Scientific Name: Crotalus spp. and Sistrurus spp
Life Span: 10-25 years
Location: Asia, Africa, America
Predator: Human, ravens, crows, roadrunners, raccoons, opossums, skunks, coyotes, weasels, whipsnakes, kingsnakes
Prey: mice, rats, small birds, small animals
Size: 10–15 cm (4–6 inches)
Habitat: They live in a variety of habitats, including forest, grasslands, scrub brush, swamps, and deserts, and they are also capable swimmers. Almost all reptiles, including rattlesnakes, are ectothermic (cold-blooded). Ectotherms cannot regulate their body temperatures like warm-blooded animals can. Instead, they rely on their surroundings to provide heat, which means that they can’t be active in cold weather. To keep from freezing, rattlesnakes congregate in dens and form swarming balls with their bodies.
Rattlesnake are poisonous snakes that belong to the pit viper group and are recognized by the distinctive rattle on the end of their tail. Most species of rattlers have hemotoxic venom that attacks tissues and destroys them. The Mojave rattlesnake also has a neurotoxin in its venom making it the most dangerous of all the species of rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes vary considerably in color depending on their habitat. In the western states the author has observed pinks, greens, rust colors, and almost black. They tend to blend well with their background. Some species are more reactive to threats than others, but most would rather run away than have an encounter with a human.