A few days ago I drove my Nissan Leaf deep into the forest on a one lane dirt road in search of Zoe–Zoe is an adult Timber Rattlesnake! I am following Zoe’s movements in order to learn more about the natural movements of a wild Timber rattlesnake in it’s natural habitat. I bring my experiences and knowledge to the world via my Youtube chanel, nature blog and facebook page.
This is probably the first time a Nissan Leaf has been used as a Timber rattlesnake tracking vehicle and possibly the first time a Leaf has been used in wildlife conservation.
After driving to the top of a steep mountain, parking at the end of a gravel road on a foggy, darkening mountainside I located Zoe and collected the vital biometric data and got ready to head home. I noticed that my GOM said that I had ~41 miles of range remaining so I decided to take a remote, steep, one lane gravel road through the deep forest in order to benefit from the most regenerative braking and gravity assist (downhill) as possible to extend my range. The only issue was a creek crossing–yes, a creek crossing. It was a small creek but it must be crossed in order to make it back to the pavement. Like any true pioneer I turned off the safety of the pavement and into the dark forest I plunged with LED headlights cutting laser-like paths in the foggy blackness of the night. Down and down the narrow, steep road wound until I came to the creek. Would I tear out the bottom panels of the leaf on the rocks in the creek? Would the leaf flounder and get stuck? Would it short out? Like electrons through a wire all these questions and more went through my mind at warp speed…but I could not go back or turn around because the road was to narrow to do so…I was committed so I plunged into the creek…slowly…and the Leaf charged across with no apparent ill effects–woo hoo!! Without so much as a wheel spin or slippage the Leaf negotiated the creek and the entire journey with no problems at all. While it may not be a 4×4 it is a very sure footed and capable car for steep, mountainous, gravel roads…and yes, even shallow creek crossings.
I must say that the car performed admirably while quietly climbing steep, wet mountain gravel roads without issue. When I reached the bottom of the trek I realized that I had regenerated over 23 miles of range just by rolling downhill–amazing! Free power means more range, less money out of my pocket and less power I have to suck from the outlet and therefore a cleaner, greener ride!
When I arrived at home I glanced at the GOM and noticed that it was sitting on 41 miles range–the same range I had when I was at the top of the mountain at the start of the trek–truly amazing–the 12 mile drive home was powered by the car for free!
Watch the video of the adventure below!
The Leaf is an amazing vehicle!
A few days after my snake tracking adventure I found myself in the city charging my Leaf alongside a Chevy Volt.
Premium parking + Free power = Bliss.
Snake Tracks is a Timber Rattlesnake conservation and research project occurring near Earthshine Discovery Center in the mountains of western North Carolina, USA. Through the magic of modern technology and allot of hard volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers, glimpse into the lives of two wild Timber rattlesnakes in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at the website at: http://www.earthshinenature.com
Follow us on our blog at: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com
It is our goal at ENP to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.
We are not paid to operate ENP or to conduct wildlife conservation activities. ENP is a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.
THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you this important reptile conservation and education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting
You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.
Visit www.earthshinediscovery.com to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!
Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers www.steepcanyon.com used with permission.
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