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Posted by Rich G.cascabel on September 12, 2002 at 18:21:49:
In Reply to: Tiger/speck... and any other hybrids... posted by Jaffo on September 12, 2002 at 12:16:07:
I agree that in general hybrids are not real common place but I have no doubt they do occur. I have noticed a common denominator in two of the places were I think that hybrids are most commonly seen/suspected/reported. Both of these areas are seriously over-grazed. I think that in the Santa Cruz valley that atrox and scutes not only hybridize, but that the offspring survive and then breed back to one or the other of the orginating forms, which creates many variations in the degree to which it is obvious to the eye. I have noticed that where I grew up west of the Tucson Mts that both atrox and scutes occur in the exact same niche. However over the years I noticed that they used completely different patterns/times for activity and foraging, and in almost forty years have never seen a snake I suspected of being a hybrid in that area. But perhaps in teh Santa Cruz valley atrox and scutes once had slightly different niches/micro-enviroments that at one time kept them generally separate. But then came cattle. Perhaps overgrazing or just grazing for that matter destroyed these barriers.
I believe this is also the case in the area of Marfa/Valentine/Alpine Texas where I have seen atrox /viridis hybrids that were caught by others. I have also seen some quality photos taken by Dick Bartlett of some of these snakes. It often does not take much. I am sure that you have seen the atrox/molossus hybrids that Jeff Almond brings to shows sometimes. All it took was to throw one of each species into the same collecting bag while doing reptile removal. I almost had a male cerb breed a female molossus. I put her in his cage for only five minutes once while cleaning her cage. I looked over and he was doing chin presses and she had her tail lifted and cloaca open.