Mojave Rattlesnake

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Species: Mojave Rattlesnake

This species grows to an average of less than 100 cm (3.3 ft) in length, with a maximum of 137.3 cm (4.50 ft).

The color varies from shades of brown to pale green depending on the surroundings. The green hue found among Mojave rattlesnakes has led to them being known as “Mojave greens” in some areas. Like C. atrox (the western diamondback rattlesnake), which it closely resembles, C. scutulatus has a dark diamond pattern along its back. With C. scutulatus, the white bands on the tail tend to be wider than the black, while the band width is usually more equal in C. atrox. Additionally, C. scutulatus has enlarged scales on top of the head between the supraoculars, and the light postocular stripe passes behind the corner of the mouth. In C. atrox, the crown is covered in small scales, and the light postocular stripe intersects the mouth.

Campbell and Lamar (2004) support the English name “Mohave (Mojave) rattlesnake”, but do so with some reluctance because so little of the snake’s range lies within the Mojave Desert. They do not support the spelling “Mojave”, because the name “Mohave” derives from the Native American term hamakhava.

Habitat: Primarily a snake of high desert or lower mountain slopes, it is often found near scrub brush such as sage mesquite and creosote, but may also reside in lowland areas of sparse vegetation, among cacti, Joshua tree forests, or grassy plains. It can also range up the Eastern Sierra as far north as Reno and perhaps beyond into southern Eastern Oregon. It tends to avoid densely vegetated and rocky areas, preferring open, arid habitats.

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