Mohave Rattlesnake
Crotalus scutulatus

distribution map of Crotalus scutalatus

Rock Rattlesnake

Crotalus scutulatus. Photographer: Dr. Carl S. Lieb. Hudspeth Co., TX. 31 July 1986.


Physical Characteristics

Adult length is 24-51 in (61-130 cm). This snake is very similar to the western diamondback in color and markings. It differs from the diamondback in having enlarged scales on the snout between the supraoculars. Additionally, the black tail rings are usually narrower than the wider white spaces between these rings and the diamonds or hexagons are sharply outlined.

Geographic Range

Mojave Desert of California, Nevada, and Arizona. Southeast through Chihuahuan Desert grassland of southern New Mexico, western Texas, and northern Mexico as far south as Puebla. From near sea level to around 8300 ft. (2530 m). In the El Paso region, the species is found in the Hueco Mountains - Otero Mesa area. (Stebbins, 1985)


Crotalus scutulatus is known to frequent barren desert, grassland, open juniper woodland, and scrubland. They most often occur in open creosote bush or mesquite flatlands, away from areas of broken rocky terrain and dense vegetation.


Like most large rattlesnakes, the Mojave feeds mostly on mammals (mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits), but will also consume other reptiles.

Reproductive Characteristics

Live bearing. Birth usually occurs from July through August with a brood size that varies from 2-11. Young measure about 10 in (25 cm) long and are similar to adults in color.


The venom of this snake may contain a powerful neurotoxin called "Mojave toxin." This snake is highly excitable and extremely dangerous; due to its highly potent venom, this snake is considered to be the most venomous snake in the United States. Longevity in captivity has been as long as 23 years.


Kinniburgh, R. M. 1972. Distribution of Thermal Responses of the Rattlesnake (Genus Crotalus) in El Paso County, Texas. University of Texas at El Paso.

Klauber, L. M. 1982. Rattlesnakes. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

Tennant, A. 1985. A Field Guide to Texas Snakes. Texas Monthly Press, Hong Kong.

William D. Beltran, July 1997.


Last Update: 11 Jul 2009