It was almost 11pm and Isla Cerralvo was truly starting to come alive. It seemed that, all of a sudden, praying mantises were everywhere and, around almost every bush, so were swervy sand snake tracks. My dad and I were getting tired, but we decided to push on. This time we would head up into the dense brush above our campsite. We followed a small arroyo until it ended, then headed into the labyrinth of bushes covering much of the dune complex.
Isla Cerralvo’s interior dune system bears a remarkable resemblance to a maze. You start in open natural pathways, squeeze through a tight spot into another pathway, which then ends and you try to go back, but all the bushes look the same and now you have no idea how you got there. Eventually, you get desperate and bushwhack into a new clearing, which gets you even more hopelessly lost. That was exactly what was happening to me.
After an hour-long trip deep into the island (though still only about a half mile from camp), I was stuck in a particularly confusing section. At this point, I was just trying to escape the maze when I came across a large snake, about 3-feet long, moving slowly in the middle of a clearing. I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was the 7th Isla Cerralvo Long-Nosed Snake in recorded history!!! I picked it up and it immediately pooped all over me. I wouldn’t have traded that moment for the world.
I fumbled for my walkie-talkie and excitedly exploded into a shout-laugh-happy cry explanation of what happened, although I don’t think I needed the walkie-talkie. My dad hurled himself through several large spike bushes in an attempt to find me — and the snake — but he just got more stuck, and we spent the next 45 minutes trudging separately in confused circles back to camp.
I still couldn’t believe it. I spent a good hour with the long nose, shooting photos and videos, hanging out with the rarest snake of my life.
If you want to watch my reptile-filled adventure as it happened, here’s a link to my Herping Isla Cerralvo extravaganza!