Mojave Rattlesnake

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.

Mojave Rattlesnake Scientific Classification

Animalia
Chordata
Reptilia
Squamata
Viperidae
Crotalus
C. scutulatus

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

Mojave Rattlesnake

Animalia
Chordata
Reptilia
Squamata
Viperidae
Crotalus
C. scutulatus

Mojave Rattlesnake

Description

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.

Range and Distribution

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.

Identification: Mojave Green vs. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

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.

Mojave Rattlesnake Habitat
Green Mojave Rattlesnake Pictures

Habitat

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.

Lifespan

The Mojave rattlesnake lives for 12.5 years on average. In captivity, they survive for almost 20 years.

What do they eat?

An adult mainly eats small rodents like kangaroo rats as well as toads, lizards, and birds.

Mojave Rattlesnake Images
Mojave Green Rattlesnake Photos

Behavior

  • They are nocturnal, preferring to stay underground during the day, hiding in burrows of other mammals or beneath rocks. On cooler days, they sometimes come out to bask in the sun.
  • These snakes go into the brumation phase in rat burrows during winter months, remaining in a complete state of inactivity. Their metabolism slows down, and they live only on water then.
  • These creatures are primarily solitary.
  • Although they show aggression when approached, they generally do not attack humans.
  • They are ambush predators.

Predators

Like most other rattlesnakes, they have to be wary of kingsnakes, like the California kingsnake, as well as roadrunners and other birds of prey.

Adaptations

  • 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.
Baby Mojave Rattlesnake
Mojave Rattlesnake Head

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.

Life Cycle

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.

Conservation Status

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.

Mojave Green Rattlesnake
Mojave Rattlesnake Tail

Interesting Facts

  • 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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