As the nighttime temperatures in the east bay moved in a decidedly warmer direction, we took a night drive along Mines Road last weekend to see what creatures, particularly snakes, we could find.
Cruising around a few nights earlier revealed a Grey Fox and a Great-Horned Owl, but no snakes. We hypothesize that the reason for the reptilian absence was due to nighttime temperatures around 60F. The temperature during the drive this weekend, however, was close to a balmy 70F.
Sure enough, Mines Road (and possibly the weather) did not disappoint. About 10 minutes down the road from the Tesla Road turnoff, we found a little-over-a-foot-long Western Rattlesnake slowly crossing the road.
Further down the road, we encountered a snake we had been looking for for quite a while: a California Kingsnake, and a big one at that. This one cruised across the road fairly quickly, but we were still able to get some pictures.
Even further along the road, our tires almost screeched to a halt over a second California Kingsnake, this one much smaller and much more reluctant to leave the warm road (it eventually did with some help).
To top the night off, on the drive back, we found another Western Rattlesnake crossing the road, bringing our tally to four snakes total – two king and two rattle.
While seeing snakes on the road is exhilarating, the excitement is bittersweet. Snakes are constantly killed on roads, so if you can, please try and be careful when driving.