Hikers, bikers and river rafters should be ready to capture - with cameras, that is - any scaly-skinned critters sunning themselves on Grand Canyon rocks. Nikolle Brown, also known as "the Snake Lady," needs help documenting reptile sightings for her Snakes of the Grand Canyon Identification and Distribution project.
Brown, a seasoned wildlife biologist
for the Park Service, began the project in April 1998, after she
discovered that there was virtually no information on the
distribution of the speckled rattlesnake in the Grand Canyon. In
her free time and with her own money, Brown began piecing together
a snake distribution guide for the Grand Canyon from rim to
The first year, she received 60 records
from river guides, hikers and Park Service workers and has now
collected close to 200 snake and other reptile records. She hopes
to get more this summer. In order to verify the record, Brown
requires a photograph or slide and the date and location of the
sighting, including river mile and side of the canyon. Because
snake species often look similar, she says a photograph is crucial
for correct identification.
Brown hopes project
participants will exercise common sense. "If you see the snake is a
foot long," she says, "stay at least two feet away from it."
Send photographs to Nikolle Brown at 7779 N.
Leonard, Clovis, CA 93611; call 559/298-8574 or e-mail