Cortalus Molassus: Nex Dulcis.*

Cortalus Molassus, or, Black-tailed rattlesnake. Found in the Southwest, and, according to Wikipedia, “They range in color from olive greens, to yellows, to browns, all the way to black. As their name implies, one of their most distinguishing features is that despite variations capable in body color, the tail scales are entirely black. Often these rattlesnakes have a black band that goes across their eyes and diagonally down to the corners of their mouth forming a sort of facial ‘mask’.”

I caught this guy driving down Schnebly Road in Sedona after a failed sunset (damn you, monsoon season!) It was a little over 2 feet long. I must’ve scared him something awful, because he immediately starting rattling and went for the bank of the road and curled into a defense position. 


I love snakes, but there’s little to no way to communicate that I just wanted to shoot him rather than hurt him. So I kept as much distance as was safe and tried to get as much light as possible in the shot via my Jeep’s headlights.

I’ve always wanted to get one in the wild so I consider this a giant success, even though it’s not “quite” as picturesque as I’d have liked. I also consider this successful because I had to move fast and in the mostly dark to get my ISO right, etc. Though these guys don’t move very fast, they move fast enough when it comes to getting a good photo. I was pretty proud of myself that I got it right when I needed to. 

*Subject line: Black snake. Sweet, violent death. LATIN, bitchez! 

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