Physical Setting
Climate
Adaptations
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
External Resources
Physical Setting
Climate
Adaptations
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
External Resources
AnimalsVenomous AnimalsArthropodsFishAmphibiansReptilesBirdsMammals
Previous SpeciesNext Species
Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

mojave rattlesnakeDESCRIPTION: L=up to 4' (1.2m). With its "coon tail" and similar color patterns, the Mojave Rattlesnake is easily confused with the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Unlike the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Mojave often has a greenish tinge, the diagonal light stripe behind their eyes does not contact their mouth), they have 2-3 enlarged scales on the top of their head between their eyes (versus not present), and white bands on their tail may be much wider than their black bands (although this does not consistently work).
NATURAL HISTORY: Venomous. The toxin is extremely dangerous and medical attention should be sought immediately (the bite is potentially fatal -- when bitten, call the
Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center at 626-6016 in Tucson and 1-800-362-0101 elsewhere in Arizona). See also section on Venomous Animals.

Carnivorous, feeding mostly on rodents, but occasionally eating other small animals. Largely nocturnal. Hibernates alone during the winter or with just one or two others (unlike most rattlesnakes that congregate in large groups) in a rodent burrow commonly. Gives birth to live, venomous young. See Rattlesnake Facts below for more information.


RATTLESNAKE FACTS

  • Arizona has more species of rattlesnakes (~11) than any other state in the U.S.
  • They are one of the most highly specialized organisms
  • Fangs are like retractable hypodermic needles
  • Venom breaks down blood and/or paralyzes nerves, useful for subduing prey and beginning the digestive process (and warding off threats)
  • pit organRattlesnakes use many senses
    • Eyes for seeing when there is sufficient light
    • Pit Organ for "seeing" at night or when there is insufficient light (this is how they get their name -- pit viper). The pit organs appear as holes located between each eye and the mouth and they sense heat (infrared radiation). They act as infrared goggles that military personnel use at night.
    • Nostrils for smelling
    • Jacobson's Organ for augmenting smell. It is located on the roof of the mouth and interprets chemical scents delivered to it by the forked tongue. Each fork of the tongue actively collects chemicals from the ground and air and brings it to the respective side of the Jacobson's Organ. This allows the snake to determine which direction the prey was traveling.
    • Body feels ground vibrations, allowing the snake to "hear" animals approaching
  • Rattlesnakes give birth to live young that already have a "prebutton" on the end of their tail and are venomous (don't be the one fooled by the curio shops selling rattlesnake eggs)
  • rattleA new segment is added to the rattle after each shedding of the skin, and rattlesnakes shed their skin more or less often depending on many factors (e.g., food intake, temperature, etc.); therefore, one cannot determine the age of a rattlesnake by counting the rattle's segments. The rattle rattles as segments brush against one another (not like a kid's rattle that has something inside).

 


Email Me
Site Map
Copyright
Pima Community College