6 Venomous Rattlesnakes in California and How to Identify Them
Feb 14, · There are many varieties of rattlesnake, including timber rattlers, diamondbacks, sidewinders, and pygmy rattlers. Thirteen rattlesnakes species live in Arizona, and ten live in Texas. The timber rattlesnake, or crotalus horridis, displays a variety of coloration that includes black, brown, yellow, and gray. 27 rows · Twin-spotted rattlesnake: C. pusillus: Tancitaran rattlesnake: C. mitchellii: Speckled.
There are 7 different species of rattlesnakes found in California. Two of these species are made up of more than one subspecies. This makes a total of 10 different forms of rattlesnakes found in the state. All rattlesnakes in California have a blotched pattern on the back and a rattle on the end of the tail which the snake sometimes uses as a warning sound.
The rattle is sometimes missing on young snakes and may be broken off on adults, so don't automatically assume that a snake with no rattle is not a rattlesnake. A large rattlesnake, found in the Colorado desert and south coastal region. Active day and night. Color is various shades of reddish typss. Notes on how to cook sweet potato fries this species from the similar Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake.
Rattlesnakes are typically described as poisonous, but they are actually venomous. Rattlesnnakes poisonous snake is one that is harmful to eat. A venomous snake injects dangerous venom into its victim. A bite from a rattlesnake can be extremely dangerous, but rattlesnakes should what are the different types of rattlesnakes be characterized as aggressive and vicious, striking and biting without provocation, as they are often shown.
If rattlesnakes are given some space and enough time to escape how to make white chicken gravy a safe place, they will usually just crawl away as fast as possible to avoid confrontation. Rattlesnakes will not strike without a reason: they will strike at a potential meal and they will defend themselves from anything they perceive as dangerous.
They avoid striking and biting because it uses up their valuable supply of venom which they need to kill and digest their food. Rattlesnakes are often portrayed with the body partly coiled, the tail rattling loudly, and the head raised up and ready to strike, but they do not need to coil up this way to strike and bite. This display is a warning not to come any closer.
It's a defensive behavior that some rattlesnakes use when they sense that crawling away would put them in danger of attack. Rattlesnakes do not always rattle a warning. Sometimes they rattle loudly to warn potential enemies of their presence, but other times they remain silent when they sense a threat, choosing to remain still to rely on their cryptic color and pattern to let them blend into their surroundings to hide from the threat.
Making a noise in this situation risks advertising their presence. What phone competes with iphone 5 also use their natural camouflage to hunt by sitting still, without rattling, trying to remain invisible as they wait for a warm-blooded prey animal to pass close enough to strike. A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of California.
Living with Rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes Sounds and Video. Rattlesnake How to get djs to play your music and Art. California Rattlesnakes. Click on a picture for a larger view. All rattlesnakes in California are venomous and potentially dangerous. Poisonous A bite by any rattlesnake can be very dangerous without rattlesnakee medical treatment. Treatment can require hospitalization and great expense. To identify the species of rattlesnake you have seen, look for a picture that is similar to the snake you want to identify, clicking on it to enlarge it if necessary.
Read the brief descriptions of behavior and habitat, and if it fits your snake's appearance, click on the link ard continue your search. All of these rattlesnakes can vary in appearance, so if you don't see one here that looks like the rattlesnake how to tell if canola oil is bad want to identify, check the range maps to see which species occur in your area, then look at the pictures found on the page for each individual snake.
Crotalus atrox. Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake. Crotalus cerastes cerastes. Mohave Desert Sidewinder. Crotalus cerastes laterorepens. Colorado Desert Sidewinder. Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus. Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake. Crotalus oreganus helleri. Southern Pacific Rattlesnake.
Crotalus oreganus lutosus. Great Basin Rattlesnake. Dkfferent lutosus. Crotalus oreganus oreganus. Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. Crotalus ruber. Red Diamond Rattlesnake. Crotalus scutulatus og. Northern Mohave Rattlesnake. Crotalus stephensi. Afe Rattlesnake.
Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake A large rattlesnake, found rattlesnakew the southern deserts in the southeast corner of the state. This rattlesnake has black and white rings around the tail. The rings are about equal in width. Notes on distinguishing this species from the similar Northern Mohave Rattlesnake.
Notes on distinguishing this species from the similar Red Diamond Rattlesnake. Sidewinders Small rattlesnakes with unique sideways locomotion. Found in open sandy areas in the southern deserts. Active at night and sometimes during the day. A small horn-like projection is ty;es above each eye. Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake A large rattlesnake, found mainly in rocky areas in the southern deserts and south coast.
Saddled pattern on adults appears slightly faded, not distinctly outlined, unlike other rattlesnakes in its range. Color changes to match the rocks in its habitat. Active at night and day. Western Rattlesnakes The most commonly seen rattlesnake in California, found throughout the state, except the southern deserts.
Often seen while hiking in undisturbed areas, or on roads at night. These rattlesnakes do not have black and white rings around the tail. They may have dark and light rings, but not black and white. Notes on identifying subspecies of Western Rattlesnakes, Crotalus oreganusfound in California.
Red Diamond Rattlesnake A large rattlesnake, found in the Colorado desert and south coastal region. Active at night, and sometimes during the day. This rattlsnake has black and white rings around the tail. The black bands are smaller than the white bands. Panamint Rattlesnake A large rattlesnake, dofferent mainly in rocky areas in the northern and eastern Mohave Desert.
Range Maps of Rattlesnakes in California. Red : Rattlsenakes atrox. Red : Crotalus cerastes cerastes - Mohave Desert Sidewinder 3. Orange : Crotalus cerastes laterorepens - Colorado Desert Sidewinder. Western Rattlesnake - Crotalus oreganus viridis. Red : Crotalus what are the different types of rattlesnakes pyrrhus. Blue : Crotalus oreganus helleri Southern Pacific Rattlesnake 6. Orange : Crotalus oreganus lutosus Great Basin Rattlesnake 7.
Red : Crotalus oreganus oreganus Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. Red : Crotalus ruber. Red : Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus. Orange : Crotalus stephensi. Frank Buchter contributed this chart to help identify rattlesnakes in California other than sidewinders.
Harmless and beneficial gophersnakes are sometimes mistaken for dangerous rattlesnakes. They are often killed unnecessarily because of this confusion. It is easy to avoid this how to connect electrical plug by learning to tell the difference between the two families of snakes.
The informational signs shown above can help to educate you about these differences. Click to enlarge. If you can't see enough detail on a snake to be sure it is not a rattlesnake or if you have any doubt that it is harmless, leave it alone. You should never handle a snake unless you are absolutely sure that it is not dangerous.
Red Diamond Rattlesnake: Northern Mohave Rattlesnake: 8. Red: Crotalus ruber: 9. Red: Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus: Panamint Rattlesnake: Orange: Crotalus stephensi: Frank Buchter contributed this chart to help identify rattlesnakes in California (other than sidewinders.) Recognizing the Differences Between Rattlesnakes and Gopher Snakes. Several geographic variations are classified as different subspecies, with two occurring in Oregon. The brown to greenish-brown Northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) has large, squarish blotches. In western Oregon, they occupy oak habitats in the Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains and the Rogue River, Umpqua, and Willamette Valleys.
Imagine you are out on a warm, breezy spring afternoon, climbing through dense chaparral deep in the Los Padres National Forest in California. Where the hell is it? Most avid field herpers have encountered a similar situation, whether they are hunting for a specific rattlesnake or another species entirely.
You always know a rattlesnake is probably nearby. Rattlesnakes are some of the most unique and diverse American reptiles. There are currently 32 different species of rattlesnakes, with approximately 83 subspecies that are broken down into the two genera Crotalus and Sistrurus. Such diversity exists between both groups of rattlesnakes because they are able to inhabit a wide variety of habitats, allowing for speciation to occur. This article will focus on some brief natural history of some of the more unique rattlesnake species in North America.
Timber rattlesnakes are some of the more passive and slow-moving species of rattlesnakes. These used to be classified into two subspecies—the timber rattlesnake Crotalus horridus horridus and the canebrake C.
However, many individuals believe that the canebrake and the timber are two distinct species based off of clear morphological differences. Both are heavy-bodied, medium to large rattlesnakes. Their dorsal patterning includes dark chevrons with light edging scales. The chevrons darken as they reach the tail. These are some of the more passive and slow-moving species of rattlesnakes. Often they will not even rattle unless they are disturbed continuously.
Their cryptic pattern allows them to blend exceptionally well with the vegetated ground cover. Timber and canebrake rattlers often remain undetected while buried in fallen leaves or grass with only their heads exposed. In the eastern U. Although not an aquatic species, canebrakes occupy wetter environments along waterways, swamps and bogs within hardwood forests.
In the southern U. Populations of both species are thought to be in rapid decline, and they are protected in some regions. Threats include habitat destruction, human development, agriculture, commercial collecting and unwarranted killing. Eastern diamondbacks typically feed on small mammals or quail. Averaging about 5 feet in length but with reports of specimens up to 8 feet, the eastern diamondback C.
It has the most distinct pattern of all the North American rattlesnakes, and the dark dorsal diamond pattern allows eastern diamondbacks to blend into their habitat extremely well.
Being an ambush predator, the eastern diamondback relies heavily on this camouflage. Its range includes the coastal plain of the southeastern U. First, eastern diamondbacks cohabitate with the gopher tortoise Gopherus polyphemus , utilizing tortoise burrows for shelter during hibernation, birthing and predator evasion.
Secondly, rotting wood stumps provide shelter for these animals through a network of root systems as a series of tunnels. Few animals are predators to an adult eastern diamondback; however, bobcats, raptors, feral pigs and other snakes such as kingsnakes can consume the young animals.
Western diamondback rattlesnakes inhabit a wide variety of habitats because they are ecological generalists. The western diamondback rattlesnake C. On average they range from 3. Colors can range from light tan to red depending on habitat. One distinct feature of these snakes are the four to six alternating black and white bands that are present before the tail turns into a rattle.
When provoked, the western diamondback exhibits a brilliant anti-predator display, rattling consistently with a characteristic raised S-shaped coil, with body cocked and ready to strike. The western diamondback is responsible for envenomating more people than any other rattlesnake species in the U. They can be found in environments ranging from flat, arid regions of the southwest U.
In the wild, young western diamondbacks are vulnerable to predation by birds of prey, other snakes, roadrunners and carnivorous mammals. Humans are a threat, too, due to habitat destruction for human development, which also results in increased interaction between humans and western diamondbacks. Additionally, events such as rattlesnake roundups have contributed to population declines and local population extinctions due to excessive harvesting and hunting. Approximately , western diamondback rattlesnakes are harvested each year to be killed during sensationalistic displays and events at rattlesnake roundups.
It is widely believed that roundups have played a significant role in population declines of this species, especially in Oklahoma. The events often operate under the premise that they are educational to the public, while it is well known that roundups do not encourage positive attitudes toward rattlesnake conservation, but rather significantly hinder rattlesnake conservation.
If envenomation from a Mojave rattlesnake occurs it is considered a serious medical emergency. The Mojave rattlesnake C. Also, Mojave rattlesnakes also possess the diamond dorsal patterning similar to the eastern and western diamondbacks, with coloration that ranges from brownish to a muted green. Two distinguishing characteristics separate it from the western diamondback: tail banding pattern and the position of the facial stripes.
The Mojave rattlesnake usually has two to eight alternating black and white bands of scales prior to the rattle, with the top segment being black. Black bands are typically narrower than the white bands. As for the facial stripes, Mojave rattlesnakes possess two white facial stripes that run diagonally backward from the eye to the mouth scales.
The first stripe starts at the front of the eye and the second stripe ends beyond the angle of the jaw. Populations of this species extend from California to Texas in the southwestern U. Venom experts have divided Mojave rattlesnakes into two groupings based on their venom composition and properties.
Some Mojave rattlesnake populations in central and southern Arizona have both venom types, producing an extremely potent mix of hemotoxic and neurotoxic reactions in the body upon envenomation that can be extremely life threatening. The western rattlesnakes encompass five different subspecies: the southern Pacific rattlesnake C. At one time it was believed these snakes were all related to the prairie rattlesnake C. However, knowing their ranges and intergrade zones makes it easy to identify them.
The western rattlesnakes thrive in many habitats, from conifer woods to vegetated coastal areas, and they can be found at elevations ranging from sea level up to to 9, feet. They are expansive from Mexico to Canada and west of the Continental Divide. The southern and northern Pacific rattlesnakes commonly intergrade along the central coast of California. The C. Pygmy rattlesnakes Sistrurus miliarius miliarius , S. Overlapping species of pygmies integrade.
They inhabit several different habitats including pinewoods, hardwoods, palmetto, adjacent to marshes, wet prairies, pine flatwoods and dry river bottoms. They can often be found among logs, rocks, woodpiles, junk piles and in open grass where prey items are plentiful. Pygmy rattlesnakes exhibit a wide variety of coloration; some populations are known for their orange to red coloration while others are very dark, almost black to patternless.
The eastern massasauga S. Fish and Wildlife service. It displays a dorsal pattern of black or very dark brown oval-shaped blotches on a gray or reddish-brown background. Snake fungal disease also has recently been documented in some populations. In the northeastern U. The sidewinder C. They possess the ability to move forward just like any snake; however, it is well-known for its ability to crawl sideways for long periods of time while moving across massive sand dunes.
Characteristic J- shaped marks follow a diagonal course when this form of locomotion is employed, making the tracking of sidewinders on dunes quite easy. Sidewinders have two distinct physical characteristics that make them easily identifiable. They have a spinal ridge that runs along the length of their spine, as well as a modified supraocular scale that resembles a horn over each eye.
Like most other rattlesnakes, sidewinders are ambush predators and typically consume lizards and small rodents. The banded rock rattlesnake C. With a spotty distribution in the American southwest, it can be found inhabiting mountain ranges along the Mexican border in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona they have a wider distribution in the mountains of Mexico compared to the U. Banded rock rattlesnakes are very cryptic in nature and not commonly observed because of their coloration, small size and speed.
They typically inhabit elevations of 5, to 8, feet in open rockslides, rocky outcrops and rocky areas in pine-oak and conifer forest habitats. The Arizona C. They both possess a raised rostrum that forms a distinct upturned ridge from which their common name is derived. The Arizona form is reddish brown with small, randomly distributed dark scaling. The pattern consists of broken, light-colored crossbars bordered by dark brown to black scales.
The New Mexico ridge nose is pale gray to tan with poorly defined darker crossbars. The head is patternless, and the face does not have the dominant stripes that define the Arizona form. The entire U. Both snakes survive at high altitudes and inhabit rocky places in pine-oak and conifer woodlands. Few envenomations have been reported with either, and their venom has a low toxicity. There are scant reports of human envenomations by the twin-spotted rattlesnake, and no fatalities known.
The twin-spotted rattlesnake C. The largest specimen observed to date was only 26 inches long. Its range includes the Chiricahua, Huachuca, Santa Rita and Pinaleno mountains of southeast Arizona, where it is typically found among rock slides and hardwood and conifer forests at elevations higher than 6, feet.
There are scant reports of human envenomations, and no fatalities known. Only experienced keepers should maintain rattlesnakes. Direct contact should be kept to an absolute minimum, and proper tools must be employed when interacting with them.