- A-Z Animals
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.
Size: 3.3-4.50 ft (100-137.3 cm)
Weight: 6-20 pounds (2.72-9 kg)
Head: Their head is broad and triangular, with enlarged scales on the top.
Tail: Their tail is marked with 2-8 dark bands against a light gray background, with the lighter bands being broader than the dark ones.
Body and coloration: It is heavy, with a brown or pale green body.
It primarily occupies the southwestern United States, including California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, southern New Mexico, and some of Texas. It also inhabits the southern parts of Mexico.
The Mojave green is often mistaken for the western diamondback rattlesnake due to similar markings. However, there are a few ways to distinguish between the two.
Mojave rattlesnakes have a higher number of light bands than dark ones in a 2:1 ratio. However, the western diamondback rattlesnakes have a banding on the tail in a roughly 1:1 ratio of light to dark.
They even appear slightly smaller than the western diamondback rattlesnake.
These snakes mostly prefer desert habitats. They tend to live around sparse vegetation, scrub brush such as sage mesquite and creosote, or other desert plants like cacti and Joshua trees.
The Mojave rattlesnake lives for 12.5 years on average. In captivity, they survive for almost 20 years.
An adult mainly eats small rodents like kangaroo rats as well as toads, lizards, and birds.
Like most other rattlesnakes, they have to be wary of kingsnakes, like the California kingsnake, as well as roadrunners and other birds of prey.
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.
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.