After a few hours of sitting on the beach, sweating in the extreme heat and swimming periodically, night was starting to fall. I had already caught a coachwhip and missed a second. Morale was high, and I was excited to stay up all night if necessary to find my two main targets: the Savages Sand Snake and Isla Cerralvo Long-Nosed Snake.
Savages Sand Snakes are actually quite common on Cerralvo. They inhabit the dunes but can be tricky to find because they only come out at night and remain under the surface most of the time. The Isla Cerralvo Long-Nosed Snake, however, is one of the rarest snakes in BCS. It has only been found about six times in recorded history. This nocturnal snake would be worth a full night of searching, including frequent bushwhacking through large, angry spike bushes.
As the sun went down, I made my first tremendous discovery. I had already stumbled into the barbed wire fence approximately five times, and was accumulating head bumps. It was about 10 o’clock and I sensed that the night creatures were starting to become active.
My dad and I headed to the northern side of the dune complex. We trudged through the sand for a good hour before deciding to go back to camp to take a break. As I was waiting for him to get to the edge of the dune, I saw sand snake tracks everywhere. I noticed a particularly fresh-looking track and followed it to the end where it stopped randomly. Confused, I ran my fingers through the sand at the end of the track. To my surprise, a bolt of orange scales slithered back into the sand, and I managed to catch my first Savages Sand Snake!
These fascinating creatures slither just under the surface of sandy dunes, leaving a squiggle pattern on the sand. They eat ants, termites and even scorpions. Savages Sand Snakes are very closely related to Variable Sand Snakes, which are found around La Ventana and are quite small, secretive and totally harmless.
It was now past 11pm and the evening was already a success. Could I possibly cross paths with an elusive Isla Cerralvo Long-Nosed Snake, one of the rarest snakes in all of Mexico? Stay tuned for next week’s finale of the Cerralvo expedition story!