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It's Snake TV! Central Coast Webcast Follows Pregnant Rattlesnakes, And Their Babies

RattleCam Project
Rattlesnakes captured in real time on a live snake webcam on the Central Coast.

This live stream is being called the first of its kind — following rattlesnakes in the wild.

Biologist Emily Taylor is watching “must See TV”. Or at least “must See TV” if you are a biologist. "I cannot look away," Taylor laughed. What’s being called the first ever livestream of rattlesnakes in the wild is coming from a secret location on the Central Coast.

Taylor says “Project Rattlecam’s” webcast went live for the first time this week. "This is local, on the Central Coast. This is at an undisclosed location in San Luis Obispo County," said Taylor. "It is a natural wild population of snakes which gets together every year to have their babies."

The webcast is part of a bigger project led by the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo researcher to help us learn more about the lives of rattlesnakes. She say while everyone knows general things about rattlesnakes, there’s a surprising amount we don’t know about their life cycles.

Taylor says the snakes are surprisingly social. "By doing this live stream we are able to watch which females hang out with other females," said Taylor. "So, this is the first chance we have to actually analyze the social behavior of female pregnant snakes."

Students involved in the project say the snakes are unjustly feared, and hope the research can further the understanding of them. Julia Perez is a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo biology major involved with Project Rattlecam.

"Live cameras, I think it's so cool, because it's so intimate, you can see them up close, but you're not influencing their behavior at all, so you're still seeing how they interact with each other," said Perez.

Another element of the project involves interested volunteers going online to help sort through thousands of images of snake habitat in Colorado, and to report what they see. The process is helping researchers collect data through the thousands of photos taken with remote cameras.

Taylor says the live stream will be up for the next few weeks, during the peak time of year for births by the rattlers.

Link to the live rattlesnake-cam web stream.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.