again, they weren't aggressive at all.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 05:29PM
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 06:12PM
No I'm not, because I don't shop at WalMart. tongue sticking out smiley
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 06:35PM
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chick-on
And ironically you are just as prone to being bitten by a Rattler at Walmart:

Probably better than being bitten by a Walmart customer. <shudder>
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 07:08PM
Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 07:26PM
OMG Where are the fashion police when you need them? Did I really see a thong on that one guy?
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 07:28PM
Now I need to bleach my eyes!
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 06, 2012 08:17PM
That won't help. Those immages are now burned into your memory.
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 09:51AM
Pacific rattlers are begining to look like pretty good company
avatar Re: Snakes in Yosemite
June 07, 2012 10:00AM
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tomdisco
Pacific rattlers are begining to look like pretty good company

Sometimes they'll even pose for you:


http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/trails/devils-slide/cr-dsc_1189.jpg.html
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