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Arizona Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnake Species:

Rattlesnake Facts:

  • Scientists have identified 36 rattlesnake species

  • Rattlesnakes live only in North and South America

  • 13 species live in Arizona, more than any other state

  • Rattlesnakes use the "loreal pit," a heat-sensing organ between the nostril and eye to locate prey and potential predators

  • These snakes have glands that make venom, much like human saliva glands make saliva

  • The rattle is made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and fingernails

  • The age of a rattlesnake cannot be determined by counting the segments of its rattle

  • Rattlesnake prey may include small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and centipedes

  • According to Arizona Poison Centers, less than 1% of rattlesnake bites result in human deaths

Rattlesnake Species:

Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

  • Up to 22" long

  • Most primitive form of rattlesnake in U.S.

  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona

 

Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

  • Up to 50" long

  • Widely considered most toxic rattlesnake in U.S.

  • Easily confused with Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake

 

Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)

Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)

  • Up to 64" long

  • Reportedly used in famous Hopi snake
    dance ritual

 

Sidewinder Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes)

Sidewinder Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes)

  • Up to 25" long

  • Travels in side-winding motion

  • Only rattlesnake with horns over eyes

Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli)

Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli)

  • Up to 51" long

  • Color can vary greatly from nearly white to pink, gray or brown

  • Color often matches their surroundings

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei)

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei)

  • Up to 26" long

  • Small rattle sounds like insect

  • One of four rattlesnake species with special
    protection in Arizona

Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)

Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)

  • Up to 35" long

  • Small head doesn't hold much venom, but venom is powerful

Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)

Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)

  • Up to 26" long

  • Gets its name from raised ridge of scales around front of snout

  • Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake is official state reptile

  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
(Crotalus atrox)

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

  • Up to 66" long

  • Largest rattlesnake in the West

  • Responsible for more bites and deaths to humans than any other rattlesnake species in U.S.

Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)

Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)

  • Up to 48" long

  • Color can vary greatly from brown or beige to green or golden yellow


Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)

Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)

  • Up to 42" long

  • Young are vividly patterned and can look very different from adults


Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

  • Up to 63" long

  • Has venom twice as strong as Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, but produces less venom


Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus)

Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus)

  • Up to 33" long

  • Young use brightly colored tail to attract prey, but tail changes color as snake gets older

  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona

 

 
Additional Arizona Wildlife pages
- Black Bear
- Bobcat
- Javelina
- Coyote
- Woodpecker
- Raptors
- Mountain Lion
- Bats
 

 

 
 

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