Even to the most trained eye, this eastern diamondback rattlesnake would be near-impossible to spot. There’s a hint to finding him, but this is one marvel of nature all Outsiders have got to see for themselves.
While tracking tortoises in Georgia, the state’s Coastal Ecology Lab often came across eastern diamondbacks.
“Sometimes when we are scoping a burrow to determine whether a tortoise is inside, we may find a rattlesnake instead or in addition to a gopher tortoise!” the lab cites via their official Facebook. “The tortoises do not seem to mind them and will share the burrow.”
While the lab notes that “diamondback rattlesnakes are one of the over 350 species that call gopher tortoise burrows home,” the highly-venomous species is definitely one of – if not the most deadly to do so.
This April, Coastal Ecology Lab officials were engaging in some tortoise tracking came across one of said deadly eastern diamondbacks. The snake, basking about 30 feet from the burrow being studied, was perfectly – and we mean perfectly – camouflaged.
As such, the lab then asks followers if they can even spot the rattlesnake in their photos. Any Outsider will tell you how difficult it can be to spot most rattlesnake species on a leafy forest floor. But this chap? This chap takes the all-time cake.
Spot the Rattler: Georgia Camouflage Edition!
See if you can spot the rattler below. If you have trouble, check below the embed for a clue courtesy of the Ecology Lab.
#BurrowBuddies Can you find the snake in this first photo? This is an eastern diamondback #rattlesnake we found last…Posted by Coastal Ecology Lab on Tuesday, April 20, 2021
While you could flip through the photos to see closeups, see if you can spot the eastern diamondback rattlesnake on your own amidst the fallen foliage first. As for that hint: “Look for the sunglasses.”
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake: Camouflage Royalty
If you spotted the rattler via the sunglasses, be sure to flip through all the photos to see that there are, in fact, no sunglasses present. That’s just further illusion created by the snake’s incredible camouflage.
Quickly gaining likes, shares, and comments, Facebook followers soon get in on the Coastal Ecology Lab’s deadliest game of “Where’s Waldo?”
“Man, do they hide well!” one commenter notes.
“I would have stepped on him!” another replies, echoing the sentiment of many an outdoorsfolk misfortunate enough to be bitten by a rattlesnake. This author and wildlife tech is one gent who’s come seconds from stepping on a diamondback in the Appalachian Mountains, too. 100% do not recommend!
“Looked like a pair of sunglasses at first,” says another follower, proving A.) the hint works well and B.) they probably didn’t read the whole post.
Another, more astute follower, however, asked the Georgia lab “if the rattlesnake was polite enough to rattle a warning?” To which they replied:
“They actually rarely rattle, much less strike! Their camouflage works so effectively they do not escalate to more overt defensive behaviors until they know they have been spotted. Frequently, they don’t rattle or react unless we are catching them, which we only do if we need to collect data. Otherwise, we all go in peace in our separate ways!”
“Look at the Size of that Snake!”
Fascinating, indeed. And if this rattler looks enormous once you spot him, that’s because he is! Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are both North America’s heaviest and longest venomous snakes. These remarkable serpents can reach 6 feet (2 meters) in length and can weigh over 10 lbs, according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
While far less common than they used to be, the eastern species can still be found across the Southeast. From the pinelands of Florida, to the coastal areas of North Carolina and the Appalachian Mountains (trust me), these bad boys & girls make homes in many different ecosystems.
So if you’re hiking in rattler territory, always be sure to wear your “anklebiters” as I call them (tall, thick leather boots), and always look before you step! You never know where you’ll find one of these beauts.