Project RattleCam: what have we learned so far by spying on rattlesnakes?


Boback, Scott M.

bobacks@dickinson.edu

Department of Biology

Dickinson College

Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA


Tu, Eddie

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Dickinson College

Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA


Taylor, Emily N.

Department of Biological Sciences

California Polytechnic State University

San Luis Obispo, California, USA


Project RattleCam is a community science project where participants answer questions about images taken by time lapse cameras at a Prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) hibernaculum and rookery in Colorado. In less than 9 months, more than 6,200 community members made 397,801 classifications from 60,360 images and completed the first segment of the project. In this talk I will discuss what we have learned thus far about snake behavior at rookeries and the value of community science in addressing camera trap data. Project RattleCam has revealed activity patterns and unique behaviors such as rain harvesting in adults and newborn snakes. One example of a new discovery is that neonate rattlesnakes appear to be born “thirsty” and can be observed rain-harvesting mere days after birth. Additional observations including the presence of potential snake predators will be discussed.