Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), Big Bend National Park, Texas.
I spotted this guy on the road and pulled over to check him out. I started out very cautiously with a super zoom (800mm equivalent). After a few moments of careful study through the big lens, I realized that this poor fella no longer had any worldly concerns. I'm sure he was striking at me like crazy from Rattlesnake Heaven, but I put the fisheye lens about two inches from his face for this shot, something I wouldn't recommend with a more lively rattlesnake or a busier road.
In life the western diamondback is one of the most iconic and feared snakes in North America; in death they make lovely belts and are surprisingly difficult to distinguish from the extremely similar Mojave rattlesnake. It took me an hour to make a species determination. I would have loved to see a live specimen, but we didn't have much time in Texas and venomous snakes scare the crap out of me anyway.
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