A Most Polite Visitor

All curled up in a shallow depression I never saw the Mojave, his light green and brown coloration blended in with the rock and soil covering the ground in the front garden. I had been weeding and was now busy examining an Ocotillo, looking for ways to weave the long stems into something interesting and my mind was elsewhere. Never hearing a rattle the beautifully marked Mojave remained quiet and in an uncharacteristic fashion did not alert me to his presence. Without noticing I stepped over him and continued to look up at the Ocotillo stems trying to divine some some way to train the stems into something interesting. After weaving several stems together I glanced down and saw the Mojave between my feet. Reacting to the presence of a venomous creature between my feet I gave a yelp raised one foot and comically hoped back like some cartoon character. All the time the Mojave just sat there unimpressed and unresponsive. So I retrieved the snake tongs along with a 5 gallon bucket and caught the 18” specimen for relocation. After carrying him about a mile and half away he was released into a low mesquite bush to find a new home off the estate.

I make it a habit to speak with guests about the presence of venomous creatures found in the high desert of New Mexico and if they should see one, to come and find me and the animal will be captured and relocated. The current group of Biologists were of course interested in seeing the specimen and those students on their first trip to the Chiricahua's got their first introduction to some of the wildlife found in the area.

warning sign
Signage about wildlife in the high desert
A most polite visitor.  Photograph by Michael L. Ferro


  1. Glad you did not get struck! Mojaves are usually not so docile. We have Diamondback rattlesnakes up here and the occasional Black-tailed rattlesnake. Thank goodness no Mojaves.

  2. Yes, I'm glad also. Of the 3 rattlesnakes captured this year only one alerted me to its presence.