but this is one drop-dead gorgeous Prairie Rattlesnake! Certainly the prettiest I’ve ever seen.
Prairie Rattlesnake Crotalus viridis
For perspective, this photo was taken at a distance of about 20 inches with a 60mm (macro) lens and cropped only slightly to center it. It is a large snake (40+inches) and very thick. Very well behaved and easily persuaded to pose for a few photos; alert but not aggressive.
**Correction** I originally thought this was a Western Rattlesnake but in a comment on my Flickr site, a gentleman (Correcamino) corrected me. Upon visiting his Flickr site and reading his profile it was clear that he knows what he’s talking about and I appreciate the correction.
(While I’m editing and correcting anyway, I thought I’d add another photo to show a close-up of the intense look on its face.)
From the National Weather Service website: “A RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM MDT FRIDAY.
THE ATMOSPHERE HAS BECOME UNSTABLE TODAY WITH THUNDERSTORMS DEVELOPING NEAR THE IDAHO AND CANADIAN BORDERS. ADDITIONAL THUNDERSTORMS WILL DEVELOP AND MOVE EAST ACROSS NORTHWEST MONTANA OVERNIGHT. THESE THUNDERSTORMS ARE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF LIGHTNING…RESULTING IN NEW LIGHTNING STARTS ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST MONTANA. IN ADDITION…THESE STORMS DO NOT HAVE MUCH IN THE WAY OF RAINFALL ASSOCIATED WITH THEM DUE TO THE DRY LOWER ATMOSPHERE. DRIER CONDITIONS NEAR THE SURFACE IS ALSO CONDUCIVE TO GUSTY ERRATIC WINDS THAT CAN BE PRODUCED BY THESE THUNDERSTORMS.
A RED FLAG WARNING IS INTENDED TO ALERT LAND MANAGERS TO EXPECT WEATHER CONDITIONS ALONG WITH SUFFICIENTLY DRY FUELS THAT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE FIRE DANGER.”
As I recall, the last time we had a red flag warning was in July of 2007 and about two weeks later the Chippy Creek Fire started. It burned 150 square miles.
In addition, the forecast is for dry thunderstorms through Sunday. It may be a long weekend!