The Mojave rattlesnake, nicknamed the Mojave Green due to its slight greenish tinge, is one of the most dangerous rattlesnake species, being extremely venomous. This snake can grow up to 4.50 ft long and lives in multiple states in the U.S. and Mexico, predominantly the arid parts.
Like most other rattlesnakes, they have to be wary of kingsnakes, like the California kingsnake, as well as roadrunners and other birds of prey.
It has heat-sensing pits on its head, between the eye and nostrils, a feature common in most other snakes like the pythons, and boas, making it easier to catch prey in the dark.
Its coloration helps it camouflage with its surroundings, making it harder to spot.
Like all rattlesnakes, the Mojave has a rattle made of hollow scales and keratin, which it uses to ward off predators.
Mating and Reproduction
The breeding season of the Mojave green is from July to September. During this period, some of the males act more aggressively out of a need to mate. This action leads to a form of ‘combat dance’ between two males, where the stronger defeats, the weaker one by wrestling, though most bouts end in a draw.
Like all rattlesnakes, the Mojave green is viviparous, i.e., they give birth to live young. 2-17 babies are born at a time, generally in rodent burrows, and are left to fend for themselves. Females reach adulthood at three years when they are capable of delivering young.
Bite and Venom
Mojave rattlesnakes are highly venomous and are assumed to be dangerous to humans. While these snakes possess lethal venom, they bite larger animals and humans only if the latter ignore the warnings sent by their rattling. The signs could be mild, from pain and swelling to severe, like vision problems and difficulty in speaking. However, in some cases, the symptoms may not immediately show up, leaving the victim unaware of the seriousness of their situation.
There are two notable recorded deaths caused by the Mojave green: Frederick A Shannon, 43, in 1965, and Jackie Caldwell, 63, in 2007.
The Mojave green is classified as LC or “Least Concern” by the IUCN’s standards, signifying it is in no immediate threat of population decline.
Of the several cases of the Mojave greens invading homes, one happened quite recently in January 2021. A Mojave green entered a homemade gym in Arizona, perching itself on a wall-mounted stand. It was, however, spotted and taken away quickly.
With planes stuck on the ground due to lack of air travel, several rattlesnakes, including the Mojave, have turned these planes into temporary homes during the 2020 pandemic.
A 6-year-old boy in California had to be given 42 antivenom vials after being bitten by a mojave. Medical experts have mentioned that people have needed up to 58 vials to stabilize their condition in some severe cases.
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