The bad luck all started on an otherwise idyllic after noon in late May 2006. The Gambel oak branches rustled in the slight breeze, an occasional cloud shaded the talus slope, and tasty Mountain Spiny Lizards (Sceloporus jarrovii) were visible on the rocks just a few feet away.
Although he was only nine months old, the Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) was already almost a foot long, and he knew he had picked a great ambush site. His spots helped him become almost invisible among the small boulders in the partial shade of the trees. It wouldn’t be long until one of those cocky lizards came traipsing within reach.
Suddenly, he felt the rocks vibrate underneath him. This was no lizard! An awkward, yet terrifying biped (Homo sapiens) stumbled over the horizon into view. The rattlesnake panicked. He rattled as he dove into the rocks, but didn’t get far before he felt the soft leather of a glove on his tail and watched his escape route recede beneath him.