Besides being a wonderfully handsome animal, rock rattlesnakes, like Arizona blacks, live in gorgeous country that offers shade and sometimes water. They are active primarily during the day, which helps a human observer really get to know how these snakes spend their time.
A good friend (and inspiration behind some of our research methods) has been watching generations of rock rattlesnakes in a handful of areas in southern Arizona. His quiet, careful approach, diligent note-taking, and devotion to the animals has allowed him to recognize individual snakes over many years and throughout their lives, all with minimal or no handling of the animals. Like me, he was taken with these snakes, whom he calls friends.