All text copyright  Eitan Grunwald.  All photographs copyright  Eitan or Ron Grunwald  except photographs by others are copyright per photo credits.  All rights reserved.  Terms
MIDWEST
April 2005
 4 of 6
MIDWEST
April 2005
 4 of 6
The next day I have another quintessential Kansas experience  herping with Chad Whitney.   It’s everything I anticipated; that boy’s got game.  Wayne and his brother Keith had arrived from Missouri, and the four of us head straight for Crotalus viridis.   We arrive at our destination, but before I get my gear out of the car, Chad picks up our first herp. I learn that Kansas is not so flat after all.   Chad leads us to a gully, and down we go searching the sides for Prairie Rattlesnakes.   In 15 minutes Wayne spots the first one basking on a ledge.  We surround it like paparazzi and it pulls back defensively, glaring at us from behind its nonstop rattle.    Another 15 minutes and Keith disturbs a pair on the open slope.  One retreats quickly beneath a boulder, but the other stays in sight. Things slow down a bit, with only one more being seen by Wayne over the next half hour or so.  We meet back at the top, but before going, Chad decides to flip a large rock a few feet from the car.   That’s when the snake strikes.  No rattle, just a flash of white as the wide-open mouth shoots up from the grass.  Chad is so focused on the rock, he never sees the pair of viridis next to where he’s stepped.  He should’ve gotten hit (he was that close) but apparently the male was so enraged at being disturbed while mating (can you blame him?) that it affected his aim (don’t you hate when that happens?).  As Chad gratefully put it later, “The snake screwed up.”   We immediately dubbed it a new subspecies and declared it a lifer for all of us:  Crotalus viridis interruptus.   Finish out the day flipping stones on the slopes of another prairie, finding too-many-to-count juvie Collared Lizards and few feisty adults.  
Common Name Scientific name
Western Slender Glass Lizard Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus
Prairie Rattlesnake Crotalus viridis
Eastern Collared Lizard Crotaphytus collaris