May/June 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 3 Nature's NatureMay 1, 2017 |

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Crotalus atrox Three things it is best to avoid: a flash flood, a strange dog, and a YouTube comment thread. Not everyone would tell it the same way. My mother would advise you stay away from a Baptist, a mean snake, and a cop— though those are often the same thing. Rattlesnakes have their own list: a diving hawk, the heel of a hiking boot, a drunk frat boy. At a different time, I may have told you: Beware the corner of Tramway and San Bernardino. There's a different ecosystem at that intersection. That's the arroyo's entrance to a network of drainage tunnels. College students call it the Devil's Den. Graffiti shows Jesus, crucified and exclaiming "Don't tread on me!" Teens rebel, drink Coors down there, use condoms,leave needles everywhere. It's darkly festive. One rushof water and you're drowned there: remember, an inch of rain swings off the mountain, dives downtown to flood knee deep. Beware a shirtless man crying near the light. He's more afraid of y

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