This semester, I’ve been lucky enough to take an independent study course for Intro to Scientific Media Design. My professor let us pursue anything that could be applicable to such a class, so I chose to dedicate the semester to scientific illustrations of the South Catalina Island Rattlesnake, an endemic (to its namesake island off the coast of the Baja California Peninsula) and critically endangered snake. And I’ve never related to an animal more.
It’s evolved to a point where it just eats birds (same). This rattlesnake lost its rattle as it just didn’t need it. It’s pretty hard to portray the actual emotion I’m feeling myself. I’ve low-key lost my ability to have any resting face besides my “mid-prison-sentence-mug-shot” face. So I wouldn’t say I have a rattle either for others to discern.
This rattlesnake cannot convey agitation without biting (same, but with words not my teeth. That would be socially unacceptable). Their common color is a pale off-white pink but, regardless, they enjoy laying in the sun (same, then I become very pink in color myself).
Then, to top it off, the rattlesnake is so immensely chill and passive, snake collectors literally pick up the snake to take it away from the island for their personal collection. People stealing these snakes as become a major factor to their decreasing population.
Now, I don’t have collectors picking me up and taking me back to their place (though I have been asked a few times if I wanted to be at Charlies and Tracks—alway with a hard-pass response), I’ve been stepped on and disrespected a significant amount of times due to a critical levels on the chill-o-meter. They’re still in the pit-viper family, so they’re poisonous. They could probably kill with a single strike… but they probably can’t be bothered unless under attack.
I feel terribly sad for this chill, near-extinct snake that just wants to hang out, eat birds, and lay in the sun near the beach on an island off Mexico, so much so that I’m dedicating a semester to make art about them. My hopes are that activism or at least awareness of this snake’s conservation will be known. I love these little chill dudes, and I don’t want them to go.