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Highest altitude for rattlesnakes?

 
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spotfin



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Location: Redondo Beach

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:48 am    Post subject: Highest altitude for rattlesnakes?  Reply with quote

I thought the altitude range for rattlers is up to 6000' or so.
Well, yesterday I came across this beauty on Sugarloaf Mt. at approx. 9300'.
I almost stepped on it, because it didn't rattle until I got within 3 ft or so plus I wasn't paying as much attention not expecting it up this high.
How high up have you encountered these serpents?

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DukeJH



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Location: Huntington Beach, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never seen a rattler in the mountains but thanks for the reminder to keep my eyes open for them.
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lilbitmo
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Location: Orange County

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early morning in the pine trees just above the ski hut heading up the scree field on Baldy Bowl. He wasn't moving as it was still fairly cold out at that time of morning. I was between 8,600 & 8,700 feet, I've also run into one on the Bear Canyon Trail at about 6,300 feet but it's much hotter over there so I wasn't that surprised, those switchbacks get a bunch of sunlight.

And one more at 3,300 feet in the San Gabriel River and Fish Fork confluence, he was between me and the only way though some major boulders and a "$hitload" of poison oak, I coaxed him into moving, he looked less intimidating than the OAK so I waited while he moved  Shocked  Very Happy didn't want to have to wade through the Oak, I hate that stuff, I'm a magnet for it.
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Elwood
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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seen 'em on top of Mt. Islip and Throop Peak. Well above 8000 ft.
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never seen one above 10,000' although I doubt that's definitive.

HJ
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cougarmagic
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Location: Now I have a quote under my name, Taco.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to let my dog off leash above 6,000' for this very reason, until hiking one day at Mt. Waterman and having the ski lift maintenance guy say they saw them all the time up there.  (Not in the winter of course)

My highest encounter was at Vincent Gap on the way to Bighorn Mine.  But I haven't seen many snakes at all.  Definitely if there is habitat (rodents), and it gets above 70 degrees, there's no reason for them not to be around.
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John G



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran into one near the top of Register Ridge. Very early in the morning, very chilly. It wasn't moving, just solar charging.
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davantalus



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Location: Santa Clarita, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John G wrote:
It wasn't moving, just solar charging.
Hahaha  Laughing
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HikeUp
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Location: Pasadena, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ 4100'

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Tom S



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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until about 3 years, I had never seen any above 5500'.  Since then, most of the ones I've seen were in the high country (always the Pacific species like the 2 above, the most toxic and assertive species found here).  I think that it is somehow related to the unprecedented amount of acreage burned in the lower elevations in recent years in So. Calif.  And the number of snakes in general (mostly non-rattler) that I've seen in 2011 far outstrips any past year.  I don't bother to try to photograph gopher snakes any more, I see so many.


Gopher snake in the grass Buck Creek Los Padres National Forest.  These guys will sometimes hang around for a couple minutes and pose for the camera.


Longnosed snake Solstice Canyon


Last edited by Tom S on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:46 pm; edited 2 times in total
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AlanK
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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John G wrote:
I ran into one near the top of Register Ridge. Very early in the morning, very chilly. It wasn't moving, just solar charging.

I did Baldy via Register Ridge today.  I saw a rattlesnake before the falls -- no big surprise at 6000'.  However, as I approached the intersection of the Register Ridge use trail (actually, more of a highway these days), some hikers had spotted a rattlesnake a bit uphill, along the Backbone Trail.  They had scared it into the brush by the time I arrived, so no picture.

Here is "the 6000' snake."
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PackerGreg



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Location: Three Rivers, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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mcphersonm80



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Location: Sierra Madre, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guardians of the Ski Hut, 8200'
8/13/2011



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PackerGreg



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Location: Three Rivers, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Granodiorite  Smile
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tekewin



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Location: Aliso Viejo

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just wondering about this and a search turned up this thread.

The highest I've encountered is 8800' on Gorgonio. That is only rattlesnake I've seen over 6000'.


The state claims they can be found over 10000', but I think that would be unusual and transitory. It seems like it would be too cold for them most of the time over 10000'.

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/News/Snake
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atomicoyote



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Location: on the road to Purgatory

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two at the same time at 9200 ft on Onyx Peak (San Bernardino Mtns).  With the number of radio relay stations and buildings on its very broad summit there must be plenty of rodents for snakes to feed on up there.
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Mike P
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Location: Glendora, CA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just below Etiwanda Peak last summer.
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oldcoot



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Location: West Hollywood

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About halfway down from Baden-Powell to Ross, July 5, 2003...rattler was coiled and wagging tail but no sound...very strange...it would not move, so I walked well around it (after taking a couple of bad pix with wide-angle point-and-shoot camera...now I take my DSLR on hikes...)...

Also, near the top of Williamson 8214, July 29, 2011...

Both around 8000 feet...

oldcoot

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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I can tell, there is no restriction on the range of rattlesnakes in the local mountains, although you don't see them frequently above 10,000'.

HJ
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RichardK



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Location: Florida East Coast

PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:47 am    Post subject: Rattlesnakes Reply with quote

We saw a rattlesnake years ago near Timber Mtn around 8000'.  It would have been July or August, warm weather. The guidebooks say you will not find them above 7000' in the colder Sierra, bit I'm still not sticking my hands or feet where I cannot see them.
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CrazyHermit



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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting question.  I looked it up on a herpetology site and apparently Southern Pacific rattlesnakes (like the one in your photo) can live as high as 9000 ft. although they're rarely seen above 7000. The record altitude for a western diamondback was 11,500, which is amazing.
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